[ih] Lessons to be learnt from Internet history

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Tue Feb 19 04:38:19 PST 2013

On Feb 19, 2013, at 4:14 AM, Bob Hinden <bob.hinden at gmail.com> wrote:

>> 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.
> While this sounds good, I think in practice it has significant problems.  Many of the problems we see now were understood when the Internet was first developed, but we didn't have practical solutions to them.  Had we insisted on solving everything, it's very likely that nothing would have been done, or it would have been impractical to deploy given the technology at the time.  Just because you understand the problem, doesn't mean you can solve it.

IMHO, our challenge has not been in facing problems beyond solving, but rather the 
tendency to skimp on fully defining problems before moving on to solution phase...
Engineers tend to start imagining new fields and protocol exchanges upon hearing of
any issue, and yet in many cases the problems we face in the Internet have and will
continue to include economic or political aspects which dominate the available 
solution space. 

> I also note that "forever" is a very long time.  We aren't that good at predicting the future to know what will be needed in 10 years, much less a hundred years or more.  

I agree on this aspect; forever is a long-time and not likely something to serve 
as a useful planning horizon. However, planning for "the foreseeable future", i.e. 
for as long and as well as we can imagine, _is_ quite reasonable.


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