> Beyond monocultural issues, there is the question of how a P2P system can be taken down by the lack of a centralized resource, in this case credentials from an authentication server. That provides a single point of failure to what is supposed to be a robust architecture, resistant to exactly those kinds of problems. There are also those who wonder if the outage was caused by an "upgrade" mandated by the US government so that they can more easily monitor Skype calls.
Well both reasons; the suspicious activity on the part of Skype and the single point of failure, are exactly why something like a P2P protocol that depends on a central resource is fundamentally flawed.
The way the internet works, they way it's designed, is that it's nearly totally decentralized. If any part of the Internet is suddenly gone then the rest has the ability to route around it.
This decentrialization, this peer-to-peer nature of the internet is fundamental to why it's so robust.
As far as VoIP goes skype is the biggest, but there are other companies that people paid for business accounts that ended up being fly-by-night folks. One day everything works, everybody is happy, the next day the network is down and nobody is returning emails or phone calls.
VoIP to work, like the web, it needs to be open. It needs to be open, completely decentralized, with standardized protocols with multiple implementations. Signing up people like Verizon or Skype should be completely optional and if they do not then they should not loose any compatibility.
Plus integration of Voice and Video messaging into instant messaging is natural in my eyes. IM makes a effective replacement for email and it provides a way to leave messages and locate other people. This way people can use a combination of text, voice, and video to communication in the most effective manner. It's a no-brainer.
I don't know how technically effective XMPP or SIP is. But it seems to me that having open source XMPP and SIP that can integrate into online forums software or other CMS types would be very effective. Something were people can just download and get a basic setup running in one evening. Open source Windows, Linux, and OS X clients and servers. Users sign up to websites, get a account, and that account can be reached in several optional ways.
Probably something like that can help IRC and Email go the way of Gopher.
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