[e2e] the evolution of deployability

Roop Mukherjee bmukherj at shoshin.uwaterloo.ca
Tue Dec 17 13:39:15 PST 2002

Indeed it seems that standards allow mass production of compatible things. 
But, the question under debate here is why does evolution of such things 
seem to slow down.

I am merely offering a point of view that standards themselves or their 
governing bodies may be responsible at least for a part of it.

If indeed the standards bodies allowed technologies to play themselves out 
and restricted their role to ensuring interoperability of the important ones 
that emerge then perhaps we may have systems that evolve better and 
faster. In other words, my objection is toward standardization of design 
(how to build a fax machine) as opposed to interfaces (how to display 
faxed characters). 

-- Roop

On Tue, 17 Dec 2002, Russert, Steven W wrote:

> 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 
> standardize? 
> 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
> _____________________________________________
> www.shoshin.uwaterloo.ca/~bmukherj
> 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
> with
> > >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
> remain 
> > 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
> possible 
> > to do this change incrementally, and the benefits are dramatic -
> especially 
> > 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.
> > 

-- Roop

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