How do distributed systems work?

How do you coordinate activity across a network? People are doing this all the time, with varying degrees of success. But how is it supposed to work? What is the model to be followed? When I graduated mid-eighties, “Distributed Systems” was still a graduate specialty subject, not a pervasive guiding principle. Today, people like myself don’t seem to have a common ontology of approaches. Well, it’s about time.

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