[e2e] Protocols breaking the end-to-end argument
David P. Reed
dpreed at reed.com
Fri Oct 23 10:52:57 PDT 2009
Sorry - I figured everyone on this list knew the paper itself, since
it's cited all over the place, so I was being a little bit terse.
Anyway, one place you can get the original paper text is online at
We also wrote a followup paper in the "active networks" era that tries
to carefully explain how the same approach can be helpful in thinking
about "active networks":
(this was published in IEEE Networking, or some other IEEE pub, as I
Some will remember that "active networking" was viewed as an idea that
made the end-to-end argument "obsolete" - I personally think that that
was a conclusion based on a misunderstanding about what we meant - and
this second paper refines the point we made in the first paper.
Saltzer, Clark, and I have separately extended and adapted the original
ideas. Perhaps the most interesting recent idea is Dave Clark's
unpublished talk and note which focuses on a "Trust-to-Trust principle"
that I have urged him to write up. I don't think it is published yet.
Dave and Marjorie Blumenthal have also written a paper on a range of
areas where policy functions might best be done in the network. I don't
have a link to it, but here's a citation. M. Blumenthal, D.
Clark,/Rethinking the Design of the Internet: The End-to-end Arguments
vs. the Brave New World/, ACM Transactions on Internet Technology,
1(1):70-109, August 2001 .
I can't help adding: Of course there are lots of people who use the word
"end-to-end" when they mean, for example, "TCP is perfect". (I'm not
one of them: I have about 40,000 complaints with TCP and IP, so it's
especially galling to be accused of claiming that TCP is the best of all
possible protocols - often as a straw man. TCP's merely good enough,
IMHO, to apply a different and older argument: if it ain't broke, don't
fix it. But by all means experiment with improvements and alternatives).
On 10/23/2009 12:08 PM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
> I'm asking to explore this carefully and inclusively.
> Since you are putting a reference forward, what is the citation to it?
> David P. Reed wrote:
>> I'd suggest reading the paper where it was originally defined. Given
>> that the three authors AND a crew of peer reviewers touched every
>> word of the definition, it's pretty darned specific.
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