[RC5] d.net's competitors? (was Re: First impressions)

Robert Brooks robertb at geocities.com
Tue Mar 3 10:38:33 EST 1998

At 10:42 AM 3/3/98 -0500, Mike Learn wrote:
>I came upon an interesting thought today.  I agree that the order in which
>the blocks are handed out should not matter.  However, it could be
>information that could be used to a competitor's advantage.

Does d.net even *have* any competition anymore in the RSA contests?  I
mean, are there any competing distributed processing teams, or does the
only competition consist of individuals or small groups that might
occasionally get supercomputer time?

Assume that someone had the time, resources, and desire to put together a
competing RSA team.  If this team were to subscribe to the "competitive
advantage" theory and keep their cracking technique and/or block numbers
secret, would any of *us* jump ship?  Not me!

distributed.net's strength lies in large part on its openness, its
transparency.  I'm not worried about whether I have the source code (that
thread's been beaten to death already!), because I have something more
fundamental: information.  The power isn't in keeping it secret; the true
power  lies in making information public.

Any competing effort would have to offer some substantial incentive to lure
away even a small percentage of our current or potential participants, and
those incentives really don't exist -- the chances of finding *the* key in
an RSA contest are too small to be a motivator in themselves, and there's
no way to spread the wealth among a large number of participants without
making the amounts trivial (gee, a check for US$.02 that cost US$.32 to send).

And of course, any competitor who is motivated by the same goals as ours
would be well advised to simply join us.  Unless d.net management makes
some sort of big mistake -- and how can they with us looking over their
shoulder? -- I don't see *any* competition to worry about.

Robert Brooks / robertb at geocities.com
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/4535/graph.html (Wallpaper Heaven!)
Part of the world's largest computer: http://www.distributed.net/
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