Re: BitTorrent (Was: Re: [Isms] ISMS charter broken- onus should be on WG to fix it)

Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org> Thu, 15 September 2005 21:10 UTC

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Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 14:09:26 -0700
To: Michael Thomas <mat@cisco.com>
From: Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org>
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Subject: Re: BitTorrent (Was: Re: [Isms] ISMS charter broken- onus should be on WG to fix it)
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At 1:50 PM -0700 9/15/05, Michael Thomas wrote:
>Always the risk when one is being flippant, but I only
>meant that the world outside of ietf seems to be taking
>on a lot of these issues without ietf's advice and consent.

Fully agree.

>>In this case, there is no advantage to the developer of the 
>>protocol to have it worked on in the IETF, nor even published as an 
>>RFC. It came out of one person's head, he was able to experiment 
>>with it live on the net, and he retains the ability to tweak the 
>>specs whenever he feels like it. It has worked remarkably well, 
>>given the variety of clients and servers available for the 
>>protocol, and the huge amount of traffic that is moved daily over 
>>it.
>
>Which is pretty much the elephant in the room, I'd say. How
>much of the net traffic these days is, essentially, not in
>any way standardized, and in fact probably considers ietf
>old and in the way?

Not sure why this is an elephant; who cares? I have seen numbers that 
show that a huge percentage of traffic is P2P of various flavors, but 
I haven't seen anyone saying that this is having any negative 
effects. BitTorrent in specific spreads out the traffic by making 
many receivers senders as well, so the traffic isn't all concentrated 
on one point. Many music traders (such as myself) leave the torrent 
running after we have gotten all the content because that helps 
reduce the load on the originator so he/she can originate more music, 
and because we have spare bandwidth. The fact that this helps spread 
the load on the Internet is nice, but probably not important to 99% 
of traders.

(Right about now, someone from Japan or Korea should hop in and talk 
about the rampant television show trading that I have heard so much 
about there.)

>I'll note that many protocols -- good and bad -- spring from
>somebody's head. Some of them become successful too. Very
>successful. And ietf has no say about them at all. Is this
>the new reality?

It is a new reality, not the new reality. We still create lots of 
important new things here, and lots of folks still come to us to ask 
us to do more. New data formats (or rehashed old data formats) seem 
to be happening more outside the IETF, although Atom 1.0 has 
certainly garnered its share of publicity. But for layer 7 protocols, 
file sharing may be the only major market that has wholly ignored the 
IETF.

>Sure seems like it to me. Should we be
>concerned?

Nope.

>Might there be film at 11 at some point because
>of it?

Yes, if one that has bad congestion control becomes popular. But, 
given the mindshare of BitTorrent these past few years, that seems 
pretty unlikely.

--Paul Hoffman, Director
--VPN Consortium

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