Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Internet is Broken

I would direct you to some intersting and insightful comments on the state of the Internet infrastructure by MIT's David D. Clark in

The Internet Is Broken

The Net's basic flaws cost firms billions, impede innovation, and threaten national security. It's time for a clean-slate approach, says MIT's David D. Clark.

By David Talbot

Here are some quotes to get your attention

In his office within the gleaming-stainless-steel and orange-brick jumble of MIT's Stata Center, Internet elder statesman and onetime chief protocol architect David D. Clark prints out an old PowerPoint talk. Dated July 1992, it ranges over technical issues like domain naming and scalability. But in one slide, Clark points to the Internet's dark side: its lack of built-in security.

In others, he observes that sometimes the worst disasters are caused not by sudden events but by slow, incremental processes -- and that humans are good at ignoring problems. "Things get worse slowly. People adjust," Clark noted in his presentation. "The problem is assigning the correct degree of fear to distant elephants."


Indeed, for the average user, the Internet these days all too often resembles New York's Times Square in the 1980s. It was exciting and vibrant, but you made sure to keep your head down, lest you be offered drugs, robbed, or harangued by the insane. Times Square has been cleaned up, but the Internet keeps getting worse, both at the user's level, and -- in the view of Clark and others -- deep within its architecture.

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