Re: [aqm] the cisco pie patent and IETF IPR filing

Dave Taht <> Thu, 09 April 2015 19:24 UTC

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Date: Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:24:03 -0700
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From: Dave Taht <>
To: Greg Skinner <>, bloat <>
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Cc: Vishal Misra <>, "" <>
Subject: Re: [aqm] the cisco pie patent and IETF IPR filing
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On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 11:51 PM, Greg Skinner <> wrote:
> Sorry I haven’t had a chance to comment on this until now.  Also, I’m not on the bloat list, but you may copy any responses to me there, if you wish.
> I was thinking perhaps another approach to spreading the word could be presenting talks at conferences aimed at CIOs and CTOs.  They are generally interested in saving money and getting better performance from equipment that’s already in use.  The algorithms and techniques discussed here do that.

I agree that we are more ready to talk to those sorts of folk now.
However I personally am tired of travelling and talking and would
prefer someone else(es) be "Speaker-to-CTOs", and get all the airline
miles, fame and fortune for a while, maybe getting in some golf time
as well.

I would really LOVE it if more people here gave talks and attended
conferences, user group meetings, etc.

A problem here is a lot of people take our bufferbloat-beating
algorithms as someone selling yet another form of snake oil - and it
is worse - here, we are not making snake oil - we are *giving it away*
- and if it doesn't work, you can have your money back! I have had to
go to sceptic´s houses and install the software, after doing a
measurement, and forcing our tools on to j.random persons laptops, in
order to make the points we make. That does not scale, although it
usually turns a skeptic into an enthusiastic supporter.

I expended the majority of my budget on travel in the first few years,
primarily to find and talk to experts in the field, to make sure we
were not going to break the internet. I am pretty sure the Internet
will be less broken with more of our stuff in play, than not, now.

A concern to me, in finding a "Speaker-to-CTOs" is to find someone who
can present the solutions in a way even more neutrally than I do, and
yet convince people to actually go deploy them. I make no bones (these
days!) about how I feel that fq + aqm + ecn (fq_codel´s default mode)
is safe to deploy, for example, and there are many people here that
disagree with me, thinking that aqm + ecn alone is safe to deploy, and
obviously I promote fq_codel derived stuff on routers (and sch_fq on
well protected servers), far more than pie, although I am careful to
maintain that I can´t wait to see pie (without ecn) on cablemodems one
day RSN.

I have NO idea to what extent a product having or not having a given
shaping/fq/aqm algorithm could be used as a sales tool for people
selling it, and actually selling something that worked would be a big
motivator for some future speaker to chase after the CTO/CIO/CEOs at
their conferences. Certainly ubnt´s customers are digging it...

>Getting sysadmins or netadmins to make config changes to enable the sysctl settings and/or upgrade kernels (in production) might be more difficult, because they don’t always have the authority to make these types of changes, even though they have the privileges.

In the good ole days sysadmins were eager to do anything they could to
improve network behavior and connectivity, and did not have to filter
every decision through management, a lawyer, and an accountant.

Recently at the NZNOG conference there was a whole session where
provider after provider announced their AS number and willingness to
peer with anybody. I nearly had to wipe away tears of remembered joy
for the good ole days where we cared more about connectivity and good
service rather than anything else.

In the general case, strategically, I have preferred to work bottom up
rather than top down, and to accumulate enough operational experience
to then be able to approach top management with a fait accompli (it is
easier to ask for forgiveness than permission) and permission to go
full scale on a rollout with results in hand.

This strategy is sort of working in multiple places, notably google
uses this approach effectively (and distros like openwrt,,
etc, fedora 22 and anything running systemd without patches, like
arch, all defaulting to fq_codel rather than pfifo_fast now!).

There are several target audiences:

A) hardware makers: I would like it if more firewall makers like
barracuda were paying attention, and we had something that worked on
pfsense. As happy as I am about ubnt´s enthusiastic support for
fq_codel, there has not been a peep from multiple other places.
B) Chip designers: Here, aside from whatever is going on with
streamboost at qca, I am not sure if anyone is paying attention.
C) China: Folk making gear there, notably EEs, would benefit from more
awareness. I long for a good bufferbloat talk or article written in
multiple other languages, including the main ones there, japanese, and
D) Big web service providers and CDN folk - where sch_fq is
potentially a big deal (being as it is so popular already)
E) IT staffs in general - nanog has an upcoming conference that would
be good to have a talk at.
F) VOIP and webrtc service providers - here we made a huge dent
already in the asterisk and freeswitch communities. I was asked to do
a followup at the next cluecon, but as I will be out of the country -
if anyone would like to give a talk there please contact me offlist.
G) Load balancer makers. There is some sign that F5 is paying
attention, at least, but what others are doing here is unknown.

And way too many conferences to attend.

> But a CIO or CTO has the authority to request that these types of changes be made permanent, especially if it improves the bottom line.

I agree that we need to start talking to more of these folk, at a
level they can understand, with arguments that involve saving money
with better, faster, less latent networks.

