[e2e] the evolution of deployability

Adrian Lahanas ladrian at ccs.neu.edu
Wed Dec 4 08:09:13 PST 2002

Inability to change things that are already deployed is a peculiarity of
particular economies or cultures. For example,

In US it was impossible to change inches and yards, once they were deployed,
into centimeters and meters.
In US it was impossible to change ounces or pounds into grams and kilograms.
In US it was impossible to change from 120 Volt to 220 Volt.
In US it was impossible to change from Fahrenheight to Celsius
In US it was impossible to change big cars into small cars.
In US it was impossible to change steam engines into fast electric trains.

Sorry for the sarcasm but that's how things look to an outsider.

The rest of the economies of the world took the decision and did the transit
into meters, kilograms, liters, etc. EU countries in the nineties replaced all
old cars with new cars that emit less CO2 and less Sulphur in the atmosphere.
In January 2000 the same countries changed all their old monetary system into
a new one. It took a great effort but the will was not lacking.

In US there was a great will to deploy the Internet. I remember seeing in the
news the president Clinton laying himself wires in the schools of Arkansas. To
change something, probably it's the will that is lacking. And this has
created the phrase "its difficult to change things that are deployed" which we
see in the writing or the talks, and most probably comes out of inertia rather
than from a well weighted thought.

It's true that US pioneered in building the Internet without a previous
experience and new lessons were learned while building it. But should the
rest of the world, if there is a will, be restricted till US decides to
change it's already deployed cables, routers and software?


>Henning Schulzrinne wrote:
>Clearly, the difficulty of changing signaling systems in railroads and
>the limitations of traffic control on roads ("drive-by-wire") also
>illustrate the inability to change things once you have deployed
>technology. In the US, consider how long it is taking to convert from
>above-ground to below-ground electric and phone utilities.
>Jon Crowcroft wrote:
>> thinking about this on the way back from the very fine ICNP conference
>> this year, we note that in rough decrease order of complexity:
>> multicast, mobile, ip, intserve, differve, ecn ...
>> (literally in the case of the last 1 bit change, well, 2, ok)
>> we see higher and higher barriers to evolution over the last 10++
>> years of the internet - each case takes exponentially more effort to
>> get the infrastructure to change, and not just because it is bigger
>> and more heterogeneous - i wonder (and this was something that Mostafa
>> Ammar, one of the panelists at ICNP talked about very nicely) if one
>> could actually go so far as to form a proper (econometric, or systems
>> science or perhaps even ecological) theory of network evolution? we
>> must have other examples that someone could give us Bell, Hooke and
>> Chandle on ?
>> measuing complexity is a computing/information science capability, so
>> then what other things to we need to draw on?>
>> cheers
>> jon

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