[e2e] Time for a new Internet Protocol

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Mon May 21 19:32:15 PDT 2007

On May 21, 2007, at 9:25 PM, David P. Reed wrote:

> I'm now completely confused.   Perhaps those who understand the  
> "tussle" principle could tease out these concepts in a way that the  
> rest of us can understand?   A small start would be explaining in  
> what way that "tussle is inherently recursive"?

Since I just made the idea up, I'll be happy to clarify -- perhaps  
that'll make it easier for others to spot the flaws in my logic.

The idea is a nested  game, where two tusslers are tussling over the  
exploitation/control of a given interface, the value of which is  
determined by the outcome of a more basic/encompassing game, one in  
which two tusslers are tussling.... repeat ad infinitum.

Replace the word "game" with your favorite approximation of OSI/ 
protocol stack, and you arrive at what I had in mind.
In fact, the point I was flogging to excess on the list last week was  
an application of this idea/explanatory framework to the origins of  
the Internet, and its relationship to the timing and location of  
telecom regulatory changes (e.g., on 1968, 1976, 1984, 1994, 1996)  
that slowly expanded, and then multiplied, the functional and spatial  
domain within which it was possible, and useful, to provision  
"independent" IP networks, routing blobs, ASes, etc. -- meaning  
operationally independent from each other as well as from the  
underlying telecom facilities owner(s), who previously were the only  
institutions that could make use of the facilities platform.

Happy to provide more details/illustrations if that would help ;-)


