[ih] Lessons to be learnt from Internet history

Ian Peter ian.peter at ianpeter.com
Sat Feb 9 14:17:29 PST 2013

John Curran's comments below are leading me to think it would be worthwhile 
to document some major lessons which can be learnt from Internet history. 
Elsewhere, there are substantial efforts underway to define Internet Rights 
and Principles, Internet Core Values etc, and these efforts hopefully will 
be useful in internet governance evolution.

So what lessons could be learnt from Internet history which could inform 
these efforts?  I'm happy to suggest a couple to get the ball rolling, but I 
am sure there are many others.

Here's my start.

1. Think long term.

Plenty of examples discussed here (good and bad). We need to plan for an 
Internet that is around forever, not for a quick fix that patches an 
immediate problem while giving rise to longer term problems.

2. Keep it open.

Nothing demonstrates this more to me than the difference between an open 
platform such as the World Wide Web and a proprietary application such as 
Facebook (the latter now becoming a defacto Internet to a younger generation 
whose only "Internet" access is via mobile apps). This proprietary ownership 
raises a series of issues around privacy, access, rights, and jurisdiction 
which are quite different on a open platform.

Anyway, that's a start. I am sure there are others and a couple are in my 
mind as I write. But I would be interested to hear from this list as regards 
the lessons which either have been learnt, or should have been learnt, from 
Internet history thus far.

Ian Peter

Message: 2
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2013 19:53:38 -0500
From: John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org>
Subject: Re: [ih] The story of BGP?
To: Craig Partridge <craig at aland.bbn.com>
Cc: internet-history at postel.org, Noel Chiappa
<jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>
Message-ID: <7B5ECA4D-28BC-4E20-96A3-48D096519426 at istaff.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

On Feb 8, 2013, at 7:14 PM, Craig Partridge <craig at aland.bbn.com> wrote:
> This doing it right long term versus doing something that solved an 
> immediate
> need issue shows up repeatedly in IETF behavior the period 1989-1994 or 
> so.
> Routing was one.  Network Management was another.  8-bit Email nearly got
> wrapped around the axle too.

"IPv4 to IPng" has definitely earned a spot on that list; we solved the
apparent immediate need, and decided not to undertake a loc-id split nor
variable/path-based locators.  I probably could live with this tradeoff
for getting it done fast, but we actually didn't get it done, instead
leaving transition out of the spec for the next generation and not even
getting any actual backward compatibility with IPv4 as a result.

If we're not going to "do it right for the long-term", it's kinda important
that we nail getting the "immediate" solution right...


Disclaimer:  My $.02; YMMV.

More information about the Internet-history mailing list