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The Almighty Buck

The Death Of The Open Internet 315

Crackerman111 writes "There's an article up on's The Dismal Scientist that's sort of a follow up to the /. post a few days ago that talked about how businesses want a new profitable internet."
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The Death Of The Open Internet

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  • Several points:

    1) The problem isn't with the internet as it stands today, but with the application of the internet. It's not the anarchy on the internet that caused the dot-com.death -- it was stupid business practices.

    2) "Businesses are growing so frustrated by the unreliability of the public Internet" (from the LA Times article) So What! Do I (meaning correct-thinking, techno-saavy america) want to turn every last scrap of online freedom over to corporate superpowers? The Government, austensibly, is supposed to be "of the people, for the people..." and like that. Corporations are "for the money, because of the money, and all about the money". They only answer to the ledger book (spread sheet, I guess). Do you want to put them in control?

    3)"Thanks to people who had the foresight to keep the middle stupid, we've been able to discover new, totally unanticipated applications " (again from the times)
    Damn Straight! Remember the scare the "Halloween Documents" put into the "anarchist hippies" (psssst - that means ME and YOU) with Microsoft wanting to control the protocols on the web, make them no longer a commodity (that means something that anyone can supply - in case you didn't know) So M$ would have control of web communications with their protocol. THIS IS WORSE!!! This is giving over the protocol, the router, the switch, and even the wire.

    4)"Whether the open model and the business model can comfortably coexist is debatable" (Times again)
    Screw THAT! They can coexist, as long as business doesn't try to bend over the public and cornhole them and expect the public to thank them for the innovation (See the history of AT&T). No - there won't be no mega-corps if the whole world followed the Open model, but....HEY! wait a minute!!! That's not a bad thing at all!

    5) "Telecom executives say that without a major redesign of the Internet, such eagerly anticipated applications as video-on-demand, Internet Telephony and Webcasts of live entertainment events will never be economical." (again)

    Uhm - this might be an unpopular view but...Do we really need that crap? Is it worth handing the keys to the internet over to the blackest pit-spawn of the nether-corporate planes?

    6)"Companies Are Having to Pay for Reliability" (Times again, this is a bold-faced heading to a section)
    Really? Oh those poor soulless bastards! They have to PAY for something? Like I do. OH the INJUSTICE OF IT ALL! Maybe we could get like....Prince and U2, and Micheal Jackson and a bunch of other musicians from the 80s to do a benefit concert for a Billionaire-CEO-Aide benefit concert. Thos poor billion dollar corporations have to PAY for reliability like I do. damn. It just ain't right.

    So, in closing, I'd like to ask that when you go to the polls this november, remember that honesty and integrity count, and that I promise to do the job....Oh wait, I'm not running for office....

    But - if this hideousness happens in our dimension, or a nearby paralell plane, boycott the bastards. Don't use their crappy product.
  • When I see crap like this, I am immediately reminded of the phrase "replace the word 'internet' with the word 'telephone', and see if it still makes sense." What they fail to realise is that the internet is a communications medium. Just like the telephone. The two have remarkable similarities: they are both large-scale networks, designed to facilitate information flow across large or small distances. (In fact the only real technical difference is that the telephone was designed to transmit sound, and the internet was designed to transmit data.) When someone says "How do you make money off the internet?" - just replace that with "How do you make money off the telephone?" Try it with this article - once you put everything in context, you'll see just how stupid the quotes are.
  • The basic bogus assumption in that article is that backbone bandwidth is a bottleneck. It's not. As everybody in the industry knows, backbone bandwidth is much cheaper than last-mile bandwidth. For an ISP, backbone bandwidth is a minor cost. Typical ISP costs, in order, are 1) tech support, 2) marketing, 3) modem pool/phone service/DSL costs, 4) backbone bandwidth.

    The real question is whether the telcos can get DSL sorted out. DSL is a mess at the central office right now, because a DSL install requires physical wiring inside the central office. Telcos hate this, because physical wire management inside central offices is labor-intensive and gets messy after too many changes. Broadband to the home needs to be implemented in a way that requires fewer manual wire terminations. Eventually, DSL, or something like it, will just be built into the CO switch, and every line will be DSL-capable. (For many switches, that's true for ISDN now, although it's not marketed much.)

    For an article by someone who knows that they're talking about, see this article in ISPWorld. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2001 @03:55PM (#2159631)
    I think actually what they want is profitable COMPANIES. Strange that they are blaming the Internet for their inability to make a profit.
  • This, Is Stupid. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BiggestPOS ( 139071 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @03:56PM (#2159633) Homepage
    This is like Fast Food chains getting together and demanding a new, more business friendly roadway system.

    • by Johnny5000 ( 451029 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:13PM (#2159744) Homepage Journal
      Ever read Fast Food Nation?

      That's not as far from the truth as you might think.

      The fast food chains have changed the face of ranching, farming, meat packing, travel, etc.

      The moral of the story is, the businesses who stand to make money from a more business friendly internet have the resources to try to make that a reality.

      On the other hand, who would want to use their new crappy internet? The money they're making has to come from somewhere- so New Crappy Internet (I think NCI should be the official name) will cost a fortune to anyone who uses it. Nice.


    • by mr_exit ( 216086 )
      its more like the Airlines getting together and asking for more business friendly laws of physics.

      "please mr newton, it would be sooo much easier if we didn't have to deal with these silly wings and engines"
      • its more like the Airlines getting together and asking for more business friendly laws of physics.

        "please mr newton, it would be sooo much easier if we didn't have to deal with these silly wings and engines"

        Ask and ye shall receive. A nice fellow named Albert gave them a new physics that allowed for time dialation and distance shrinking if they flew fast enough, and under a suitable gravity they also get warped space for free. Great!

        (Of cource it was an inside job; he was someones relativity).

      • by sphealey ( 2855 )
        "its more like the Airlines getting together and asking for more business friendly laws of physics."

        Rather than the laws of physics, think of the practicalities of flying. The art and science of flying and the airways were developed by what today would be called "general aviation" flyers

        Over the last 20 years general aviation has been pushed to the margins of the airways, and at this moment the airlines are pumping various ATC privitization schemes which would essentially lock general aviation out of any airspace more crowded than Montana. "Thanks for the memories, but you are in the way of maximum profit".

        I am old enough to have actually seen the first "coming death of the Net" message on netnews. This time it may actually happen, I am afraid.

  • screw them. its as much mine as theirs and i like it the way it is thanks. go sell your balls [] somewhere else.
  • AOLization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:00PM (#2159668) Homepage
    An Internet driven by business, for business, would hardly have the appeal of the net as it exists today. It would be nothing but banners, keywords, affiliate programs, and all the other garbage that already makes the web so annoying.

    I say, let the businesses have their internet, and watch it crash and burn. If they haven't learned yet, maybe this will teach them.

    • Damn, you'd think with a URL like that, you'd at least mention Clifford Performance on the page.

    • I say, let the businesses have their internet, and watch it crash and burn. If they haven't learned yet, maybe this will teach them.

      Sure, it will teach them - teach them to follow us. While their internet crashes and burns, they will see that the new net that we start in its place is thriving just as theirs had years ago. At that point, they will start migrating to our net and demanding that we make changes to accomodate them...

      Corporations and governments dont learn from history, just look at the rolls that massive banking/insurance/investment companies played in the 1929 stock market crash and look at those companies comming back today. Their attitude will be, even if they eventually destroy that net, we will have started another for them to loot. This needs to be stopped here. Unfortunately, I do not know how.

    • Re:AOLization (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hexx ( 108181 )
      I say, let the businesses have their internet, and watch it crash and burn. If they haven't learned yet, maybe this will teach them.

      Quick responses and callow attitude like this will kill the "free Internet" if we are not careful.

      The fact that this response was moderated up is disturbing in itself. It reminds me of the sinking island in 'Erik the Viking' where all the inhabitants are convinced the island itself is not sinking - and they all drown.

      The entire Internet is in danger at the moment - look around you (Sklyarov, School Website Protection, .NET). People have lost a lot of money, and they're pissed. And they're ready to change things so they can make money again.

      And freedom does not make money.

      So what's happening at the moment? AOL and Microsoft and AT&T and god knows what other corporate behemoths want to privatize the net. AND THEY CAN. And that's the problem.

