Thursday, June 01, 2006

Q&A: Sun's Radia Perlman speaks out on being stuck with IP, new life for spanning tree and her answer to data security: the ephemerizer - Network Worl

"Now, bridging was never intended to do that: it was kind of a hack because people at the time were all confused about what Layer 3 was and they thought Ethernet was a competitor to DECnet. With bridges we did such a good job and it was so plug-and-play that you didn’t have to think about them, so people are still taking large networks and doing bridges. As it turns out people kind of believed IP must have been the best protocol ever because it just took over the world (just like English must be the best language ever because it's going to take over the world, but no, it has nothing to do with how good a language it is).

DECnet would have been a much better protocol for the world to have adopted. It had a lot of advantages, like a larger address space (We're still talking about will IPv6 ever happen and if it does, there's nothing better about it than what we could have had 15 years ago). One of the advantages DECnet had was the ability to have a whole campus that was zero-configuration, that all had the same prefix , and you didn’t have to divvy up your address space for every link like IP does. But given that companies didn't go in that direction they're using bridging, which is inherently more fragile, especially when you take that notion and try to make it more responsive by doing all these things that involve lots of configuration. If you get the configuration wrong things can melt down. You shouldn’t be stressing it really hard."

Yet another DEC thing that was better than what we ended up with...

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