11 Jul 1986 07:37-EDT
I found your message well phrased and persuasive. Having spent the last
three years in a commercial environment, I can relate to the difference
between CCITT goals and ARPANET/INTERNET. Even CCITT has some narrowness
in its thinking relative to the business side of messaging - my impression
thus far is that much less progress has been made on the side of interexchange
accounting and reconciliation than has been made on the technical side.
Another factor which affects CCITT and ISO choices is simply the size
of the deliberative body and the mechanisms which are needed to achieve
agreement. In the ARPANET world, at least for a part of its history, it was
possible to take arbitrary decisions and enforce them because ARPA paid
for the work, it was experimental, and the community was not relying on it
to make a product which generated profit. In the CCITT/commercial world, the
requirements are rather more difficult to meet and there is no arbiter of
last resort; only the plenary general assembly meetings and the circulation
of draft standards for voting.
I think the ARPANET/INTERNET community should be proud that the technology
it spawned has captured commercial and international attention - the fact that
it emerged somewhat differently from the design we have is almost unavoidable.
Just like TCP/TP4 and DOD IP and ISO IP. If there are technical flaws in the
international standards which make them unworkable, then we ought to articulate
them, but if they can be made to work, then we should do our best to use them
so as to achieve compatibility with a much broader segment of the world than
just our existing research base. Of course, I am much in favor of pressing on
to develop the next set of ideas in the research environment; I just don't
expect the research work to emerge in the commercial world in verbatim form
(look at X.25 vs ARPANET, for example!).
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