      A few billion dollars can go a long way, especially when everyone is upset about a poor economy and the 'failed promise' of the net.

      Don't think that because you don't want it to happen, it won't. It IS happening.

      So the real question is, what can we do?

        • AOL and Microsoft and AT&T [...] want to privatize the net. AND THEY CAN. [...] So the real question is, what can we do?

        Buy overpowered 802.11 cards, open your home LAN up (carefully) to your peers, and build a 2.4Ghz wireless net of users. The way it used to be.

    • Tele mortification. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      I say, let the businesses have their internet, and watch it crash and burn. If they haven't learned yet, maybe this will teach them.

      Yeah, I wish they would build a net. Instead they want to ruin this one, as you have noticed. If you want to imagine what they will do just turn on a TV. There it sits with some 60 broadcast channels largly empty thanks largly to Federal Laws backed by folks like GE, Westinghouse, other large advertisers and propaganists. Ever wonder why there were 60 broadcast channels, but only three or four broadcasters forever? It's all about control. If these folks finish, you will wish you had something as cool as AOL.

      Look to the military and national interest to combat this mess. There are the military advantages of the internet as it exists and the case is not at all like TV. Distributed, dumb nets are nuke hard. Contoling mechanisms are weak. Philisophicaly, military folks should like the internet as it is too. Restrictions on publication and control of this new publishing media are simply UnAmerican. Weak OSes from MS have weakened things enough. I expect many of these efforts to be thwarted.

      More wires, damn it!

    • Re:AOLization (Score:2, Interesting)

      An Internet driven by business, for business, would hardly have the appeal of the net as it exists today. It would be nothing but banners, keywords, affiliate programs, and all the other garbage that already makes the web so annoying.

      I agree with your sentiment. In 1994, did people flock to the web (remember that old IBM commercial that had the nun saying she was dying to "surf the web"?) because of advertising and slick corporate marketing materials? Hell NO! The web took off because it was full of crap, truth, lies, gibberish and FAQs that other regular folks put together. CEOs and other pointy-haired morons often forget this reality. The web succeeded because, not in spite of, it's hostility towards business.

      This is more than just an opinion by some crank. An AT&T researcher named Andrew Odlyzko has written about this many times. His Content is not king [] article is the most accessible. Odlyzko has looked at the history of pricing of communications channels [], too. More recently, the "Internet Enabled" cell phones have failed, while SMS text messaging phones have taken off, probably because the "Internet Enabled" phone depended on people wanting to view slick corporate marketing collateral, while SMS text messaging is popular because everyone can use it for their own purposes.

  • My Theory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ziggy_zero ( 462010 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:01PM (#2159672)
    My theory is that eventually this evolve into 2 Internets. One used by businesses and *maybe* individuals. The other is the existing one that will be used by the Internet underground, or those who cannot afford the New Internet.
  • Death? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sllort ( 442574 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:01PM (#2159675) Homepage Journal
    Admittedly the article has a point, but I do not believe that the point was that "the open internet is dying". I think rather that the point is that "the internet is not a pool of liquid money". This is a good thing. The massive influx of commercial interests into what was once a primarily academic network was, to many who used it, kind of like watching a horde of lemmings descend on a garden. Look at all the damage done in the last 5 years! The destruction of the Online Guitar Archive (OLGA) was the first shot in the many salvos fired by the corporations that came to infest the Internet in the battle to dominate what people saw and interacted with on the net. The lack of financial potential may well save us. Without money, would there be a DMCA? Would there be massive RIAA lawsuits? Would we have elaborately engineered "streaming" media formats that don't let you save video to disk? Would we have millions of sites full of crappy fixed-font "Flash" that only windows users with 1024x768 resolution can read?

    Down with the commercial Internet. Up with content and open standards. Look at the power of the site you're reading - created entirely with flat HTML. Broadband isn't the revolution. This is the revolution.
    • OLGA (Score:3, Insightful)

      by keytoe ( 91531 )

      Ah - you almost brought tears to my eyes bringing up OLGA. What a sad travesty that was - and indeed, it was the first salvo. I remember thinking at the time how absolutely ludicrous EMI's accusations were. Now, well... That's par for the course.

      However, OLGA does live on [] - and they are seeking support [] in order to stave off future legal bullying. In any case, I'm glad I don't have to pull out all the archives I 'backed up' before they went down...

  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:03PM (#2159681)
    I really don't know what these people are talking about. AOL has become very profitable by getting people to pay for "content" along with being an ISP. The model exists. Not only does it work, but it does require the sectioning off of the internet.

    Since this is the case, It would be a stretch to say these "Companies" don't realize this. Which makes me thing there must be some other motive behind sectioning off the internet....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Death of the Internet As We Know It
    By Wes Basel

    08/2/01 12:00 PM ET

    With the Internet boom seriously busted, the shrinking cadre of true believers clings to broadband technologies as the last hope. A pure form of this vision would blame the slow rollout of broadband by local service providers as the trigger that initiated the collapse. The problem is that broadband over the existing Internet is neither economically or technically feasible. What began as a deliberately decentralized network to promote the exchange of research ideas and data became a poor network for commercial applications.

    The Internet is a dumb network with smart terminals. The network itself functions automatically through pre-determined algorithms of routing and formatting. Once the network is built, there is no internal intelligence required for each transmission. The intelligence of the network is concentrated at the endpoints, the personal computers and servers at the terminus.

    For this reason, attempts to bolt the Internet onto less intelligent media outlets in the home, such as TVs, stereos, and cell phones, have resulted in ungainly hybrids. Consumers find such Frankensteins clumsy and inelegant, and requiring too much personal interaction to operate. Adoption of web TV and other such services has been disappointing. Wireless Internet services have also been a nonstarter with U.S. consumers.

    Furthermore, the capacity of the Internet is still far short of being able to beam video-on-demand and other such broadband ideas to a significant portion of U.S. consumers. The Internet was designed for text delivery. As a basis of comparison, digital e-books require a few megabytes storage space, music CDs are 650 megabytes, while video DVDs are 8.5 gigabytes. So even if there is 80% unused capacity in the current Internet backbone, it is too small by a factor of 100 or more.

    Finally, the decentralization of the Internet and thus lack of control by any group of operators promotes its lack of reliability and responsibility, even as it promotes the high pace of innovation. On this non-intelligent network, security is dependent on the end-user, and thus subject to the vagaries of system administrators and amateur home networkers. Consumers and copyright holders alike remain rightfully cautious of letting loose too much data onto the net, as there is no reliable method for tracking its dissemination and use. Viruses are easily written and released, and unwanted email and privacy intrusions are difficult to prevent.

    Economically, the difficulty in assessing tolls for distribution drove the Internet backbone into commodity-status. Operators compete primarily on price, since they have no method for guaranteeing quality. The result was a business with very high startup costs and low margins, the opposite of a desirable outcome.

    By contrast, the telecom network is the opposite: a smart network with dumb terminals. The intelligence and thus control of the network is contained in the switching technology, allowing the operator to ensure and contract a given quality of service. This allowed the pre-breakup AT&T to promote their famous "Five 9s" performance, 99.999% reliability. The ability to control access and routing also allowed higher margins, and thus profitability, despite the high startup costs.

    Changes to the net are already under way. Cisco and its competitors are designing new switching technologies, allowing greater control of the pathway. Business uses concentrate on virtual private networks and other methods for secure, high quality internal company nets. Consumer initiatives are focused on authentication and identification schemes operating on the existing Internet, and proprietary satellite or cable delivery technologies. Thus, the Internet is evolving into a smarter network, which will allow easy access by dumber terminals.

    The portion of any network that provides the most profitable business opportunities is the intelligent portion, because that is the portion generating control and thus allowing pricing based on quality. In the telecom age, the prime monopoly arose as the network provider, AT&T. In the Internet age, the prime monopoly was the gatekeeper to the PC, the Microsoft operating system. Now as we move to a smarter network again, Microsoft is trying to move their operations onto the network.

    With the network getting more intelligent, high-quality end-to-end connections become a possibility. Workable consumer and business broadband services could result, although the capacity constraint remains. Such services would not require a universal operating system and associated software understandable by all the end-users, rather it would be more efficient to design the link-up and download software independently for each application.

