[e2e] a means to an end

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Mon Nov 10 16:07:02 PST 2008

Two quick responses:

1. In a planet scale network, with jurisdictions that claim the right to 
do things like a) block specific correspondents from talking to each 
other with packets that pass through their subnets, b) spy on traffic 
passing through their domain to gain market advantage or intelligence, 
c) use packets passing through their domain to track and target (for 
assassination) various individuals by their address info, d) insert 
packets to spoof endpoints into thinking their correspondent is breaking 
a connection or whatever, ...  then one might want to have alternatives 
to the "standard" routing chose by the gods of the Internet. (I hope the 
metaphors are seen as a general issue, the problem today is *very* real, 
and not the same when viewed from different perspectives at the endpoints).

Do you believe in one world government?  If so, I might believe that the 
equilibrium state for you would be a single "optimum".   If not, why do 
you think that all people would agree to a single set of paths for their 
most valuable communications?

The fantasy can be maintained only if you believe networks are economic 
or mathematical abstractions that fit postulates created by the Computer 
Science Gods at the NSF review panels who decide what is valid to think 
about and design.  Or some other pretender to omniscience - pick the one 
you want to bow down to.  (the same clean mathematical theorist's 
fantasy of convergence to stable equilibrium has dominated economics for 
50 years.  Look where that got us...)

2. My point about UUCP was that it coexisted side-by-side with the 
Internet, delivering mail and carrying files without using TCP, IP or 
anything else, but it had a routing layer.  Later it just became 
vestigial, an app on top of the Internet, but in its early days, when 
the Internet was far from a foregone conclusion, Unix machines made 
point-to-point connections that routed traffic over whatever circuits it 
could have access to (including direct dialup links).  But then I am 
probably a lot older than you are.

Scott Brim wrote:
> Excerpts from David P. Reed at 07:31:00 -0500 on Sun  9 Nov 2008:
>> Riffing on Pekka's opening - why not multiple competing "routing" 
>> layers?
> Yes, you can run multiple ships-in-the-night "networks" over a single
> underlying "layer network", but how do the endpoints know what they
> can even try to reach?  One way of doing that is to have a common
> internetworking layer -- call it the Internet.  Another is to have the
> endpoints know how to search according to the protocols they can speak
> and networks they are connected to (but only those).  This means smart
> endpoints and difficult customer support.  I predict that if you ran
> this experiment, everyone would converge to a single "network" after
> all.  
>> In the old days, when the Internet was about tying together 
>> different pre-existing networks into a coherent whole, it *was* one of 
>> many.  (at least one other routing mechanism existed - uucp -- and it 
>> used some of the same pre-existing networks).
> UUCP had totally different syntax and the protocols to use were (are)
> implicit in the addressing.

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