The Internet Is An Engineering Construct (was: Re: ICANN to allow commercial gTLDs)

Jay Ashworth jra at
Mon Jun 20 00:18:04 UTC 2011

---- Original Message -----
> From: "Owen DeLong" <owen at>

> OTOH, I can easily see $COMPANY deciding that $RFC is not in their
> best interests and find the http://microsoft construct not at all
> unlikely.
> I realize that no responsible software vendor would ever deliberately
> do something insecure or contrary to a security-oriented RFC, but,
> history has shown that not all software vendors are responsible.
> Now imagine the number of corporate IT departments that can't
> even spell RFC, but, they run web servers and DNS servers...
> Yeah, under the coming circumstances, the expectation that said 3-digit
> RFC will remain anything more than a novel collection of bits on an
> FTP server somewhere is, well, optimistic at best.

And here is where it all comes off the rails.

Done anyone here know *why* Interstate-grade highways are designed to the
standards they are?  Those standards have evolved markedly over the last
50 years or so, to the point were at today.  And those things cost a
megabuck a mile, or more.  Why?

Let's not always see the same hands.

Of course: it's because if those engineers get things wrong: people die.

Well, guess what, folks?

That's true for us, now, too.  I don't think it's even melodramatic to 
say that we have a pretty good handle on exactly what things are bad to 
do when furthering the design of the Internet at large, and that if we
*do those things*... Really Bad Things will happen.

I have said for nearly 30 years now that The Internet Is An Engineering
Construct, and that should and must restrain us from doing stupid things
to and with it, regardless of how much money they'll make someone.

When you combine that with someone's famous observation that the Internet
is man's only technological achievement where a single character 
typographical error in a server on the other side of the world that you 
don't even know exists can take your entire network down (which, these
days, may mean "put your company out of business"), well, then...

we would seem to be hooved not merely to roll our eyes and say "well,
the suits will play, and they write the checks".

That doesn't happen in the paved road business because (are you ready 
for this?) *the Government sets the standards*.  I don't think I'm the
first person to say -- even on NANOG -- that we'd better get our shit 
together before they start doing it for us...

but we'd better get our shit together, before they start doing it for us.

We now return you to Silly Sunday.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                  Baylink                       jra at
Designer                     The Things I Think                       RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates         2000 Land Rover DII
St Petersburg FL USA             +1 727 647 1274

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