> Tom Vest wrote:
>> Being a big fan and frequent user/abuser of the tussle concept,  
>> let me be the first person to observe some obvious problems that  
>> follow from using it as a normative principle:
>> 1.  Although the concept of tussle is inherently recursive, it's  
>> typically only used (e.g., by network architects and systems  
>> theory people) to discuss the upper elements of the protocol/ 
>> service stack. Too often people forget, or maybe fail to notice,  
>> that the Internet itself only exists in its "current canonical  
>> form" in places when & where a prior/foundational tussle over  
>> control of communications facilities/infrastructure inputs  
>> resulted in certain sorts of outcomes. In places where all or  
>> almost of the interfaces are hidden/controlled by a single  
>> monolithic entity (e.g., like hierarchical/horizontal  
>> infrastructure segments within a territorial monopoly PSTN),  
>> tussle may still exist, but it has approximately zero impact/ 
>> significance to outsiders.
>> 2. As soon as "tusslers" become aware of the idea, they tend to  
>> incorporate it, rhetorically if not operationally, into their  
>> future actions. Granting that I am no game theory expert (and  
>> would love to hear a better informed comparison here), this seems  
>> like just another example of an iterative bargaining game, ala the  
>> Prisoner's Dilemma. An appeal to the reasonableness of a "tussle- 
>> friendly outcome" is just as likely as not to be a gambit to "win"  
>> a larger piece of the pie... unless maybe the appeal is coming  
>> from someone you already trust for some unrelated reason.
>> Bottom line: tussle provides a great descriptive framework for  
>> understanding how, when, and why things change (or don't change),  
>> and would be a fine architectural guide for a monolithic Supreme  
>> Being who has prior knowledge of "what good would be good" to  
>> select as the criteria for winning in any particular tussle  
>> instance -- but as soon as you have two Semi-Supreme Beings they  
>> end up stuck in the same bargaining game described so crudely  
>> above...
>> Regards all,
>> TV
>> On May 21, 2007, at 7:10 PM, Bob Briscoe wrote:
>>> David,
>>> Going back to your opening posting in this thread...
>>> At 15:57 15/05/2007, David P. Reed wrote:
>>>> I call for others to join me in constructing the next Internet,  
>>>> not as an extension of the current Internet, because that  
>>>> Internet is corrupted by people who do not value innovation,  
>>>> connectivity, and the ability to absorb new ideas from the user  
>>>> community.
>>> So, how do we make an Internet that can evolve to meet all sorts  
>>> of future social and economic desires, except it mustn't evolve  
>>> away from David Reed's original desires for it, and it mustn't  
>>> evolve towards the desires of those who invest in it? Tough  
>>> design brief :)
>>> My sarcasm is only intended to prevent you wasting a lot of years  
>>> of your life on this project, without questioning whether the  
>>> problem is with your aspirations, not with the Internet...
>>> Perhaps it would help _not_ to think of suppression of innovation  
>>> as a failure. Innovation isn't an end in itself. People don't  
>>> want innovation to the exclusion of all else. People want a  
>>> balance between innovative new stuff and uninterrupted, cheap,  
>>> robust, hassle-free enjoyment of previous innovations.
>>> Surely the real requirement is for a distributed computing  
>>> internetwork that can be temporarily or locally closed to milk  
>>> the fruits of an innovation without having to be permanently and  
>>> ubiquitously closed. That is, locally open or locally closed by  
>>> policy control. That's a heroic research challenge in its own  
>>> right - and not impossible - here's some case studies that have  
>>> (sometimes unconsciously) achieved this:
>>> <http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/B.Briscoe/present.html#0406pgnet>
>>> A desire to embed _only_ openness into the architecture to the  
>>> exclusion of thinking how to do closedness is the problem, not  
>>> the solution. So, I for one won't be joining you in this venture,  
>>> even though my initial reflex action would be (and always was)  
>>> openness. I'd ask you to reconsider too.
>>> If you disagree with this 'Tussle in Cyberspace' argument, I  
>>> think you ought to say why, as I've not heard a good argument  
>>> against it.
>>>> To save argument, I am not arguing that the IP layer could not  
>>>> evolve.
>>>> I am arguing that the current research community and industry  
>>>> community that support the IP layer *will not* allow it to evolve.
>>> You don't need to start out deciding that, whatever the solution,  
>>> it won't be an evolution from where we are. That doesn't need to  
>>> be decided until you know what the solution might look like.
>>>> But that need not matter.   If necessary, we can do this  
>>>> inefficiently, creating a new class of routers that sit at the  
>>>> edge of the IP network and sit in end user sites.   We can  
>>>> encrypt the traffic, so that the IP monopoly (analogous to the  
>>>> ATT monopoly) cannot tell what our layer is doing, and we can  
>>>> use protocols that are more aggressively defensive since the IP  
>>>> layer has indeed gotten very aggressive in blocking traffic and  
>>>> attempting to prevent user-to-user connectivity.
>>> If this is what you want you don't need a new Internet. You  
>>> already have the power to encrypt and the power to be  
>>> aggressively defensive with the current Internet (as your TOR and  
>>> Joost examples demonstrate).
>>> You want to use the infrastructure those nasty routerheads have  
>>> invested in, presumably to benefit from the network effect their  
>>> investments (and your previous inventiveness) helped to create.  
>>> And if they try to stop you, are they not justified? What is the  
>>> difference then between your traffic and an attack - from /their/  
>>> point of view?
>>> Or are you claiming a higher moral right to abuse the policies  
>>> they impose on their networks because you have honourable  
>>> intentions, in /your/ opinion? Universal connectivity isn't a  
>>> human right that trumps their policies. It's just something you  
>>> (& I) care about a lot. Isn't this getting close to an analogy  
>>> with animal rights activists conspiring to kill vivisectionists.
>>> Reversing this, what if someone launches a DoS attack against an  
>>> unforeseen vulnerability in your new Internet? Would your  
>>> architecture never allow it to be blocked, because that would  
>>> damage universal connectivity?
>>> I think you need to take a step back and reconsider the  
>>> aspersions you're casting on routerheads. They understand the  
>>> value of universal connectivity too. But they also understand the  
>>> higher value of some connectivities than others. Given the tools  
>>> they have at their disposal right now, the best they can do is  
>>> block some stuff to keep other stuff going. It's as much the  
>>> fault of you and me that they have no other option, as it is  
>>> their fault for blocking stuff.
>>> You are blaming operators for acting in their own self-interest.  
>>> Shouldn't you blame the designers of the architecture for not  
>>> expecting operators to act in their own interests? Again, what is  
>>> your argument against 'Tussle  in Cyberspace'?
>>> Bob

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