[e2e] the evolution of deployability

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Tue Dec 17 11:55:48 PST 2002

At 12:58 PM 12/17/2002 -0500, J. Noel Chiappa wrote:
>IPv6 and NAT is just a really bad example of what you're trying to talk
>about; and the reasons why IPv6 has done poorly, and NAT well, are much more
>complex than your simplistic and incorrect analysis would indicate.

I wasn't doing an analysis.   The facts are clear.   I have direct 
testimony from one of the companies about their choice to market NAT rather 
than accelerating v6 deployment, and there is public documentation about 
the other's choice rationale.   You are the one that said conspiracy.  I 
didn't.  I was talking about the distorting effect of large company 
behavior on IETF.  That distortion does not require intention.  In fact my 
point was that a mob (like IETF) or a market (like these companies) do NOT 
behave in their own best architectural interest.   (Libertarian 
free-marketeer religionists can try to convince themselves that something 
optimal always emerges from primordial soup - I don't want to waste my time 
on that).

>NAT took off because it is, for the average user who wants to do fairly
>simple stuff, an easier *and* more functional (at the time *they* deploy it)

For a few things, yes, of course.   The same people sell their soul to the 
devil for a cup of coffee, and then complain when he comes to 
collect.   Short term benefit always looks better than long-term harm.

>  I.e. if you install IPv6 on all your computers - you still need a
>NAT-type box to talk to the rest of the existing IPv4 Internet.

Exactly so.   So why not sell an IPv6 box instead of a NAT.   It's simple, 
it enables more of a future than NAT, and it does the same thing NAT 
does!!!   Did M or C consider that?   One of them actually had inputs that 
suggested that very thing as an option.  But you are right, they let the 
IETF tell them that IPv6 was never going to happen.   Was this ever written 
in a memo?   Nope.   It was *obvious* from watching how slow and 
bureaucratic IETF was.

>Most people
>skip the painful/relatively-non-productive "install IPv6" step, and just go
>straight to installing the NAT box.

If IPv6 had a program manager, it would have shipped early and often.

>C and M, I'm fairely sure, have no religion other than $$$, and would have
>sold the customers sky-blue left-handed rabbits if that's what the customers
>wanted. They sold NAT boxes because that's what customers wanted.

Nope.  What users wanted was home networking with lots of computers on 
their home LAN.  Many hated NAT, but that's all they got.   Talk to some 
multiplayer gamers, or people trying to use RealAudio.   (and most of the 
people trying to do home LANs were such users).   The customers wanted a 
solution.  IETF had one that could have been rolled out in an early form, 
but instead they had to buy NATs even though they didn't work well and were 
hard to set up.

M and C employees told me all during the period when NATs were rolling out 
that IPv6 wasn't going to be ready for years.   That was BS.   If they 
wanted to ship, they could have shipped.   There were no technical hurdles 
that could not have been deferred to the future.

Did IP when it originally rolled out have all of its problems 
solved?  Nope.   Most were deferred.  And they were worked out just fine 
with modest effort.

There were ZERO problems with IPv6 rollout in 1995.   It was functionally 
upward compatible with IPv4, and could have been run as an overlay on the 
entire existing IPv4 net.

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