Re: Reminder: WGLC Announcement for draft-ietf-tsvwg-iana-ports-08- 26th November 2010

"t.petch" <> Fri, 03 December 2010 16:02 UTC

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From: "t.petch" <>
To: Eliot Lear <>
References: <><p06240827c9108fb7d7f0@[]><><p0624089fc912ec9557a7@[]><> <><> <>
Subject: Re: Reminder: WGLC Announcement for draft-ietf-tsvwg-iana-ports-08- 26th November 2010
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:44:09 +0100
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Eliot Lear" <>
To: "Lars Eggert" <>
Cc: "Magnus Westerlund" <>; "Paul Hoffman"
<>; "tsvwg WG" <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 1:50 PM
> On 12/1/10 12:05 PM, Lars Eggert wrote:
> > On 2010-12-1, at 12:36, Eliot Lear wrote:
> >> As I recall, though, nobody really had a problem with dropping the
> >> distinction.  It's only there in some UNIX flavors; and the only real
> >> issue is on multi-user systems where the port could conceivably be
> >> grabbed by someone.  Realistically, that's not a concern because if it's
> >> important, there is something listening from start-up.
> > "only some Unix flavors" is severely understating the issue. I just tried
MacOS, FreeBSD and Ubuntu Linux, and none of them let user process bind to ports
below 1024.
> There are other varients that have either done away with the distinction
> or provided a richer port interface.
> > I agree with you that the reasons for having separate port ranges are bogus,
but the *reality* is that it *matters* whether your port is above or below 1024
on many deployed systems. And hence it matters for applicants what number they
> No it doesn't.  The nature of computing today is such that the
> distinction is lost because most so-called privileged processes are
> running either on single user machines where the user is the
> administrator, or on servers where this sort of thing is coordinated.


I think that this is a misunderstanding of how single user machines are used.

I have used many such, but am rarely, if ever, logged on with administrator
privileges; yes such a user exists, but its use is tightly controlled, as for
example when using a privileged port to download software updates.  What I can
do, as the average user, is strictly limited and does not include privileged
ports (of course, most such usage is Windows, and Windows has far more
sophisticated access control, so port usage is not something that is directly

Tom Petch

> The rule dates back to the days where one could expect 40 - 60 users on
> a system.
> Eliot