[e2e] Are we doing sliding window in the Internet?

Jon Crowcroft Jon.Crowcroft at cl.cam.ac.uk
Sat Jan 5 01:55:08 PST 2008

time was, there was an ecosystem made out of a bunch of identifiable pieces
(researchers in labs in universities and companies, the irtf grousp, the acm
sigcomm and related ieee comsoc groups, interop, and fringes, lots of small
and large companies whose empployees implicitly understood that community)

the community had  no kings, but had a small number of visible touchstone
pieces of code (whether bsd or linux or mit c code or later ones)...

rough consensus in that community did two things...

it allowed diversity (different implementations persisted  in parallel, while
evaluation happened)

it allowed for convergence (when improvements were visible, they could be rapidly
applied from publically visible implementations into provate ones - e..g bsd code
ideas into solaris code, or linux code/ideas into router bgp tcp code just for

the ietf might ratify  it but it was largely irrelevent if it did or did not as
it was really just recognizing that community...

that time is gone -  lots of reasons 

i) research engine behind the community is dead (moved on to other things
ii) lots of the code aint visible (e.g. microsofts was invisible to lots of
people, and linux code is invisible by lawyer dictat to lots of microsoft people
- i'm not bashing microsoft - just pointing out that a large area of crossover is
not mitigated through paper and text discussions, not through inspecting code
that is operating).
iii) after the mid 90s, a lot of people (yes, even academics) were more
motivated by spinouts and startups than by working for the community, so
competition rather than cooperation became the mode of play - this means that you
dont often see free code releases of new ideas and you can't trust what thr
authors' say about their code as they are prone to be exagerating the benefits
and downplaying the negative sides, (yes, academics do this - its the most
annoying feature of many internet-related papers in the last 10 years).

one mistake we probably made was way back when (mid 90s) we discussed mearging
ietf, sigcomm and interop (in terms of co-lo events) like sigraph, so that
practioners, theory and standards all would meet 1 per year in the same place
(usually las vegas as thats the only place that seems to be able to host 50,000
people events with hi tech stuff to show off:) - on the other hand, perhaps it
wouldn't have made a difference

so now we have divergence, no consensus, and 
we don't even know how things work any more
or when they dont work
or why

In missive <AFE0AC8DCDE68842B94E8EC69D5F21D635EB120231 at NA-EXMSG-W602.wingroup.windeploy.nt
dev.microsoft.com>, Christian Huitema typed:

 >>> > Has the IETF become the protocol police?
 >>> The IETF has not; members of the IETF have taken the task on, though.
 >>Well, who made you king?
 >>This is in fact a serious question, that goes well beyond the present discussion of CUBIC, or CTCP. I certainly respect the engineering talent of the people on this list, but we are speaking here of allowing or not some products to run on the Internet. I understand the feeling that improper use of some software might "harm the Internet". But where do we draw the line? Shall we ban Kazaa? BitTorrent? Skype? Video streaming over UDP? VoIP? Who draws that line? What are the checks and balances?
 >>Assuming that we can agree on who is the judge, who is the police? If there is a ban, how is that ban enforced? Do we rely on ISP to deploy some kind of firewalls? Do we ask the police to raid people's home and check that they are not using forbidden software? Do ask the department of commerce to ban the sale of some products?
 >>-- Christian Huitema



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