    The plethora of development tools and consumer services offered with the latest versions of Microsoft operating system upgrades is a direct response to this movement. The development tools that make up the .Net initiative put Microsoft directly at the center of the application delivery process. The consumer identification routine built into Windows XP, called Passport, makes them the gatekeeper at the end point, as well.

    If successful, this strategy would make Microsoft the monopoly network provider of the next decade. Whether it would be more beneficial for consumers and the overall economy for this monopoly to be averted, or allowed and then regulated, is an uncertain public policy question. Uniform standards would promote the development of such applications and thus be an unqualified good for the economy. Yet, the potential for non-competitive pricing practices is large.

    Furthermore, the total loss of the open Internet would seriously dampen innovation. An open, decentralized network, placing the intelligent components directly into end-user hands, has been the ideal model for innovation. Even in the telecom age, most of the major innovations actually occurred from the usage of the telegraph, which in its early stages was a very unintelligent network with very intelligent terminals. Wire news services, stock ticker tape, wire funds transfers, intercontinental cables, all arrived before the telephone system. It is likely that some small part of the open Internet will survive, if only among the technically literate, but a renewed level of public and research support may be desirable to maintain this modern engine of innovation.
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:05PM (#2159691) Homepage Journal
    I think it is really funny how some suits are complaining that the internet "doesn't follow economic laws." Think about that for a moment, if we discovered something that didn't follow the laws of physics, we'd quickly go back to the drawing board because it would be obvious that our understanding of physics was flawed. Not so with business types I guess.

    The greatest strenght of the intenet is its decentralized nature. It reminds me of the form of govenrment the founding fathers tried to create, one where no one person or group had too much control and anything that one group did could be countered by the others.

    So now some suits don't like the fact that they can't exploit people online they way they have been able to do traditionally. Well boo fucking hoo. There is plenty of money to be made online, just look at Amazon or Ebay.

    • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:15PM (#2159756) Homepage Journal
      I think part of the issue is that of control. Companies like to know that they are in control in the end results, like a dictator. The internet is not like that and it scares them.

      Other things which are worth noting is that, while I don't have any figures for this, the number of dot coms going bust is probably around the same for any number of real world business in the same geographic zone, ie world-wide. Another is banner ads and the complaint people don't click on them. Heck, nobody clicks on adverts in a paper magazine, so how an earth can they say that the final response rate is any less?

      This goes back to the orginal point, a company will try to adapt the market to their own ends, if they can't then they will complain that the environment is not tailored to their needs. Life is chaos, and if you can't stand the chaos, you are better playing elsewhere, IMHO.
    • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:38PM (#2159887) Homepage Journal
      Before discussing laws of economics, let's remember that most business types think that the DJI is the economy, or at least an indicator of it. That's wrong. Just plain wrong. Many of these people forget that the science of economics is generally the study of margins. Perhaps even more importantly, most economic assertions are based on several assumptions, many of which are 'broken' on the internet.

      If anything, the internet opens a wonderful world of the study of applied or real-world economics. One of the failings of economics is the assumption of complete or total information. IOW, each party in a transaction has complete knowledge. In the real world, this doesn't, or rather, didn't, exist. With the internet, each party in a transaction does, or at least, can, have all the information they want/need. This is the chance to study that assumption, and see if it is valid.

      • One of the failings of economics is the assumption of complete or total information.

        Well, even with all the great price/feature-comparison killer-apps out there (pricegrabber [] & pricewatch [] -- the rest suck: dealtime, mysimon,,, ...), and unbiased product reviews, and fly-by-night merchant ratings (gomez, bizrate, resellerratings), etc., most people still don't use this information. Most people are blissfully happy to led by the nose into overpaying for crap with pretty packaging; and by overpaying, the CrapCompany(tm) then reinvests this profit into capturing more lemmings with more shiny object advertising. It's a vicious cycle of LCD crap. :-)

        So much for that information killer-app living up to its namesake eh?

        If a good "bullshit detector" were ever to go mainstream (i.e. integrated with the desktop) it would kill a LOT of business' that depend on ignorance for their high profit margins. In fact, in defense, more companies would probably start using the "EBay strategy" of calling their listed pricing information "private property," in order to kill off the pro-consumer clearinghouses......(unless said clearinghouse could be a distributed untouchable.)

    • Perhaps one thing to look at would be how the various permutations of Windows have split off. everything is supposed to become easier and easier for the user: keeping up on the latest patches, audio/video codecs, drivers and what not. Further, this tactic is emerging into the ability to install and use the operating system at all, witness XP. M$ is actively automating the OS through the Internet. I still get a chill every time Windows Media Player decides it's time to look for an upgrade and my proxy server dials out unbidden.

      The point is, Windows machines are turning into dumb terminals. The burden of processing still rests with the terminal instead of the server, which simply enables the software to run. It's an interesting hybrid, and one which fits in with the business model this guy is talking about. If you can't actively control the Internet via the infrastructure, you can always take the control away from the end nodes by crippling their usability without some kind of automated registration and upgrade technique. .Net sounds worse to the nth power.

      It exploits the dependence of users and businesses on the Internet itself - this kind of control wouldn't have been possible pre-'95. And now they want to re-vamp the whole thing to bring it all together on the business side.

      That's what I'm really worried about.

  • Subsidies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by swordboy ( 472941 )

    While businesses may want a profitable internet (they *are* businesses and thus exist only for profit), the bulk of consumers do not want to touch anything to do with online commerce. Sure, they will pay their AOL bill every month, but unless your dishing out pr0n, you'd better think of a real, fail safe, free method of getting the cash from the consumer to the businesses.

    Hell... I considered myself exempt from such blind thinking but then I rec'd a message from the CEO of stating that their customer database was breached by a hacker and that my card may have been exposed. Gasp...
  • yeah well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WickedClean ( 230550 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:07PM (#2159702) Homepage
    It is much easier for an 'internet business' to be profitable if they ACTUALLY SELL SOMETHING!! People are finally figuring out that nobody clicks on banner ads, and so advertising revenue is down.

    Think about it, advertising on the net is unique in that it is integrated within the content. the closest thing would be magazines where the ads are mixed with the content, but most magazine ads are on their own page.

    In radio, you listen to a song, hear a commercial, then another song. They don't stop in the middle of the song to tell you about McDonald's and then play the rest of the song - but that same principle is what internet advertisers are wanting to do.

    Bottom line is advertising on the net just does not work very well, especially pop up ads.

    Has anyone seen the pop up ads that appear just a bit too far to the right, out of the screen area, so that the maximize button is on the edge of the screen. If out of habit, you click the top right of the pop up window, you will maximize it rather than close it. Sneaky, sneaky.
    • Re:yeah well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mr_exit ( 216086 )
      Banner adds are great at brand building, people may not click on them but they will LOOK at them.
      This is exactly what television adds do. These days when you have 10000 companies selling exactly the same product at prety much the same price (be it icecream, cars or airline tickets) any average consumer will just pick the one with the name they like and trust. This involves getting your name out there.
      Most companies think that banner adds only work if you are showcaseing a particular product or special.
      why dont we see more Burger King ads, Toyota ads or ads for specific brands of cereal?
      Basicly because its hard to mesure how effective this is, not much harder then it is for television ads, but then again, television stations have got great marketing people to sell ad space for them. I'd like a real study done (and if there is one can someone PLEASE tell me) on brand building through banner ads (or even those ginormous ads in yahoo now).
  • The Guerilla Net (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nihilanth ( 470467 ) <> on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:07PM (#2159705)
    I don't know if L0pht Heavy Industries (now part of @Stake consulting) still maintains this project, but they used to host technical writeups of their progress on establishing a "guerilla" wireless network using radio waves. The "nodes" or transmission stations were designed to be inexpensive and expendable (in case they were siezed or destroyed by the authorities), and were able to acheive some semblance of Windows Networking at speeds comprable to (last i checked) 9600 baud modems. Its been a while since i kept up with it, but it seemed like a viable alternative if "the worst happens" to the internet. Sure, it wouldnt be fast, you wouldnt be able to play quake through it, but it would be free, unmoderated and uncensored.

