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Memo to John Markoff: There are No "Do Overs" in History

Think for a moment of the enduring legacy of African slavery in America. Think of the way it tainted this country's culture and politics; think of the bloody Civil War, the ghettos... What if we could roll back the clock and ensure that our society was "designed" so that slavery was never permitted and never happened? ... But what if I told you that my computer science lab was working on a "new Internet" that would solve all the terrible security and privacy problems of the existing one? Would you find this claim more credible than a proposed retroactive solution to the problem of slavery? more»

IPv6 Floating on the Ethernet

Remarkable how Ethernet has evolved and been widely adopted over this quarter of a century period extending its reach from LAN to MAN to WAN and from 10meg to 10gigE. One has to credit the IEEE for quite an efficient job as a standards body. Over in the IP world, this month of March will see IETF 74 meet in San Francisco and continue to ponder transitions, address translations, double translations, even carrier grade translations... more»

Who Pays for Email?

An acquaintance wondered why the people who run the systems that receive mail get to make all the rules about what gets delivered. After all, he noted: "The sender pays for bandwidth and agrees to abide by the bandwidth provider's rules." It is useful to think of the Internet as a collection of tubes, all leading from the periphery to the middle, where the middle is approximately "the peering point." The sender has paid for the tubes leading from himself to the middle... more»

CircleID's Top 10 Posts of 2008

Here is a list of the most viewed news and blog postings that were featured on CircleID in 2008... Best wishes for 2009 and Happy New Year from all of us here at CircleID. more»

The Global Network Initiative

After more than two years of work behind closed doors, the Global Network Initiative is launching this week. That's the corporate code of conduct on free speech and privacy I've been talking about in generalities for quite some time. By midnight Tuesday U.S. East Coast time, the full set of documents and list of initial signatories will be made publicly available at more»

Do the IM Protocol Wars Even Matter?

Do you care any more about zillion different IM services? Do you care about the IM protocol wars that have plagued the usage of IM for the last years? Odds are that if you are an IM user like me, you probably don't. Why not? Simple... we've unified the IM services on the client side and basically stopped caring about the various services and protocols. I was reminded of this fact this morning when I received a message saying that an update was available for Adium on my Mac that solved a really annoying disconnection problem with Yahoo!Messenger. more»

New gTLDs String Theory for Bidders

The following is most of the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) strings applied for in the 2000 and 2003 applications. Some are two, and even one character ASCII strings. Some have since been approved, or disapproved (which of course means nothing in the 2008 round). It is a universe of 180 strings. Enjoy. more»

Introductory Remarks from Innovation '08

Here's my opening remarks from Media Access Project's Innovation '08 in Santa Clara this morning. A DVD will be available shortly. This was a lively discussion, with Google and Vuze on the case. Good morning and welcome. My name is Richard Bennett and I'm a network engineer. I've built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi... I'm opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we're going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain. more»

Microsoft's Contribution Was TCP/IP

There's a fascinating blog discussion going on here, here and here. The conversation is around Marc Andreessen's refusal to trash Microsoft and Bill Gates on stage. Andreessen points to the way in which the company drove the industry forward in the 1990's, and Mathew Ingram says "love them or hate them, at least Microsoft standardized the operating-system market"... more»

The End of End-to-End?

One of the major principles of the architecture of the Internet was encapsulated in a paper by Saltzer, Reed and Clark, "End-to-End Arguments in System Design". This paper, originally published in 1981, encapsulated very clearly the looming tension between the network and the application: "The function in question can completely and correctly be implemented only with the knowledge and help of the application standing at the end points of the communication system. Therefore, providing that questioned function as a feature of the communication system itself is not possible." At the time this end-to-end argument was akin to networking heresy! more»