[e2e] Protocols breaking the end-to-end argument

Richard Bennett richard at bennett.com
Sun Oct 25 19:04:49 PDT 2009

Noel Chiappa wrote:
> It seems to me that the 'end-end design ideas' have gotten mixed up in what
> is, at the bottom, a fight over how to divide up the economic pie of
> communication networks.
You mean the end-to-end design ideas have gotten mixed up in a fight 
over not changing how the economic pie is currently divided. 37 years of 
networking history boils down to this:

1. Pouzin designs CYCLADES as a layered system of protocols in order to 
experiment with some interesting ideas about reliability, performance, 
and routing; it's all based on datagrams.

2. Pouzin and Kahn share some ideas and Internet ends up following the 
same design as CYCLADES, modulo addressing. DECNet, XNS, and TP4/CLNP 

3. End-to-End Args proposes applying the notion of smart, reliable 
endpoints communicating over unreliable comms system to all sorts of 
other things as a rhetorical trick.

4. Internet eventually becomes an open (public) system.

5. RFC 1958 says "let's not descend into dogma."

6. Clark and Blumenthal's Brave New World says "end to end still has value."

7. Lessig reads Brave New World as saying "capitalism is corrupting the 
Internet; Save End-to-End!"

8. Moors points out that E2E Args never did describe the Internet.

9. AT&T admits to being a capitalist entity.

10. Google's MCI vets worry that telcos will put them out of business 
like they did MCI unless end-to-end is law.

11. Public interest groups push for end-to-end law.

12. FCC asks: "What's wrong with descending into dogma? That's what we do."

13. Angry old hippies go "Right on, FCC, your daddy's Internet is good 
enough for you!"

And that's where we are today.


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