    Granted, implimenting this would seem a bit rash now, but its an interesting thing to be aware of, that it would work. Keep the plans in a glass case with the words "break open in case of fascism" printed on the front..
    • Actually mate, there's something similar going on right now in many cities. NYC Wireles is a public wireless LAN, built and maintained purely by the people who use it. Additionally, myself and a few others in St Louis MO are building PuMA Net (Public Metro Area Network). All of these systems are running 802.11b, and are capable of very fast speeds. The prices aren't down yet, but who says you have to buy the antennae? You could always learn some math and start building one on your own. Wireless NICs will assuredly go down in price soon enough, which will make expendable systems easy. Just take all the 486s your local church or other org is throwing out and start putting together some repeater stations. Even if you didn't have repeaters, 802.11b has been used at up to 20miles or more provided the standard conditions are met.
      Now, picture this with me.... PuMA Net is going to be a completely free network. You can choose to donate to keep things running smoothly, but for the most part the network is run by the people who use it becuase they ARE the network. In the (unlikely) event that the internet either becomes closed or is killed off somehow, the PuMA Net would prevail, BBSs would spring up only now at lightning speeds and more interesting interfaces. Someone would start up a DirectConnect Hub on their system and we could all be sharing files and information that way. Now, picture PuMA Net spreading. with a 20 mile radius (currently), you can have a decent distance between repeaters, and users. For every user on the outskirts of the network, we come closer to another network that may be 40 miles away. Stash a repeater box in some decent area, run some CAT5 up to the roof where an omni antenna is, and you're set......
      Conclusion:.....PuMA Net and other public access wireless networks are guerilla networking. We just haven't got to the part where the gov decides it's bad. That's because it's not in full use yet...Just wait.
      • establishing a "guerilla" wireless network using radio waves

      I'd strongly suggest getting some of the overpowered multi-mile 802.11x cards before 2.4Ghz gets regulated out of existence. Open up a machine to the world, and peer to your heart's content.

  • (Score:2, Informative)

    OK, this article claims the "open" internet is dying......but as I carefully scan through the article the only actual information besides what is wrong with the internet today is "Cisco and competitors are already designing smarter switches". Now can anyone explain how having intelligent switches that control the path of data better will "kill" the open internet. It doesn't seem to me that just because data will flow more efficiently the open internet will die. Hell, they don't even explain what the "closed" internet is and how it will come about....overall a losy article that is extremely short on facts to support it's position.
  • by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:12PM (#2159731) Homepage
    Thus, the Internet is evolving into a smarter network, which will allow easy access by dumber terminals.

    Uhhh...shouldn't that be dumber users (hopefully with shiny new visa cards)?

  • by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:13PM (#2159747)
    The author seems to buy in to Isenberg's "stupid network" hypothesis, which is a good one for Isenberg's rubber-chicken business but not terribly accurate when taken literally.

    The telecom network isn't more "intelligent" than the Internet. The Internet has many times more CPU power than the phone network: A phone switch needs a little CPU time to set up a call, while a router needs a little CPU time for every packet. But Bellcore back in the 1980s coined the term (trademark?) "Intelligent Network" to refer to their architecture for using outboard processors and Signaling System 7 to supplement the feature capabilities of AT&T (now Lucent) and Nortel switches. Isenberg correctly notes that the Internet is different, so he called it the Stupid Network, which is correct as an antonym but not literally accurate.

    What the phone network offers (and does amazingly well on) is Quality of Service (QoS), which is a measurable set of performance metrics. The Internet was designed specifically to not use QoS; instead, it shares its resources on an as-available basis with all comers. This is called "best effort" but that's a euphemism for "no particular effort".

    Trouble is, people are overloading the Internet with services that really want QoS. Now a decade ago, the telecom industry was foreseeing a way of doing that using Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), a protocol that offers selectable QoS. But the Internet got commercialized and caught on instead. ATM became relegated to a niche technology (it's most widely used inside ADSL networks) but the global ATM network that had been foreseen never happened.

    So now people are looking to the Internet to do all the things that it was designed not to do! I don't mean "not designed to do". MPLS, for instance, is the latest saviour-designee, but it can even be implemented as ATM! (Doesn't have to be, though.) So we're back where we were a decade ago, only we have to wave an "Internet" wand over everything or it won't sell.

    The problem with ATM, btw, was that nobody figured out a good price model. QoS costs money to provide. When you provide QoS with an "Internet" label, it will still cost money, and the price problems will still exist.

    And the nice thing about the real Internet, the one that carries data, Slashdot, Morpheus, non-real-time file transfer, SMTP mail and lots of other good things, is that its insensitivity to QoS lets it, well, ride on top of whatever's out there. It can be hidden in tunnels, treat censorship as damage and route around it, and survive all sorts of abuse. So I don't think that the "walled garden" folks will be able to kill off our Internet. Hell, if they take their shameless streaming commerce and its fans who think of it as "channels" with them, the rest of us will still get by just fine. Or, more realistically, we'll have more, not less, choice. Because the real Internet won't die.

    • by segfaultcoredump ( 226031 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:50PM (#2159952)

      The article mentions that the end node are where the intelligence is. that is quite wrong.

      the pc's at the end don't have a clue as to how to get a packet from point a to b, they just send it to the default router and hope that all goes well.

      the routers are where the intelligence resides on the internet, all 100,000+ of them. (some more intelligent than others)

      if anything, the internet is an example of a decentralized intelligence. There is no single point of control. there is no single point of failure. there is no single person who can thus guarantee that stuff will work since they dont control everything from point a to b.

      now, ATT was able to have 99.999% uptime because they controlled the entire thing. Many of the larger ISP's also have what is very close to that same level of reliability _within their own network_. Once it leaves their network it is out of their hands. ATT does not take responsibility for QOS of calls to china and ISP's do not offer any SLA's for packets that leave their network

      The backbone can support all that various business wants it to, they just dont want to pay for it. Think about it, a single long distance call from New York to San Francisco cost about $0.05 a minute (us) That gets you a dedicated 64Kbps link from point a to b (assuming the old uncompressed telco data rates where a T1 carried 28 voice channels). Now, what does a typical dialup line cost? $20 a month? That would buy you 400 minutes or a little under 7 hours. How many hours of surfing does the average person do per month on their 56K line? I bet that it is a good bit over 7 hours, prob closer to 30+ (not counting slashdot users. I racked up over 550 hours in one month once when i was telecommuting and only had a dialup. the isp was not happy with me).

      So, using the telco networks price as a guide, if we all want dedicated, guaranteed access, we should be willing to pay for it. Thus, our 30 hours per month of internet access should a) not exceed 64Kbps and b) cost about $90. Want to do video @1.5Mbps? That will cost you a bit more :)
      • Cost of bandwidth (Score:3, Informative)

        by XNormal ( 8617 )
        The problem with your argument about the cost of a long distance call is that the actual bandwidth is a small fraction of what you are paying. Raw bandwidth in bulk quantities is at least an order of magnitude cheaper than what you pay for that call. You are mostly paying for operational costs, overhead, marketing, etc.
    • The problem with ATM, btw, was that nobody figured out a good price model. QoS costs money to provide. When you provide QoS with an "Internet" label, it will still cost money, and the price problems will still exist.

      And - very importantly folks! - nobody is willing to pay for it! If nobody is willing to pay for QoS, and I don't see anyone calling their ISP asking for a higher bill for "priority packets" or whatever, bye-bye QoS.

      • Businesses are willing to pay for virtual private networks using IP and (often) MPLS, with QoS. However, these VPNs will run alongside normal Internet traffic - the only impact is that the service provider makes a lot more money from business class traffic, so they can afford to cross-subsidise the consumer market in most cases.

        This is already happening, of course - the key point about QoS is that Joe Consumer has no interest in paying for this, generally. However, he might pay for cheaper voice calls, or video calls from a PC/PDA - these may well require QoS.

        The reason ATM QoS failed was that it is circuit-oriented and telco-style - you get a single high-grade QoS from end to end, by making an 'ATM call' - and requires ATM everywhere. IP QoS is mainly based on prioritisation at choke points, e.g. the last mile connection, and doesn't have to be everywhere - some networks deliver QoS at the edges but turn off QoS in the core network, because that has so much bandwidth there's no point. ATM would pay the same per-call queuing costs, and signalling costs, everywhere - which is why ATM QoS per-call (using SVCs, switched virtual circuits) never took off. I work for a company that originally planned to map IP onto ATM QoS SVCs - now we do IP QoS and VPNs using conventional IP routers, for which the market is pretty good.
      • You improved on my wording. When I said that they didn't have a good price model, I meant ont that a) they were willing to sell it for, and b) people were willing to pay for it! It's easy to find a, and hard to find b. Wealth flows to those who make the two converge.

