Computer science or Abstract engineering concept applied to distributed systems.

Fate sharing for a transaction is said to be perfect when the transaction fails iff one or more of the essential interested parties has also failed. That is to say, there was no point completing the transaction now that one of the key guys has carked it. Progressively less perfect fate sharing is said to be exhibited as the success of a transaction becomes more dependent on otherwise independent entities.

Fate sharing is a term most widely (exclusively?) used in the Internet community, in particular by the more philosophical contributors to the IETF and IAB. Fate sharing is often presented as a good quality to have in a protocol, and is usually discussed either when new protocols are being developed, or when the robustness properties of an existing protocol are being analysed.

The phrase was coined by David Clark (Clark88) and is seen as a key benefit of the end-to-end model.

Fate sharing is broadly considered to be a Good Thing.

RFC 2775: "Internet Transparency", B. Carpenter, IBM, February 2000

RFC 3724: "The Rise of the Middle and the Future of End-to-End: Reflections on the Evolution of the Internet Architecture", Kempf, Austein, IAB March 2004

Clark88: "The Design Philosophy of the DARPA Internet Protocols", David D. Clark, MIT LCS August 1988

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