Re: [apps-discuss] IETF technical plenary: the end of application protocols

Pete Resnick <> Tue, 22 March 2011 03:46 UTC

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Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 22:48:20 -0500
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Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] IETF technical plenary: the end of application protocols
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On 3/21/11 9:31 AM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
> Folks,
> I just saw the announcement for the Technical Plenary presentation.
I sent this to the IAB a few weeks ago. We haven't had much conversation 
(they responded, but the firehose of stuff before the IETF meeting kept 
me from replying until recently), but I thought you all would be amused.

-------- Original Message --------
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 16:53:21 -0600
From: Pete Resnick <>
To: <>
Subject: IAB Technical Session
CC: "'The IESG'" <>

[Feel free to forward this as you see fit.]

Dear IAB,

You will probably find it unsurprising that I find the abstract of the 
technical session at the IAB plenary to be completely unadulterated 
rubbish. It is by no means the "advancement in the design of web 
browsers" nor the "widespread availability and growing sophistication of 
JavaScript interpreters in browsers" that has changed the architecture 
of applications. Quite the contrary, it is the forcing of a particular 
application paradigm, that of requiring all applications to be 
client-server based with all intelligence based in the server, that has 
in turn forced Javascript sophistication to increase to accommodate 
complex application logic inside the browser. (Indeed, it is this force 
that has led to HyBi, the abomination whereby browser-based 
applications, instead of being able to simply open a TCP connection, are 
forced to go through an HTTP tunnel to the web server in order to get 
any kind of network connectivity.) Protocols like POP and IMAP are not 
being subsumed into these systems. Rather, the semantics of these 
protocols are being dumbed down, eliminating functionality, in order to 
allow them to fit into the new constrained environment.

There are two obvious drivers of this evolution: First and foremost is 
the continuing lack of end-to-end connectivity in the network. This is 
due to the presence of NATs and assorted firewall nonsense that makes 
non-tunneled applications harder and harder to deploy. But the second 
driving force is the more insidious one: economics. The economics of the 
Internet are currently being driven by big players consolidating the 
network, pushing as much as they can into servers so that they can 
control both the data and the user experience for applications on the 
Internet. This of course is not in the interest of end users, except 
insofar as the "big players" are end users with large economic 
interests. The more centralized the data becomes, the more dependent 
users are on the "big players", the less innovation in applications can 
take place, and the less stable the Internet is as a whole.

This is not a state of affairs in which we need to "identify areas where 
the standardization is unlikely to be relevant in the future, and focus 
our efforts on those areas where our application designs will remain 
impactful." Rather, we need to do what we can with tools we are 
currently developing (the deployment of IPv6, the use of MPTCP and other 
protocols which allow us to route around the damage to the end-to-end 
model) to combat this model and have the Internet remain a distributed 
end-to-end network.

Back to La Mancha. I've been noticing these windmills....


Pete Resnick<>
Qualcomm Incorporated - Direct phone: (858)651-4478, Fax: (858)651-1102