        Incumbent telephone companies (ILECs), used to monopolies, have no klew about how to price things.
    • Because the real Internet won't die.

      What if the Department of Commerce has a hand in the new Internet, "blesses" it as being official, and criminalizes any open Internet or open wide area networks?

      Such would be possible if the DMCA were expanded to cover any medium which had a significant amount of unauthorized intellectual property or access devices for such being sent over it. Or if it were treated as an unregulated public nuisance. Such as a person can get sued or jailed for intentionally leaving available things that can cause trouble, i.e. "attractive nuisances".

      The gov't could very well argue, and the American sheep, uh people, accept, that "only criminals need an alternate Internet."

      Don't say it can't happen. People like Judge Kaplan and his supporters, want it to. And they have more money. And money buys political influence in great part because it pays for political ads. Which seem to be the only thing many Americans vote based on - very few voters even know or care about the issues.

    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @05:39PM (#2160152)
      "Because the real Internet won't die."

      It may not die, but there's no reason to believe it will be anywhere near as nice as it is now, especially as far as connecting to it.

      Sooner or later some suit is going to figure out that it would be cheaper to build Son of Internet (MechaInternet, whatever) than to try to "fix" the existing one. It will have everything the suits want, none of what they don't want, and will be built explicitly to make money. As this comes about, more and more people will want access to this gleaming new monstrousity than to the Internet that we all know and love. Why go to the old one when the store/bank/tv channel you want to go to is only on Internet 2?

      And what happens when more people want access to this new network than the old one? It will be more profitable to sell access to the new one than the old one. The ISPs we've come to expect as a commodity will all but vanish during this mass migration, because here isn't where the money is.

      So maybe the internet will still be around and it will be wild and free and feeling the grass between its toes blah blah blah, just like it was ten years ago. But we'll also have to connect just like we did ten years ago: by dialling into some small BBS that just can't afford all the bells and whistles we've come to take for granted with current ISPs. Luxuries like bandwidth and phone lines and connection time.

      Sure, you'll still have the Internet, but you'll only be allowed to connect for about ten minutes a day at 33.6 kbps.

    • Trouble is, people are overloading the Internet with services that really want QoS. Now a decade ago, the telecom industry was foreseeing a way of doing that using Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), a protocol that offers selectable QoS. But the Internet got commercialized and caught on instead. ATM became relegated to a niche technology (it's most widely used inside ADSL networks) but the global ATM network that had been foreseen never happened.

      This isn't really relevant to the discussion, but I thought you'd like to know. There is a company working to develop an extensive ATM network, and it's one of the big ones, Sprint. Sprint is merging IP and ATM technology in it's backbone as they move from circuit switched to packet switched. They tried VoIP but the QoS problems were too much to handle, so they're moving to voice over ATM. Sprint's network will be a hybrid of "best effort" and ATM for it's high QoS needs. A neat effort and I hope they can pull it off.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:15PM (#2159754) Homepage Journal
    This is the most horrible thought imaginable.

    Why? After all, the "free market" is what people crave. (Actually, people are only -told- they crave it. The "free market", as invented by the French, has had almost no long-term effect. The old trading Empires have simply been replaced with new trading Empires. Standing still isn't progress.)

    The problem with the Internet, however, is that the Corporate Sector never paid for it. Nor did they design it. Nor (for the most part) do they run it. Nor could they, as it stands. It requires far too much cooperation, openness and integrity.

    What the Corporate Sector wants is a free lunch. Or, at least, a free launch. A new way to sell their junk and tripe, without any of that R&D nonsense, and without any bills to pay.

    If this happens, what -WILL- happen IMHO is that serious "Internet" users will find ways to migrate onto Internet 2, or some comparable tripe-free network.

    And, what will happen then is that all the Domestic Users at Home (DUH) will decide that the Internet has lost all the good stuff, and they will switch over to some (inevitable) ISPs that serve this new, high-speed network.

    Once that happens, of course, the prawn-merchants and the advertisers will drop the old Internet, and switch to this new, exciting service, where they will get to plague humanity all over again.

    Of course, when they do that, the high-power users will complain that their new ultra-expensive networks are too slow, and they'll go and build an even faster one. At THEIR expense.

    And, so, the entire cycle will repeat. Endlessly and stupidly.

    The high-power users don't -really- need a faster network. They need to have all the advertisers and prawnographers deported to the Andromeda Galaxy. That'll improve network capacity by more than enough.

    Advertisers and Web Crawlers are the ones -really- killing the Internet. I've seen guesstimates which place the total bandwidth eaten by banner ads plus web search engines at around 65% of the Internet's capacity.

    Sending those BSE-rejects into deep space may well be the only hope humanity has of survival. I only hope it's not too late.

    • They need to have all the advertisers and prawnographers deported to the Andromeda Galaxy. That'll improve network capacity by more than enough.

      Yeah, sure. Geeks will rebuild the Internet, but they'll leave all the pr0n behind. Somehow, I doubt this.

      Who paid for the Internet? Taxpayers? HAH! Porn sites have consistantly been the single most profitable enterprise on the Internet, before and after the "Age of the Dot-Com". They are the oldest and most secure method of making money online, and they have the most experience.

      The infrastructure of the Internet is indirectly funded by pornography. Broadband connectivity, streaming video, high compression codecs, etc. all have their roots in pornography. ISP's are more than eager to run fiber for a garunteed-to-be-profitable triple X site. "Web portals" can only dream of the traffic porn sites get. And that traffic requires a lot of hardware and support personnel. These operations, too taboo for the Dow, fund the big players that Wall Street eats up.

      And, amazingly enough, porn site banners are among the most effective, always testing new (and often insidious) ways to attract customers. You want to see how the new Internet is going to work? Check out the way the porn sites are handling the current Internet. (Here's a free hint: a video featuring Britney Spears sucking donkey dong, whether you have it or not, is worth about a gajillion click-throughs.)
  • This article is scary. The author actually says the internet is a dumb network with smart terminals. It's true, the internet itself isn't the most complex thing, but you know what, there's brilliance in that. I think that's why it's so successfull. People like a simple, efficient system that they can use and have some control over.

    The best analogy to this is the highway system, especially in cities. The internet today is like the open road, whereas a tightly controlled network would be like the subway system. Most people prefer the open road, I know I do, unless there's just so much traffic that driving makes no sense at all. Roads are simple, they are pavement with a few signs and lights (routers.) You can put just about any traffic on them, some more annoying than others (like 30-something females standing about 5'2" driving Ford Excursions...) People like to drive because they can control what's going on, or at least they get that feeling. People like to have the internet be simple so that they can enhance it as they prefer, not as some company dictates. The subway on the other hand, it has restricted traffic, subway cars. They only go certain places, but they go there quickly and usually on time. It's very convenient, but only when you need to specifically use the subway, IE go to one of it's specific stops. The range, or scope of the subway is therefore very limited, similarly to the way a coroporate restricted network is.

    Anyway all this babbling is really just me trying to say: please don't change the internet, I like it just fine the way it is, I want to be able to drive, thanks.
    • "The best analogy to this is the highway system, especially in cities. The internet today is like the open road, whereas a tightly controlled network would be like the subway system. Most people prefer the open road, I know I do"

      So it might seem at first glance, but if you dig a little deeper (particularly back into the 1950's - 60's), you will find that the North American road network is pretty tightly controlled by the politicians, and the road builders and real estate developers who fund them. There may be freedom to use the roads, but where the roads go was decided upon by those who stood to reap the most profit, not by "greatest good for greatest number" or by those who used them at the time.

  • by Grokopen ( 35265 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:17PM (#2159761)
    What I am disappointed by is that many people ... both in the business world and outside that world ... can't see the Internet as a social system. What do I mean by a *social system*? Towns are a social system. So are cities, regions, and nations. Families, schools, workplaces, etc., are social systems as well.

    In social systems like cities, regions, etc., mechanisms that allow for commerce and profit-making are A PART of the larger social system. Ie, commerce is a subset of the larger (super-)set of society. Profit-making is one of many things that are a part of social systems. Friendship, education, conflict, cooperation, etc., are also parts that make of a social system.

