If you are not a computer geek then I recommend switching off. Distributed computing is the principle of sharing around things like control, processing and storage to several computer systems and locations. Free recycling groups that use Yahoo groups are at least good for that in terms of control. Each group individually controls their membership 100%.
On the other hand centralisation in computing terms is the ability to use the economies of scale of storing all data and centralising control in one place.
In the world of computing these two ideologies are at the opposite end of the spectrum and very rarely do they meet up, and if they do meet then getting that meeting to be harmonious is an interesting challenge.
So a key question in TFN’s strategy for their new website, especially now that finder is dead is how they intend to proceed regarding these two poles. As far as I know they have employed a MySQL database and given their resources I would suggest they are going for a centralised approach to everything. If anyone can validate that or contradict it then now is a good time to speak.
Why does this matter? There are a number of key issues here.
- Control. If a central database for all TFN groups is used then de facto, Deron has total control.
- Data protection. Moving user data out of Europe into the USA is strictly controlled. A website that does this for 3/4 million users is a big ask. Do that without their explicit permission is even bigger. Do that again for countries like Australia and again you run into problems. The bottom line here is that NO group owner can proceed to migrate to the new website without express permission from each member.
- Reliability. If Yahoo Groups has problems then I guess we might expect one or two rumbles over time from any new TFN website.
- Performance. Similarly Yahoo Groups has run into performance issues of emails being delayed. I would not want the headache of managing the TFN show for all 4,000 odd groups without a decent salary, including a pay deal to cover out of hours work including bank holidays.
From what I have read from Deron, he really does not have a handle on the technical issues. Richard, I believe is paid on contract, so not being salaried implies he could walk off the job at any instant. Imagine if all groups moved across and these two guys fell out.
I have asked for more info on the new TFN website on several occasions, unfortunately there is not much info forthcoming. However a colleague found this thread publicly posted by the site’s architect, Richard Wallman. The main value of which is showing the use of MySql for the new system, which seems like a good decision to me.
If you find any public info then let me know and I will share it here.