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[ih] protocol structure -> economic structure

Craig Partridge <craig at aland.bbn.com> wrote:
> Dave Clark has been giving speeches for about a decade on this issue.
> He has a 2002 paper entitled "Tussle in Cyberspace" and the term
> "tussle space" has some traction for discussions about the implications
> of particular protocol designs.

I think that's probably the paper I was struggling to remember, thanks!
I've read John Day's book as well, though more recently. I think

After a quick look to remind myself about Clark's paper, it's very much a
manifesto for the future internet architecture projects, and about
designing architectures to fit economics and politics. The reason I failed
to find the word "architecture" when writing my original message was that
last week I had been thinking in the opposite direction. That is, given
a (set of) protocol(s), what is the implied architecture? What economic
structures are likely to arise?

For instance, the DNS's multi-component names are (in the protocol) always
given as rooted, absolute paths, which implies a tree structure and
therefore a hierarchial organization, and paternalistic / authoritarian
politics. But if you make the names relative, that implies a rootless
graph structure, a flatter organization, and a more libertarian /
anarchist politics.

But note! The politics has more effect on who the architecture appeals to
than the influence it has on society. I think we have a habit of
attributing the culture of the early adopters of a communications medium
to the medium itself, when in fact communications tools are much more

Perhaps I'm taking this analogy too far. Another example (much more
grounded in reality) was Dave Crocker's description of the Internet Mail
architecture. Email has not been without architecture (the 821/822 split;
X.400 but it has also been shaped a lot by external forces such as interop
difficulties (late 1980s / early 1990s) and spam (which drove people to
implement the architectural distinction between message submission and
relay, amongst other things). So I suppose it would be informative to ask
to what extent tussles moulded email, and to what extent email shaped
those tussles.

f.anthony.n.finch  <dot at dotat.at>  http://dotat.at/
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