Will Fixing The Internet Break It?

from the ain't-broke... dept

MIT’s Tech Review is running the third part in its three part series about the “broken internet.” The first part described plans to build a new, better internet. The second part discussed the overall problems with the internet as is, and why it could use an overhaul. In both of those stories, we wondered (a) how real the problem really was (as we’ve all been hearing internet doom stories for a decade or so) and (b) about the unintended consequences of trying to actually anticipate all of the problems that could come up in building a brand new internet. It’s the unintended consequences of believing you can pre-think through all of the potential problems that seems the most troublesome. Luckily, the third part of the series at least mentions that some experts believe this plan to create a new internet infrastructure could be quite harmful. The internet worked because it was “dumb” and didn’t include many smarts. While lots of companies are looking to build the smarts back into the network, building a smarter architecture from scratch seems destined to cause more problems than it solves. The “smartness” means limitations, and it’s impossible to predict what we’d really want the internet to do eventually. Those limitations are going to cause quite a bit of frustration.

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Comments on “Will Fixing The Internet Break It?”

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eeptool (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Impressive spelling. I didn’t know that MIT had a “ocmputer science” department. Is that the same as Course 6-3 or have they changed the names as well as the numbers since I’ve been there.
I surmise that you will have fun telling people you went to MIT until the day you die, but being admitted is not the same as graduating.
Hopefully you will be able to tell people you graduated as well, but don’t blow your load too soon because you haven’t gotten past the 6.001 course. LISP is such a wonderful language for recursion and general mayhem, but it is a bugger.
So in closing, good luck at MIT and don’t be suprised if one day you are part of that 50% of the incoming class that flunk out to which they say: “Leave, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”

Have a Day,
eeptool, MIT Class of 1990

Harry Bools says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

And I hate to say this, but MIT isn’t what it was in 1990. After all, they let little turds like Mr. “smart as heelllll” in. I’ve been back recently, and they just dumped 400 million into the design and building of their new cognative sciences (stata) building. What a waste of money. I mean come on, 400 million. How many kids in Africa could have had a real education and a real chance at life for that much money? But no. They saw fit to spend it on making their new building look like it came out of a Dr. Seuss book.

here’s a link:

Old Skool Hack3r says:

Re: The state of up and coming computer techs.......

To the first poster……. You are a fine example of why companies in America are resorting to outsorcing our tech jobs to place where the people can’t speak English ( India ). And you know what……… I could probably communicate with them in a more meaningful way than I ever could a so called l33t like you. Crawl back under the chip you emerged from.

bigboi says:

No Subject Given

i think having a more structured architecture would help developers with some of the current inconsistencies, but i’m like the other guy. i would hate to think what “built-in features” would be influenced by special intrest groups. i’d also hate to see M$oft take over the freedom of the net.

BTW, if the first guy is going to MIT, i’m santa.

Harry Bools says:


They’ve been fixing the Internet for years. One of the reasons the Internet exists is to act as a hotbed for testing out new technology. And over time, whatever technology really worked or found a use online, stuck. Thus the Internet has morphed and changed as we have needed it to. The only thing that I can see that would cause some upheaval would be when we outgrow TCP/IP and need something faster, as it was designed in the late 60’s for slow, dirty networks. There are even several possible replacements being tested ON THE INTERNET. Even if they tried to build a bigger, better, faster Internet in parallel to the existing one (like I don’t know, I2….already exists by the way), they would still have to slowly migrate over to it, piece by piece to avoid disrupting major veins of traffic and business. Am I alone here? Does no one see my point(s)?

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

As has been hinted, the only motivation for “rebuilding the internet” is money. Perhaps the RIAA, MPAA, and other such dinosaur organizations have a significant stake in dictating how internet traffic moves. However, I strongly suspect that ordinary multinational corporations have a much greater motivation. The internet as we know it was not designed for the rapacious needs of conscience-free giants. But now that they understand how it might be of use to them, they have both the will and the means to build a pseudo-internet to their liking.

Harry Bools says:

Re: No Subject Given

I agree that they might build their own piece. And that’s fine. Let them have it and use it to their own ends. But that wouldn’t necessarily impact all the other parts of the Internet. The conscience-free giants may have money and will, but the Internet is a pretty big beast. I doubt they have the unity to even take a whack at the ankles of the Internet. (if it had ankles…but you know what I mean…goooooshhh)

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