> —gregbo
>> On Mar 5, 2015, at 5:58 AM, Dave Taht <> wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 12:17 AM, Vishal Misra <> wrote:
>>> Hi Dave,
>>> Thanks for your email. A few quick points:
>>> - I have actually sent a note already to someone on the Cisco PIE team
>>> about the error in the IETF IPR filing and am sure they will get it
>>> corrected. You have helpfully dug out the actual patent application
>>> and it appears that one digit got inadvertently changed in the Cisco
>>> IETF IPR declaration of the patent application.
>>> - I wish I had a "marketing department" that would do stories for me
>>> :-). I work at Columbia University and that story that you point out
>>> was done by a writer at the UMass-Amherst engineering school as an
>>> example of academic research having practical impact. There is an
>>> urgent need to support more academic research and I think stories like
>>> this one support the cause.
>> Well, yes and no. One thing I have tried really hard to do throughout
>> this project is give credit where credit is due, at every talk for
>> example, always mentioning pie, even before I actually had any data on
>> it's performance.- I try to give every individual that has contributed
>> something to this "stone soup" project, as here at uknof -
>> praise - for what they did to help out. There have been an amazing
>> level of details to sort out along the way here at every level in the
>> OS stack, and in the hardware and there is simply no one individual or
>> company I would single out as truly key, except maybe George P.
>> Burdell!
>> A lesson I have learned is that folk in marketing are not particularly
>> good at correctly distributing credit, and I assume that is how they
>> are taught to write, to not look at any facts outside of their
>> immediate objectives. [1]
>> and 'course nobody in the press has shown up with a photographer to
>> write puff pieces about the overall effort except, well, cringely's
>> work is not puffy enough by marketing standards:  (
>> )
>> I admit to a great deal of frustration when nick weaver writes an
>> otherwise *excellent* piece in forbes,
>> and expends 3+ paragraphs explaining bufferbloat, but never gives the
>> reader a link back *to the word* so that maybe, some CTO or CEO that
>> reads that rag would have some context and clue when an engineer comes
>> up to him asking for permission to go implement a fix that is now,
>> basically, off the shelf.
>> *I* am going to keep giving credit to everyone I can, in every talk
>> and presentation I do, and there are quite a few core contributors
>> that I wish I had called out by name more - for example, I would have
>> mentioned felix feitkau's contribution towards fixing wifi at the
>> nznog talk if I could correctly pronounce his name! I struggled for
>> years to be able to pronounce juliusz's!
>> At the very least, I hope we can do more from a SEO perspective - and
>> all *pull together* to get the message out - that bufferbloat is
>> fixed, that solutions are being standardized in the ietf, and the code
>> is widely available on a ton of platforms already - and move to
>> somehow get to where ISPs are announcing settings for things like
>> openwrt + sqm-scripts, and more importantly - schedules for rolling
>> out fixes (like docsis 3.1 and better CPE) to their customers.
>> everyone:
>> What else more can we do here to cross the chasm?
>>> - Indeed neither me nor any of the other PI authors had any idea of
>>> the PIE work. I discovered it accidentally when I was at MIT giving a
>>> talk on Network Neutrality and Dave Clark mentioned Cisco's PIE and
>>> DOCSIS 3.1 to me. I later read up on PIE and was pleasantly surprised
>>> that our PI work from more than a decade back evolved into it.
>>> - I had contributed the PI code to Sally Floyd back in 2001 and it has
>>> been part of ns2 for the longest time ( It shouldn't be
>>> difficult to adapt that for a Linux implementation and I am happy to
>>> help anyone who wishes to try it. Maybe that might affect your loyalty
>>> to fq_codel.
>> I let the data take me where it may. I (not) always have, but reformed
>> about 15 years ago. [1] I hope that you and your students also,  do
>> some experiments on the successors to PI and RED and DRR - and also
>> follow the data where-ever it leads you.
>> I was fiercely proud of sfqred - until fq_codel blew it away on every
>> benchmark I could devise. I have long longed to find another
>> independent expert in the field to create new experiments and/or
>> recreate/reproduce/disprove our results.
>> [1] "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over
>> public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. " - Richard P. Feyman,
>> Challenger Disaster report:
>>> -Vishal
>>> --
>>>> On Mar 4, 2015, at 1:07 AM, Dave Taht <> wrote:
>>>> Two items:
>>>> A) The IETF IPR filing points
>>>> to the wrong patent: 13/874,500. A google search for that patent
>>>> number brings up"
>>>> It is ironically relevant to the discussions at hand, as that one concerns:
>>>> Abstract:
>>>> "Provided are methods of increasing the tolerance of a plant to
>>>> abiotic stresses and/or increasing the biomass and/or increasing the
>>>> yield of a plant by expressing within the plant an exogenous
>>>> polynucleotide homologous to SEQ ID NO:13."
>>>> ... As I consider myself a near-vegetable, and am 40 pounds heavier,
>>>> and not responding particularly well to antibiotics, after
>>>> participating for the past several years on all the ietf mailing lists
>>>> I just got off of. I am sure that upon acceptance of pie in the ietf,
>>>> that making that particular patent more generally available for all to
>>>> use would probably have similar effects on others.
>>>> The correct patent number for PIE, 13/874,600, is here:
>>>> I would appreciate that the IPR filing be corrected.
>>>> In the meantime, here's some more great NSFW george carlin routines!
>>>> B) Vishal Misra (author of PI) gave me pointers to his PI papers
>>>> recently (and he had NO idea at all his work was used for pie! - he
>>>> got his marketing department to issue a press release about it:
>>>> )
>>>> I usually have a pretty strict policy about never reading patents, but
>>>> I read all those papers [1], and both! patents above. I had not fully
>>>> realized that the PI-AQM work went as far back as 2001. The PI update
>>>> equation and the PIE update equation, look pretty darn similar, just
>>>> the meanings of two variables, changed.
>>>> C) I am kind of curious if any working code for the original PI
>>>> algorithm exists for linux?
>>>> D) oh, never mind, I will blog about the rest one day.
>>>> [1] still prefer fq_codel.
>>>> --
>>>> Dave Täht
>>>> Let's make wifi fast, less jittery and reliable again!
>> --
>> Dave Täht
>> Let's make wifi fast, less jittery and reliable again!

Dave Täht
Open Networking needs **Open Source Hardware**