    The Internet AS IT IS can accomodate commerce. In fact, the freer (in the free speech and not the free beer sense) the exchange of information is ... which you would get in a non-big-business dominated Internet ... the better a social system like the Internet lives up to the idea of a marketplace ... where there is free (again, in the sense of minimal restrictions and not free beer) exchange of goods and services.

    But just as commerce is a subset of other social systems, commerce should be seen as a subset of the Internet as a social system. Commerce should not dominate and become the be all and end all of the Internet. You can't hope to have a vibrant and viable social system like the Internet if it was solely made up of commercial interests.

  • Imagine in how a bunch of people where saying "the phone system that is out there isn't friendly and profitable to business so we need to change it!" Any company that steps out in pulbic and claims this is nutty and so is trying to the same thing to the Internet.

    Companies need to stop treating the Internet like content controled media like TV and Radio. It might be possible for things like AOL and MSN but out on the open Internet? Thats as crazy as checking everyone's phone to make sure they aren't talking about how to download "illegal" mp3s.

    You can make money on the Internet just not the easy way these guys want it to be.
  • The War is coming. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by telbij ( 465356 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:22PM (#2159789)
    I don't think it's a safe assumption that the Internet is not a money-maker and that it fundamentally wants to be free. Certainly we would all like to stick with our traditional Internet values, and enjoy a free and giving 'net.

    Everything that the free Internet does and facilitates is in direct contradiction with our economic ideologies (at least in the US). The rapid rate of technological innovation has our traditional capitalism busting at the seams. The only thing that holds it together is the massive power of corporations working with legislators to promote huge amounts of new legislation that protect companies' rights to make money for anything.

    While this country's ideologies were based on personal freedom, and the separation of church and state, I think that those values are not enough in today's society.

    I think a new world leader is likely to emerge in the centuries ahead with ideologies based on the separation of state and business. Think about it, the free market is a wonderful ECONOMIC tool. It provides unequaled productivity and efficiency. However, it does NOTHING for GOVERNMENT. The government should be there to set down the ground rules, things like environmental protections, and anti-trust laws.

    Corporations as citizens is an alarming concept. It promotes the idea that business has the RIGHT to make as much money as possible. That is utter BS... the free market should dictate how much money can be made, and the government should dictate how far companies can go to sell their products.

    The Internet is a reflection of people's needs to be free and have a realm of expression outside the control of big business. Let companies do what they will to squeeze every cent of profitability out of the Internet. I think the end of American greed-based capitalism is on the wane.
    • Hm... your argument isn't totally consistant. You say that America was founded partly on secular ideals -- that Church and State be seperated. What this means, in both practice and theory, is that the Church (any Church) will not have privileged or systemic influence over the State. As well, the State can not infringe upon the free exercise of religion by Churches.

      You go on to say that centuries down the road, a more enlightened America will decide that similar separation ought to apply to business. Business, after all, being the new Church, should not have privileged or systemic influence over the State. It sounds great on the surface-- "Finally, the Corporate whores^H^H^H^H^H^H Suits at Exxon can no longer install an unelected & curiously unintelligent man as President on their whim!"

      However, even based on your own argumentation, there's a fatal flaw: the State can now no longer infringe on the free exercise of business. At least, if we're keeping up with your analogy in terms of Church and State. In fact, what we've basically accomplished through this wonderful corporate secularism has another name: laissez-faire capitalism.

      Call me confused, but, didn't America try that approach extensively throughout the 19th century? I believe it was Mark Rosenfelder who described those times as: "Filth in our meat, shantytowns, racism, 'No Irish need apply', company towns, union-busting goons, monopolies, corruption scandals, a punishing business cycle, old folks living in poverty, failing banks, Boss Tweed, gunboat diplomacy..."

      I'm not suggesting for a second we're much better off at this present date... but, "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." I suppose it's too much to ask of our enlightened future America to think of the mistakes of the past ;)

      Separation of "business" and State in this manner, as you describe it, is also self-contradictory-- how precisely do you plan on separating the two one the one hand, when we've just gone ahead and given business an unlimited license to act as it pleases on the other? We need to think this through a little more clearly-- we should perhaps start looking at the actual sources of distress and poverty in our society (yea, in our World) and address those issues on a more fundamental level. Perhaps we need to rethink our concepts of economics, of labour, of government-- and build a more free and more fair system from the ground up.

      Just my two cents...


  • Ignorance is Bliss (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    To paraphrase the article 'because the BACKBONE was built to do nothing but shift data, no one can make REAL money doing it, because it is a comodity.'


    The scary part is, changing the basic way in which data moves across the network is in no way going to solve this issue. proponents of MPLS would have you believe otherwise, but the bottom line here is, unless you are going to force consumers to have a dedicated device for all the functions that a PC gives in one box, the edges are not going to get dumb, and let the networks have control over them again. To even suggest that we should go back to an 'appliance' level of sofistication in our technology simply because carriers can not shift thier strategy from the 'network is in control, you are all at my mercy' view is typical of an old time phone codger.

    While this viewpoint is becoming increasingly common amongst telco execs who rode someone elses IP network into the 'internet' business, (after all, we ALL tend to equate the unknown to it's rough equivelant in our known universe), the fact remains, if you want to setup a toll booth on the network, you have to build in the access technologies to control it.

    going back to a 'circuit switched' methodology (which is basicly what MPLS is going to give you) for figuring out how much to bill is not going to save you from the folks that figured out that the core of a network can NOT ever be congested to the point of dropping data, only the edge of the network is. In which case, you need a means to selectivly drop traffic based on whatever metric your marketing droids can come up with.

    Strangly enough, this technology already exists and has been deployed by several of the newer carriers, and at least one of the 'old boys' is moving in the same direction.

    Amazingly, it will not require them to change thier backbones at all, and will enable all those 'extra' services that telco-types point to as the big money makers on the voice business.

    (so this article is basicly an un-informed rant , IMHO)

    Can we translate this into telco terms, so even the densest bell-head 'gets' it? Sure! Just for example (and I know these don't equate 1:1, but this isn't an analogy, so much as an example of how the phone company makes money off you, and how an IP Provider could make the equivalent moneys)

    Personal network based firewall = call waiting
    optional network address translation = outsourced PBX service

    the list is obviously endless of all the applications you can support, if your edge is smart enough to deal with it.
  • From the article: the decentralization of the Internet and thus lack of control by any group of operators promotes its lack of reliability and responsibility.

    Isn't this voice just the kind of thing that Microsoft is drooling for []?

    If Cringely [] is right, then Micro$oft is *just* the company to step up to the plate and make a new internet (TCP/MS) and save us all.

    heh..heh..heh... MicroSoft... "reliability"..."responsibility"... heh...

  • While making the network 'smarter' would enable businesses to control 'quality of service' in a more direct way, this will also fossilize the network just as it is today, and eliminate future development of innovative uses for it.

    Many large businesses have been using dedicated connections to EDI providers such as AT&T which has always used a 'smarter' store-and-forward protocol. The result, has been a charge-per-transaction revenue model that has locked these businesses in over a very long period of time.

    Rather than trying to turn the Internet into a 'smarter' network, I suggest that efforts should focus on building a smarter network in parallel to the Internet, using the same wires, routers, firewalls, etc. That way, when the new network fails to provide some needed flexibility (and it will), developers can fall back on the flexible-but-dumb internet. This will also ensure an upgrade path exists when the smart-but-brittle network needs to be replaced with something else.

    Call this the 'pluggable protocol' model. It also allows for multiple special purpose protocols to operate at the same time. There could be a protocol designed specifically for MMORPGs, for example, that was optimized for minimizing latency.

    The alternatives for future development otherwise are rather poor. Imagine trying to build a peer-to-peer network over EDI. Not pretty.
    • Call this the 'pluggable protocol' model. It also allows for multiple special purpose protocols to operate at the same time. There could be a protocol designed specifically for MMORPGs, for example, that was optimized for minimizing latency.

      Ok, first make it routable. That's IP. (use IP6 if you want it sans cruft).

      Now you need to address a target on the system, by a number perhaps, since you can't just have every process on the target system inspect every packet. You need to be able to send a chunk of data to a process on a system. That'd be UDP.

      Now you need to make sure your data arrives. RDP (TCP's less-talented cousin that died in its crib)

      Now you need to make sure it arrives in order. TCP.

