Tuesday, June 17, 2008

World Records on the Internet

Today, Firefox is attempting to set a world record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours with the release of their newest version of the Firefox Browser. While this attempt is seen on the surface as just a really cool idea, it has serious undertones for the Internet at large.

With an approximate 30-50 million users all trying to download the same software from the same servers all in the same day, I can see some serious slow downs on networks occurring very rapidly. Until now most of these type of slowdowns have been related to social networked viruses that made their way through the home computers and office PC's of millions of users all over the world.

But this slowdown that will result will be the direct result of people purposely trying to download a new software package. Having just upgraded to FF3 RC3, I, for one will not be participating in the download. This is not because I don't want the latest version but it is primarily due to the fact that I do not want to contribute to the willful destruction of the Internet as we know it. Besides, I can download the new release tomorrow or the next day and it is not going to make much difference in my experience with Firefox.

Slowdowns in places like India where the Internet is already at a crawl, could place so much burden on these locations that they will be cut off from the rest of the world for several days. I am sure there are several multinational conglomerates around the world that will not appreciate the inability to communicate with these offices.

While I have not seen anyone take the same approach as I, I am sure that once the Internet starts to slow down, people will either give up on the Internet for the day. However, there are those who can not escape having to use the Internet. Financial institutions all over the world already use the Internet as their primary resource for communications but if they suddenly can not send or receive trades, updates or End of Day items, there could be some serious hell to pay. The losses financially could balloon into a number of the sort that we have been seeing with the Sub-Prime losses all over the globe.

My recommendation is that while this type of thing is fun and it is cool to say you set a record or were part of the record, I am saying, "Just say NO!"

Get Fire Fox -- http://www.getfirefox.com
World Record Attempt -- http://www.spreadfirefox.com/en-US/worldrecord/