[foaf-protocols] P2P FOAF search

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 11:00:58 CEST 2009

On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 5:24 PM, Luke Maurits<luke at maurits.id.au> wrote:
> Greetings list,
> I'd like to gauge the community's interest in developing an "official"
> protocol (perhaps built on top of XMPP) for peer to peer searching of
> FOAFspace.
> The broad idea is this:  Each node in the network would typically "know
> about" (i.e. know the URI of and have an efficiently searchable
> representation of) a relatively small number of FOAF profiles, on the
> order of magnitude of 10.  I envisage that the typical client
> application for the network would also provide some other services,
> like activity stream aggregation or the like, so the obvious candidate
> list of "known about" FOAF profiles would be precisely those that the
> user is "watching".  Anyway, each node is also aware of a relatively
> small number of other nodes on the network, and a user can search for a
> FOAF profile by name, mbox, mbox_sha1sum, whatever, by passing the
> search criteria and its contact details (IP, port) to each of the few
> nodes it knows about - and they either respond if they know of any
> profiles matching the criteria or pass it on to *their* known nodes,
> and so on, propagating the query throughout the network until somebody
> answers.  Basically this is exactly the same idea behind how P2P file
> sharing applications like Limewire locate files, just applied to FOAF.
> The motivation is essentially just that a network like this might let
> us get closer to complete and up-to-date searchability of FOAFspace
> faster and cheaper than waiting on people to build large data centres
> and index everything by extensive scuttering.
> By the community agreeing upon an exact protocol for doing this, we'd
> be letting anybody write clients to join the network, in whatever
> language they like.  It also opens the door to people coming up with
> alternative ideas for the network, for instance some people may like
> the idea of, rather than having a node know about 10 or 20 profiles
> that the user is interestd in, having a node which just fields queries
> out of a database of say 1000 or so profiles fetched by scuttering.
> That sort of node would significantly improve the quality of searches
> and is quite within the resource limitations of a dedicated hobbyist.
> Possibly there are yet other kinds of node someone might decide to
> implement.
> I know of at least one person other than myself who has expressed some
> interest in developing software for a network like this, and there are
> quite possibly others who will become interested, so hopefully if we
> can put some work into developing a protocol then work on clients may
> begin to slowly materialise.
> Anyway, if anyone wants to ask questions about P2P searching of
> FOAFspace, point out existing work along the same lines, express
> interest in working on the protocol or anything like that, feel free to
> reply.

Im interested.  It would be interesting to see if we can get a pilot
working, using a kind of 'lite' protocol, then, in parallel flesh out
a fuller spec.

I'm guessing search by name/nick/email hash would be quite useful to start with?

> Cheers,
> Luke
> --
> Luke Maurits <luke at maurits.id.au>
> http://www.luke.maurits.id.au
> http://www.luke.maurits.id.au/foaf.rdf
> CompCogSci | Crypto | Maths | Python | Unix
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