[e2e] end of interest -- BP metadata / binary vs text

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Sun May 11 07:36:34 PDT 2008

"Traditional layering" my a**.  When the present Internet architecture 
was constructed in the 1970's there was no OSI model at all.  It would 
be revisionist (alas too common) to imagine that the *goal* of 
communications architecture is to fit into a frame (OSI) that was 
conceived ex post as merely an explanatory tool for the decisions about 
modularity that were made on far more serious grounds than a mere 
picture of a stack.

The "end to end argument" was a pattern of argumentation used to 
organize architectural thinking.

I am afraid that those who treat the RFCs as scripture from high priests 
mistake dogma for thoughtfulness.

RFCs started out as a frame for discussion.  For making convincing 
arguments.  The act of granting an RFC a number does not (anymore than 
acceptance at a peer reviewed journal does not) create a "fact" or a 

And now many on this list (which used to be above all that) behave like 
Talmudic scholars or law professors - somehow thinking that by studying 
merely the grammar and symbols we can ascertain what is right, what is 
good, or what is fit to purpose.

The essential valid measure of DTN ideas is that they work, and will 
continue to work well, *to organize the solution* to an interesting 
class of real-world problems.   It is irrelevant whether they provide 
the basis for destroying some "traditional paradigm" and creating a new 

What made the Internet architecture useful was its attention to 
"interoperation" and to facilitating support of "unanticipated" 
applications and implementation technologies.  It framed those things 
well, making progress possible.  DTN ideas frame a new set of issues 
well - communcations that occur between entities that occupy 
discontiguous regions of space-time influence.   Such communications 
have always existed (books communicate across time in personal and 
public libraries, postal letters transcend spatial barriers in 
self-contained form) - DTN's merely ratify their importance by focusing 
framing on those issues.

Rajesh Krishnan wrote:
> Granted this matches the viewpoint presented in RFC 5050 of BP's
> (non-threatening ;) relationship to TCP/IP.
> By including forwarding and dynamic routing (L3?), retransmissions (L4?
> and L2?), and persistent storage and application metadata tagging (L7?)
> concerns within the same protocol, BP does not fit harmoniously at L5 of
> the TCP/IP Internet, IMHO.  This challenge to traditional layering is
> precisely what I find most fascinating about DTN.
> With the CLA/BP split, there is still layering in DTN; just that the
> layering is not congruent to conventional TCP/IP layering.  Effectively,
> DTN/BP seems to relate to TCP/IP more or less the same way IP looks at
> other network technologies.  At least that is my interpretation of
> DTN/BP as an overlay abstraction (TCP/IP is relevant only as expedient
> means for early deployment.  ;)
> I am speaking only for myself here (not past or present employers or
> funding agencies or IRTF WGs), and this thread ought to migrate to
> dtn-interest perhaps.
> Best Regards,
> Rajesh

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