[e2e] the evolution of deployability

Russert, Steven W steven.w.russert at boeing.com
Tue Dec 17 13:09:14 PST 2002

Don't forget that the first fax machine was worthless
until a second one was there to interact with it.
Standards help to provide the critical mass of users 
with compatible systems who can then dream up creative 
ways to use the technology.
Steve Russert

-----Original Message-----
From: Roop Mukherjee [mailto:bmukherj at shoshin.uwaterloo.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 9:01 AM
To: David P. Reed
Cc: Dave Crocker; Jon Crowcroft; end2end-interest
Subject: Re: [e2e] the evolution of deployability

Will it be a stretch to say then that the pace of change (and possibly 
improvement) in the Internet slowed because of IETF's attempt to 

Standardization amounts to achieving consensus within a group (like a
IETF WG). Where the quality of what is standardized is contingent upon the 
some function of the cumulative quality of the group. It is also easy for 
vested interests to control the function. After all the non-objective 
influences whatever comes out of standardization is in many cases blindly 
implemented by vendors and demanded by their customers.

However non-standardized mechanisms have to prove themselves in the real 
world. People have no pressure to implement them, but choose to do so 
because of they perceive benefits. Sort of like Darwinian selection.

Had there been no Internet Standard, but some set of functions and
mechanisms that people could freely choose from, then we may have more 
people choosing to build better networks that would evolve as needed. 
Instead people have to build networks from a bunch of standardized 
features of poor quality, high complexity that end up being scarcely 
used. It is then no surprise that evolving this beast is ungainly.

-- Roop

On Tue, 17 Dec 2002, David P. Reed wrote:

> At 09:14 AM 12/16/2002 -0800, Dave Crocker wrote:
> >This suggests looking at a number of human-related research areas, both
> >respect to barriers within individuals and barriers within groups.
> Dave - your insights seem to me to be "dead on".   I would add one 
> additional factor from my experience.
> Large vendors tend to interact with the human system in non-positive 
> ways.   In particular, product ideas that serve their own interests rather

> than the networks' or the users' are often marketed heavily to the IETF 
> constituency.   NAT is a great example.   Vendors M and C (who shall
> nameless) got very aggressive in selling NAT, despite its severe design 
> limitations and application impact.   They marketed heavily to users and 
> IETF a set of solutions that clearly broke end user applications already 
> deployed.   At the same time, these two vendors refused to consider an 
> incremental migration path to IPv6, arguing that it "wasn't ready 
> yet".   The internal politics (including the weak protocol designers who 
> have flooded the IETF) could not be organized to do wise things, so they 
> responded to these pressures by creating more barriers to deployment.
> These players exploited the "human systems" to block deployment of what 
> could have been very simple and surgical evolutionary improvement paths.
> A collection of children given the world's best scientific instruments are

> not going to invent Quantum Theory.   We shouldn't expect a democratic, 
> market-driven mob to invent and deploy major design improvements in the 
> Internet by consensus and votes.
> RED+ECN is one of the "surgical" improvements that should just happen - no

> flag day is required and every actor can act independently.   It's
> to do this change incrementally, and the benefits are dramatic -
> because they are compatible with a wide range of protocols beyond the 
> TCP-based protocols.   Yet the mob is incapable of even this much 
> self-organization.

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