[rc5] distributed.net: a Generalised Compute Resource?

Marc Sissom msissom at dnaent.com
Fri Jun 20 15:30:49 EDT 1997

At 08:36 PM 6/20/97 +0200, you wrote:
>On Friday, 20 Jun 1997 18:33, "Matt J. Gumbley" wrote:
>Which leads to the questions : 
>1) What about money for this. If somebody uses "my" computer, he 
>should pay for it (like renting a car you could rent CPU time) ?

Any machine that can perform process accounting can handle this

>2) The security issues must be solved. These jobs MUST NOT ever have 
>the poissibility to destroy anything from the rest of the computer 
>system (sorry, win95 :-).
>3) What about laws. Say my computer participates in such a net and it 
>is used for illegal purposes. Who si responsible ?????

I doubt if you would be held accountable at least in the USA. The
victim of fraud is not considered an accomplice or accessory to a
crime. In this case, the service said it would be honest, you
believed them; they weren't and you were fooled. No problem with
the law there.

Consider this as an analogy. You are employed by a temporary employment
agency. They hire you out. You make money and so do they. If one of
their clients is a criminal, it's not your problem unless you find
out and then continue to work for them.

Both of these could be covered by some form of bond or insurance. It
could be an integral component of the contract that you have with
the "Distributed Network Provider". Something similar to liability
insurance for your car or title insurance for your home or the type
of bond that some service providers must produce in order to obtain
a license.

Or, it could be more efficient to reverse the situation. The DNP owns
the machines and lets _you_ buy cycles.

Or, treat them as a sort of mail order house. You call up, offer your
credit card number and they email you a client for your machine and
some form of identification/encryption software. The client of the DNP
purchases computer power. You give up some cycles, and a credit is
posted to your card number. If the DNP makes extensive use of your
machine, you get more. This way, both parties have incentives. The DNP
wants to keep your machine busy so that they can make more money by
serving more clients, and you want to keep it online.

Someone else might puchase processors for the sole purpose of farming
them out(this used to be the norm). Companies and schools could just
as well sell idle time. Heck, so could manufacturers, wholesalers,
and retailers for that matter. All those demo machines in the showroom
might be generating revenue! What this might do is effectively lower
the cost of a proc. Or, it could raise the price since they are
valuable even when they are "just sitting there".

The only common denominator that I can think of, is that the revenue
generated by the "idle" proc must be at least enough to cover the
expense of leaving it on. In some cases, this would not apply, as in
the showroom scenario where the machines would be on regardless, so
any revenue would be a plus.

There are as many possible solutions as there are cellular phone
contract variations. It does not have to be a "one for fits all"
type of solution.

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