Keith Moore wrote:
. . .
To make fundamental changes to the architecture of the Internet would
affect a great many people with widely varying interests. Such an
effort would therefore need to be done slowly and deliberately, with
broad input, a great deal of care in its management, sound technical
foundation, a design team or teams of *very* talented people to
evaluate multiple approaches according to previously-established
criteria, with iterated review and feedback from a wide variety of
interests. In short, it would need to try to get at least rough
consensus from the whole technical community.
Okay, I now I've gotten that out of my system, I encourage you to read
the "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister" books that arose from the
BBC series of the same names. The authors brilliantly skewered the
sometimes overwhelming pomposity of both the British Civil Service and
the British Political Class who seek to manipulate the system to their
own, sometimes even benevolent, ends. Of particular relevance would be
any one of the several explanations offered up by Sir Humphrey Appleby
as to what the Civil Service would do to any idea that they regarded as
"too brave" or "radical". I'm sure that if I spent five minutes leafing
through my now somewhat tattered copies I'd find passages that were
completely in sympathy with yours.
Keith, you lived through the OSI Wars, the explosion of the Web and the
exponential growth of the past 15 years. To now write about things being
"done slowly and deliberately" suggests that you missed something here.
The "Internet Architecture" didn't spring full blown from the brow of a
collective benevolent elite, and the role of the IETF today isn't to
preserve this legacy for all time against the infidels. It's to continue
the good work that got us here.
If the IETF really were to slow down as much as your message seems to
indicate you want it to would simply doom the organization to
irrelevance. Fortunately, there is little evidence that the group is
following your lead on this, but this is getting a little tiresome.
The IPv6 effort tried to approximate this idealized process. It
was a painful struggle. A lot of people weren't happy with the result,
and hardly anyone is happy with all of the result. But at least
there was an attempt to get broad input, consider a variety of
approaches, and to craft a compromise that served the needs of a
wide range of interests.
Oh, and by the way - so far, it hasn't solved the problem it was
designed for (because it hasn't been widely adopted), is poorly
understood by people who should be using it and the market has supplied
a host of competing, sometimes crusty (and yes sometimes downright ugly)
alternatives to some subsets of the problem. This is what we have to
look forward to, if we can save "the architecture" from NATs?
BTW, the above sentiment is *NOT* intended as a slight on the many smart
people who put a lot of effort into IPv6. I just want to caution you
that your "slow and deliberate" process wont necessarily get you where
you want to go. Sadly, the real world moves too fast, and people will
tend to do what they feel is in their own best interests. Your goal
should be to harnass that energy for good. You don't do that by fiat or
You've fought the good fight against NATs. Unfortunately, you lost.
Perhaps this is due in some small part because your fundamental approach
has been to claim omnipotence for the IETF (or, as you put it "for
IETF", what's with the missing article, anyways??). You chastize the
apostates, attempt to abrogate concepts by exercising a non-existant
moral authority supposedly due the IETF because of its past successes
and heck, now you even claim that the IETF "essentially 'owns' the
Internet Protocol specification and has change control over it". Wow...
As if the IETF can or should attempt to maintain its technical
leadership role by hiding behind intellectual property or patent law.
Boy, has anyone around here read "Animal Farm" lately? "Four Layers
Good, Seven Layers Better", anyone??
. . .
Contrast this with the kind of effort (and there have been a few
things like this in recent years, so I'm not singling anyone out in
particular) that says "we'll just tweak this one thing here to solve
our immediate problem" even though this tweak creates problems for
other interests who aren't represneted in the working group.
The bottom line is that the "IETF way" was a success more because it
embraced just such Darwinian Selection than because it embraced the
measured, slow-paced path to architectual purity you now advocate.
Nobody likes *all* of the somewhat interesting, if architecturally
implausible, organisms sometimes thrown up for consideration by the
Darwinian process. But only *some* people hate the fact that it lead to
humanity (and thus, IP! :-) Keith, you really should trust the process a
lot more than you do...
Peter Deutsch work email:
Director of Engineering private :
Content Networking Business Unit
"So finally Hacker proposed what Appleby had always proposed: namely,
that they start by creating equal opportunities for both women and
blacks. In the recruitment grades. And they drew up terms of
for an interdepartmental committee to report on methods of choosing
right individuals to be civil servants, to report four years hence.
which time Hacker would certainly no longer be the Minister."
- "Yes, Minister", pg. 373
Jonathan Lynn & Anthony Jay
ISBN: 0 563 20665 9