Re: [Pppext] Future of the PPP WG

Glen Zorn <> Sun, 11 September 2011 16:14 UTC

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Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2011 23:16:02 +0700
From: Glen Zorn <>
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To: Vernon Schryver <>
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Subject: Re: [Pppext] Future of the PPP WG
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On 9/11/2011 9:22 PM, Vernon Schryver wrote:

>> From: Glen Zorn <>
>> Well, this is all good fun, in a US/Euro-centric kind of way, but it
>> would be good to remember that in a very large part of the world our
>> "theme song" is a still a vital part of the Internet & is likely to
>> remain so for a considerable period of time.  This email will make the
>> first hop of its journey over (the much maligned) PPPoE, for example;
>> not everybody lives in advanced countries such as S. Korea (the
>> connectivity of which should make both the French and Americans hang
>> their heads in shame).  In short, PPP is far from obsolete.
> I don't think the thrust of that claim is entirely accurate.  

Upon what do you base that claim?

> Do people
> outside advanced countries use dialup modems or wireless?  

I won't claim to know what _all_ the people outside technologically
advanced countries use (I'll just leave that to you ;-).  However, here
in Thailand, in Cambodia and Laos lots of people have still use dial-up
(though they may be using a mobile phone as a modem).

> Have you
> noticed the lack of modems and serial ports on modern portable computers?

Actually, no: the last one I bought (~6 months ago) had a built-in modem
and an Ethernet port.  My new Android tablet has only Bluetooth & WiFi,
but it's really more of a phone than a computer IMHO.

> That you can still buy a USB modem doesn't make PPP less obsolete than
> floppy disks.  Last month I bought a USB modem so that I can dial with
> my new portable, but that is mostly sign of my failure to move with
> the times.  The salesman wasn't clear about what I wanted, and I didn't
> find a lot of choices.  Somewhere I also have a USB floppy drive.
> How would reissuing PPP RFCs with new security boilerplate help
> anyone except the authors of the new RFCs?  What would people working
> on PPP code do differently if the PPP RFCs had modern security
> sections?  How many people are working on implementations of PPPoE
> or any other flavor of PPP code?

Chill out, Vern, I'm not suggesting that our esteemed Chair's idea is
anything like a good one; I was merely responding to I perceived as the
rather patronizing tone of the emails in question.

> If moving the never deployed PPP RFCs to Historic and reissuing the
> rest with new security sections were all that would happen, it would
> be only a dubious effort.  But there would be irresistible pressures
> to to fix CHAP, MP, and even IPCP.  The replacements, delivered after
> years of wrangling (and no implementations), would be as ill considered
> as PAP, PPPoE, and the recently proposed IS-IS security fix.  If against
> all likelihood they were eventually deployed, they'd be discovered to
> be as insecure as many of the wireless security schemes and cause
> interoperabilty problems as the PPPoE MTU still does.
> The primary defense against those "improvements" would the fact
> that no one (especially not the new RFC authors) would implement
> them and fewer would deploy them.
> Once upon a time, the IETF produced protocols to fill clear and
> present user needs and demands.  Ostensibly fixing PPP with new
> security words is the sort of idle hands standards committee
> exercise that destroyed the ISO OSI protocol suite.
> Vernon Schryver
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