      Just for fun, let's allow people to add arbitrary metadata to a really low level of the protocol by sticking extra headers on the packet. That would be IP6 again.

      And guess what, TCP and UDP don't even have to sit on IP (it's just unlikely they won't). It's a protocol graph, not a straight line stack. In short, it already is pluggable. You just need root to start generating anything below raw IP ... you can try generating your own ethernet frames if you want, but unless you've developed the perfect AI that knows what you really mean with such packets and routes them appropriately, you're going to have a hard time working without some standard platform.

      It seems it's pretty modular and "pluggable" as it is. In fact it was designed that way. Reinventing this particular wheel is not likely to make it rounder.
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:32PM (#2159856)
    I've found a general rule that works pretty well when reading stuff linked from slashdot:

    Never trust any writing that uses the word "consumers"

    This writing is pro-corporate propaganda, written by and for corporate heads. Anyone who only thinks of me or anyone else as a "consumer" is pushing further the idea that people are numbers--whos only purpose is to contribute to the all-important corporation's bottom line.

    Some people may think that this is the way things should be, but many do not.
    Read the article again. Everytime he says that some quality of the Internet is bad, you should read it as "bad for corporations, but good for real people." Read it this way and you'll have an idea of what the article is really about.
      • Never trust any writing that uses the word "consumers"

      Well said. One of the most terrifying propositions that I've seen on /. was that in 10 years, the only package you'll be able to get from ISPs is 10Mb/s downstream, 28.8Kb/s upstream, and everything except port 80 blocked.


    So is Mark Twain. Ok, so he really IS dead now, but he wasn't when he had to make the claim that reports of his death had been greatly exagerated.

    Business wants a profitable internet. Very good. Business can *want* anything they damn well please. That dosn't neccessarily make it so.

    It has been said that the best business is a post office box that people send money to. "Business" wants an internet that transfers all of your assets. . . plus 10%, into the corporate bank account simply because you logged on.

    Business likes to think it has a RIGHT to make money. It dosn't. I has a right to do business and *attempt* to make money. It is up to the *customer* to decide whether a company gets their business. Even then poor managment can blow it and lose. It is an often ignored truism that the most likely time for a small business to fail is when it succeeds! Can anyone out there say "Osborne"?

    I knew you could.

    I have concocted a plan for a business friendly, profitable, internet.

    Offer goods and/or services that customers believe are desirable at a price that they find a good value.

    This is my theory. It is mine. That is why I call it my theory.

    I think that gives me the right to name it. I think I'll call it. . .


  • by Fatal0E ( 230910 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:43PM (#2159918)
    What the net needs are smarter users. It's not the amount of information that traverses it that is important, it's the ability to sift through it with an educated, objective mind. Joe Sixpack needs to be elevated and then you'll really start seeing some happenin things being done with the net (not on it). The way I see it, our kids are gonna lead the revolution that changes the way /.'ers see the net, not us.
  • by sabinm ( 447146 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:46PM (#2159935) Homepage Journal
    Pipe dream. The internet has become so great,(content, bandwidth, revolution), not because of a bunch of college kids sending sex.gif across Arpanet, but because businesses believed that they would ultimately make money off of content and virutal store fronts, they began to beef up the backbone, buy more routers, switches and so forth.

    If they don't see it as a viable option any more, they will pull out of it all.

    The internet (as we know it) will die.

    But that's fine with me.

    That means more people will have to get together to collaborate on projects, you can see your Production lead's reaction when you tell him you created the final killer app.

    That means your boss can no longer fire you through email, and may even have to talk to you.

    That means that geeks cannot be censored in the USA for using free speech. Your computer would remain inviolate and you'd never have to worry about record companies kicking at your door(Could you imagine the Barry Gordy busting down your door for taping the Temptations off the radio onto your tape recorder?)

    .NET Would wither on the vine without capital from foistware over the net in the form of smart tags and MSN selling everything from PDAs to Barco Loungers. The computer would become a WORKstation again

    Geeks would have to actually meet people and set up LAN parties to play those hyper violent games and in consequence, would actually gain a personality

    Our best and brightest would stop trying to get into that niche on the web and begin again to write literature, quality software, develop leadership skills; our generation would not waste their energy on the web, but on worthwhile pursuits.

    Finally, the internet will be as it was before: A forum to exchange ideas and philosophies, and not corporate wet dreams

    • All these pursuits are a concept separate from "the Internet", they are things people do with the Internet. The Internet is a medium which enables certain kinds of expression.

      The Internet is infrastructure, just like roads, as has been mentioned already. The reason society funds roads is because they're multi-purpose and elevate the pursuits of everyone involved. Roads are platform-agnostic (as long as you follow a few simple physical rules, you are ready to rock) as well as purpose-agnostic. It is these two things that make highways so damned useful.

      What's funny about the "Information Superhighway" metaphor is that most people used it (and cracked on it) without really understanding it, but it had the core of the Internet's promise contained in it. To say that the Internet's value was only contained in silly dot-com only businesses is to say that the entire point of the interstate highway system was to create motels and Cracker Barrels. But that isn't true- the value of the highways is realized when you want to go visit your friend in Philadelphia, but you live in Baltimore. It's realized when you have to truck a shipment of goods to another city. You could take ten million tiny little toll roads through a million little municipalities, but that would take forever and be a pain in the ass. No one benefits from that, just like no one benefits from a fragmented, incompatible, gate(s?)-infested Internet. These folks don't want an Internet, they want 65 different Fidonet-alikes. Well, that's not infrastructure.

      The true value of the Internet is when it makes us all more capable, universally. If all goes well, it will become so universal we forget it's even there. That is the promise that TCP/IP has been thus far fulfilling. But if it doesn't go well, it will be as bad a loss as if the interstate highway system had been junked.
  • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @04:48PM (#2159945) Homepage Journal
    ...and that's legislation. Sure, businesses want something geared more towards commerce than communication, and why wouldn't they? They should design and pay for it. But you may have noticed business doesn't like to pay for things it can con citizens into paying for through taxation.

    The danger is in the regulation of the internet. What the business/government alliance will attempt is to regulate the internet via the FCC probably as if it were a broadcast technology. At that point it could be made illegal to have an independent presence on the internet except in little for-the-public preserved zoos of the public access cable variety.

    How will they do this? With the economic threats of piracy and hacking (viruses, worms, site hacking), and with the social threat of terrorism and dangers to "the children." Think the argument that it hasn't destroyed society yet will stave this rhetoric off? Marijuana has been illegal for 70 years in the USA despite a 5000 year history of civilized pharmacological use with no sign of significant negative social impact. Why do we maintain a costly, inneffective and pointless prohibition? Why, it's for "the children."

    Keep a close eye on the government, kids, because they're going to try to steal the internet and give it away same as they stole the digital television spectrum and sold it for chump change in campaign donations from the teevee giants. And we'll all grumble on slashdot (as plug-pullin' day fast approaches) that our beloved dumb-pipe internet ISN'T a broadcast technology, it's a private one-one communication network and all communications over it should be protected just like a telephone conversation. Well it won't make a damn bit of difference any more than the DMCA being a crappy piece of unconstitutional legislation could keep Sklyarov from getting arrested.

    All I can say is when the time comes we better be prepared to do a hell of a lot better job than we did when faced with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

    • I don't mind businesses deciding they want their own casino (with hookers, etc.) but I don't want to pay for it.

      Chances are, given the way things are working out now, I'll have to.

      Socialization of costs and privatization of profit is a macro-level expression of a kid eating a candy bar, then throwing the wrapper on the street because he doesn't want to find a trash can. It expresses the same level of maturity.
  • Well, most businesses didn't want to pay for it before. So why does everyone think businesses want to pay for it now?

    Those that need it can get leased lines and armed guards and attack dogs with laser fangs and nuclear molar juice in case of capture. People have been doing this for years, and it is in fact quite profitable.

    You can't socialize the cost of a network like that. Unless you plan to give it back to society, which is against the religion of these folks.
  • by WolfWithoutAClause ( 162946 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @05:05PM (#2160009) Homepage
    Let's see:

    a) don't have to pay per use of the roads (mostly)
    b) don't have guaranteed quality of service (traffic jams)
    c) can't make money from the roads (unless you are a roadbuilder)
    d) some people make money shipping stuff around though
    e) some people make money building stuff to use the roads
    f) some people make very small amount of money telling you were to find things (map makers)
    g) roads cost tax money to build and run, yet don't directly make ANY money!

    Yeah, and the people who pay for the roads don't usually make money back from them! All these roads are therefore a commercial failure, and we need to privatise all of them so that businesses can make money. It's obvious! How could I have missed it?
    • But can a 13 year old make it impossible for you or anyone else to reach your home by these roads for days or weeks without any significant risk of being caught?
    • You are right up to a point, in the way that people make money off the road system but not *from* the road system.

      Air travel is also a good analogy - it's hard to lay new roads, whereas creating new flights or flying larger planes is relative simple (just like lighting up dark fibre, or creating extra channels on existing fibre with better technology on either end). Also, private companies don't build roads, whereas they do run the airlines and airports to some degree (depending on the country).

      The thing to remember is that if people want the Internet to survive, it will - it's incredibly decentralised. It's not a problem that the Internet's routers may be carrying (a) high-QoS business traffic and (b) digital TV as MPEG2 over IP, as well as (c) today's Internet traffic. IP routers are getting very good at carrying different types of traffic with differing QoS goals - the only impact is that the routers and links are much bigger, and that the (profitable) business and multimedia traffic helps to cross-subsidise the standard Internet type traffic.
  • A little disjointed, but I'm not a writer.

    This is not a choice. The existing internet will be altered to provide greater control to the content providers, leaving you with less control. There will not be an Internet2 that is seperate from this one. I really hope a lot people can realize some important things before it's too late.

    In every New Industry (electricity, cars, etc.), the initial cost of entry is pretty low. As companies grow and become successful, they swallow up the smaller ones and begin to "shore up" their position in the market. They will deliberately do anything to raise the cost of entry for anyone who tries to follow them. That's what Internet2 is really all about. Making it more difficult for a couple of hacks to do they're own thing and be successful. It means small local ISP's won't have access to popular content, which will eventually put them out of business.

    That the internet is dumb with smart terminals favors the individual user. I can do what I want and I don't give a damn what AOL wants to shove down someone elses throat. A smart internet means eventually I will have choice between AOL, Earthlink, or MSN. I'm actually surprised at my own anger and frustration regarding the direction the world seems to be moving.

    The attack is on several fronts. So many /. articles seem to be different topics but they all boil down to the same thing don't they?

    No one has a right to make a profit from the Internet. It's just fine the way it is, and the big Corporations already make enough money.
  • Boy, I hate it when somebody starts with utter BS: "What began as a deliberately decentralized network to promote the exchange of research ideas and data became a poor network for commercial applications. "

    That's was NOT the intent of the work at all. It was a scalable communication network designed to survive even massive disruption caused by nuclear war.

    The web was designed to provide a means of interactively linking documents and references.

    What business wants was entirely immaterial as they were were too busy saying it wouldn't work or utterly, nonchalantly not involved.

    What they want now is a seperate, secure network. Authentication, and commercial traffic in total security.

    But they keep skimping on the basics so they are victims of M$ security hole exploiters.

    The sooner they wake up to the fact that the "Internet Worms," viri and other parasites that are gibing their pocket books the runs, the better off we will ALL be.
  • by scotpurl ( 28825 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @05:13PM (#2160048)
    What Big Biz really desires here is pay-per-byte.

    The real thing with this quality of service is that major content providers will be able to strike deals with backbone providers. Select content providers will see faster, guaranteed access for people consuming their content, and smaller content providers, who can not afford to bribe backbone providers, will see small and dismal access rates. Gigabit+ speed if I'm visiting, 300 baud if I'm visiting The ultimate killing machine for small businesses, and the guarantee of the end of competition.

    The guarantee of access and speed (via Cisco's slick new routers) will allow moneyed monopolies to create even greater monopolies on the Internet. Limiting access speed is an effective method preventing consumption.

    You can have your poorer competing product, but only at the rate that the richest competitor allows you to consume it. Thus the monopoly controls not just what you consume, but it also controls how you consume competing products.
  • We have heard these articles talking about how the internet would become more "intelligent" (read: feature-rich and expensive) for years. But it has never happened. Why? Very simple: people would rather have speed than features such as QoS that an intelligent network would provide.

    As long as this simple fact stays true, and I see no reason why it won't, this guy's vision will remain a pipe dream. Think of it this way: would you pay extra for FancyNet? Didn't think so.

  • by Inspector ( 38755 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @05:55PM (#2160225)
    With the network getting more intelligent, high-quality end-to-end connections become a possibility. Workable consumer and business broadband services could result, although the capacity constraint remains. Such services would not require a universal operating system and associated software understandable by all the end-users, rather it would be more efficient to design the link-up and download software independently for each application.

    I love it when people don't do their research. This guy has just thrown the whole idea of a protocol stack out the window, and with it the whole spirit of a content agnostic/packet switched network.

    To get the real message here, we have to replace every instance of the term "intelligent network" with "telephony network". So we see that what the businesses really want, is a high bandwidth telephony network.

    He even mentions the fact that changing the network paradigm doesn't defeat the real problem:

    With the network getting more intelligent [telephony like], high-quality end-to-end connections become a possibility. Workable consumer and business broadband services could result, although the capacity constraint remains.

    What these people want, is a high bandwidth, application aware telephony network, for which consumers must not only pay connection/duration fees, but for which consumers must also buy many pieces of application specific hardware.

    So as usual, instead of more education, we get more profits..

    • To get the real message here, we have to replace every instance of the term "intelligent network" with "telephony network". So we see that what the businesses really want, is a high bandwidth telephony network.

      And that's almost what we got. The ISO protocol suite with X.25, requiring all kinds of telephony switching infrastructure all the way down, restricting networking pretty much to remote access, almost won over TCP/IP. And it wasn't the dirty Yankees, it was the PTT monopolies of Europe collaborating with ECMA, shoving it through ISO and marketing it heavily at the US. Michael Padlipsky did a wonderful job advocating for TCP/IP with RFC's 871, 873, and 874. One of my favorites from him was when he was speculating as to why ECMA was pushing for such an inefficient CPU-intense protocol stack: ```... the "M", recall, is for "Manufacturers"''

      I doubt TCP/IP is going away. Ever dial 10-10-321 or any other 10-10 service? All IP telephony. Telcos are investing billions into IP networks, and they'll sell it to anyone with money to burn. They have everything to lose by tossing that out. And until they can figure out a way to make one-way wires, DSL and cable are still going to enjoy upstream speed too (people do send attachments and such).

      Now they may try to filter out everything not using their proprietary software, but I don't think the government for example would like its purchasing list for email and other communication software circumscribed like that, so it'd only happen at that all-important Last Mile. Watch that space closely and don't take shit when they start restricting it -- complain loud and long to them, not just slashdot.
  • The design of the internet was intended to be a network that would resist control and failure caused by an enemy. Interesting how what was perceived as an enemy in the 1970's and early 1980's (the other side's military) is quite different from what is considered the enemy in the late 1990's and 2000's (ubergreedy capitalists intent on controlling information for profit purposes).

  • I don't get this. Everyone is talking about QoS like it's the fifth sign of the apocalypse, but isn't it part of the IPv6 spec?

    Is all this dark talk of a new, separate internet simply a reflection of the fact that IPv6 is a good idea for everyone?

    Fuck, I want QoS. I want a static ip address. I want multicasting. I want to run a million-listener radio station over a 128 k uplink.

    Maybe businesses should be focusing their attentions on Microsoft and the infrastructure folks who are holding us back. . .
  • "By contrast, the telecom network is the opposite: a smart network with dumb terminals. The intelligence and thus control of the network is contained in the switching technology, allowing the operator to ensure and contract a given quality of service. This allowed the pre-breakup AT&T to promote their famous "Five 9s" performance, 99.999% reliability. The ability to control access and routing also allowed higher margins, and thus profitability, despite the high startup costs."

    How does seting up a monopoly help the general consumer? Yes, ATT would love to have a private Internet, but the end user gets the shaft. I think the author of this article was a little myopic (ohh I actualy used a word I learned in ECON101). The Internet is something you need to look at from a macroeconomic level. 95% of the worlds population could care less about the share price of M$,ATT, and AOL.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry