I don't consider DHCP an autodiscovery mechanism.
Just like I don't consider reference-counting schemes “real GC”, heh. Well, true it's “autodiscovery lite” mechanism: it's more limited and thus more tolerant to problems with clients… but it introduced “single point of failure” so it's also not ideal.
Autodiscovery in this context is when everything tries to advertise what services it offers to everything else on the network.
This is not a requirement. Devices on network can play different games. For example they can choose single master which then arbitrates everything. Of course this implies some level of trust which may or may not be appropriate for real world.
In a small network this can work, but in a large network you end up with chaos due to too many things advertising services that you don't care about, and either meaningless auto-generated names, or conflicts between human generated names
Right, but in large network you probably have a dedicated sysadmin which can setup everything as is needed. But for something like home network autodiscovery may be invaluable.
P.S. Interesting twist in the GC debate: iOS5 added ARC and a lot of guys viewed it as an “incremental step on the road to real GC”, but looks like Apple shares my POV: beginning in OS X v10.8, garbage collection is deprecated (if favor of ARC if I understand correctly).
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