Network visibility

Michael Thomas mike at
Wed Oct 20 20:09:37 UTC 2021

On 10/20/21 12:38 PM, james.cutler at wrote:
> I don’t remember hearing about IP for VAX/VMS 2.4, but I was part of a 
> group at Intel in 1981 looking at ARPAnet for moving designer tools 
> and design files as an alternate to leased bandwidth from $TELCOs 
> using DECnet and BiSync HASP. The costs of switching from 56 Kbps to 
> ARPAnet’s 50 Kbps convinced us to wait. Clearly, private demand drove 
> the subsequent transition as the TCP/IP stack became effectively free.

I'm not sure how we heard and got a copy of the CMU IP stack, but it was 
probably Mark Reinhold who now owns Java. It was definitely after 1981 
and definitely before 1985, probably somewhere in the middle. Just the 
fact that we could get such a thing was sort of remarkable in those 
early days, and especially for VMS which was, I won't say hostile, but 
had their own ideas. I don't know when early routing came about but DEC 
charged extra for routing for DECNet, so that was yet another reason IP 
was interesting is that it took little investment to check it all out.

>  I miss DECUS, but not DELNIs.

Yeah, I miss DECUS too. I remember one plenary when somebody asked when 
the VAX would support the full 4G address space to laughs and guffaws 
from panel.


> -
> James R. Cutler - james.cutler at
> GPG keys: hkps://
> cell 734-673-5462
>> On Oct 20, 2021, at 3:09 PM, Michael Thomas <mike at> wrote:
>> I think the issuing of rfc 791 was much more important than the flag 
>> day. ARPAnet was a tiny, tiny universe but there were a lot of people 
>> interested in networking at the time wondering what to do with our 
>> neat new DEUNA and DEQNA adapters. There was tons of interest in all 
>> of the various protocols coming out around then because nobody knew 
>> what was going to win, or whether there would be *a* winner at all. 
>> Being able to get a spec to write to was pretty novel at the time 
>> because all of the rest of them were proprietary so you had to 
>> reverse engineer them for the most part. It may be that alone that 
>> pushed IP along well before the public could hook up to the Internet. 
>> We had lots of customers asking for IP protocols in the mid to late 
>> 80's and I can guarantee you most weren't part of the Internet. They 
>> were using IP as the interoperating system glue on their own networks.
>> Also: the flag day was pretty much an example of how not to do a 
>> transition. as in, let's not do that again.
>> Mike, trying to remember when CMU shipped their first version of 
>> their IP stack for VMS
>> On 10/20/21 11:47 AM, Miles Fidelman wrote:
>>> Since we seem to be getting pedantic...
>>> There's "The (capital I) Internet" - which, most date to the flag 
>>> day, and the "Public Internet" (the Internet after policies changed 
>>> and allowed commercial & public use over the NSFnet backbone - in 
>>> 1992f, as I recall).
>>> Then there's the more general notion of "internetworking" - of which 
>>> there was a considerable amount of experimental work going on, in 
>>> parallel with TCP/IP.  And of (small i) "internets" - essentially 
>>> any Catenet style network-of-networks.
>>> Miles Fidelman
>>> Mel Beckman wrote:
>>>> Michael,
>>>> “Looking into” isn’t “is” :)
>>>>  -mel
>>>>> On Oct 20, 2021, at 10:39 AM, Michael Thomas <mike at> wrote:
>>>>> On 10/20/21 8:26 AM, Mel Beckman wrote:
>>>>>> Mark,
>>>>>> As long as we’re being pedantic, January 1, 1983 is considered 
>>>>>> the official birthday of the Internet, when TCP/IP first let 
>>>>>> different kinds of computers on different networks talk to each 
>>>>>> other.
>>>>>> It’s 2021, hence the Internet is /less/ than, not more than, 40 
>>>>>> years old.  Given your mathematical skills, I put no stock in 
>>>>>> your claim that we still can’t “buy an NMS that just works.” :)
>>>>> Pedantically, IP is 40 years old as of last month. What you're 
>>>>> talking about is the flag day. People including myself were 
>>>>> looking into internet protocols well before the flag day.
>>>>> Mike
>>> -- 
>>> In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
>>> In practice, there is.  .... Yogi Berra
>>> Theory is when you know everything but nothing works.
>>> Practice is when everything works but no one knows why.
>>> In our lab, theory and practice are combined:
>>> nothing works and no one knows why.  ... unknown
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