Re: Last Call: Modern Global Standards Paradigm

Dave Crocker <> Sat, 11 August 2012 15:11 UTC

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Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2012 08:11:14 -0700
From: Dave Crocker <>
Organization: Brandenburg InternetWorking
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On 8/11/2012 7:56 AM, John C Klensin wrote:
>      I don't think the facts support "TCP/IP in the
> market killed OSI" except in a vary narrow sense.  It would be
> much more accurate to say that OSI self-destructed and the
> TCP/IP was then available as a working technology that satisfied
> most of the relevant requirements.

Not really.

In much of the world, OSI created the market demand for open systems. 
And yes, TCP/IP filled it when OSI couldn't.  (In the late 80s, 25% of 
my TCP/IP product revenue was from Europe, including the IT department 
at ISO...)

However had there been no TCP/IP, the OSI folks would have had to find a 
way to make their stuff work.  While we like to think that original 
design decisions for OSI are what killed it, there's plenty of 
experience showing that really bad designs can be made viable, given 
enough effort.[1]

The underlying problems with OSI design made success for OSI massively 
more difficult.  However failure would not have been allowed had they 
been the only game in town.

The presence of a viable and -- ahem -- superior alternative to OSI is 
what finally killed it, by diverting market interest to the alternative.


[1] The IETF-based characterization of this was by Marshall Rose:  With 
enough thrust, pigs /can/ fly.

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking