Reed's views, was [e2e] Cannara's views

John Day day at
Mon Apr 16 19:21:04 PDT 2001

At 18:39 -0700 4/16/01, Cannara wrote:
>John, thanks, I agree with you.  I was wrong to say "optimized" in reference
>to 56k links, etc.  It was indeed an effort to look around and see what might
>be done, given what was thought needed to do.  Xerox' attitude was indeed
>unfortunate (as in so many things).  But interestingly enough, Noorda and his
>main coder at Novell, adapted what Xerox would not share (or what Noorda
>refused to be seen using) and at least solved the addressing problem early on.
>So, in some instances, ideas were available to use that the Internet folks
>avoided, whether because they had no interest in, or were biased against,
>LANs, or because they were just focussed in a narrow problem space.

I almost mentioned Novell.  In early 1974, there was a group in the 
ARPANet that was trying to do some of what became embodied in Novell. 
Katie Hafner's book says it was shut down because ARPA was afraid 
they were losing control of the net.  That was the end of all upper 
layer work.  Without any research money, no one was going to work on 

>By the way, using SNA or the telcos as straw men is very misleading -- SNA was
>an extension of IBM's mainframe-controller-slave religion and the telcos were,

precisely.  IBM (and others) were characterized by big, expensive, 
master/slave, polling, half-duplex, synchronous, centralized, and 
full of special cases, etc.  The Net from the earliest prided itself 
on being small (at least smaller), cheaper, peer, event-driven, full 
duplex, asynchronous, decentralized, and elegant degenerate cases, 
etc.  We prided ourselves on being everything they weren't.  And as 
far as the phone companies go, they were much of the same list as the 
mainframe plus *connections*, and we certainly weren't that!!!  ;-) 
A friend who is writing a book on this stuff has a great quote from 
Metcalfe about how much it irritated him when some phone company guys 
made derogatory remarks about the Net at ICCC and how much it spurred 
him shove it in their face.

Actually, it is very interesting how the mainframes (data comm) and 
the phone companies had developed complementary models that allowed 
them to co-exist and how the Net came along and not only declared war 
on both but put them all on a collision course.

>and still are, interested in fitting bits into standard frames and charging

SNA has no choice.  As I have said for years, you can always make a 
peer architecture hierarchical, you can't go the other way.  Had IBM 
built a peer architecture and subset it to be hierarchical for the 
70's market, we would never have succeeded.  But they built 
themselves into a dead end.

>for them -- remember ATM to the desktop, where they would own our wallplate
>and the cable to it?  Fortunately desktop ATM collapsed of its own economic
>weight and backbone ATM will as well.

Remember it?  Remember X.25 where the equivalent of a TIP was PART of 
the network!! and where if you ever heard Louis Pouzin talk at the 
time, the European PTTs wanted to make it so the only computers you 
could attach to their networks were theirs, just like their phones. 
ATM was a walk in the park by comparison.

But really, had the USING group continued and developed a wide area 
version of something like what Novell had. (And the thinking at the 
time was heading that way.)  Would we have put ourselves into a 
dead-end or would it have actually been a better place for the kind 
of mass adoption that we have seen?  In a sense, we have allowed the 
rest of the world to share the excitement we felt 30 years ago but 
are we really that much further along?

Remember NLS on an IMLAC!  ;-)))  who needs Berners-Lee!  ;-))  to 
borrow from IM world: LOL.

Take care,

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