Internet Politics

HTTP Status 451 – The HTTP Status At Which Requests Burn

Tim Bray is proposing a new HTTP status, 451 for:

…when resource access is denied for legal reasons. This allows server operators to operate with greater transparency in circumstances where issues of law or public policy affect their operation. This transparency may be beneficial both to these operators and to end users.

This is awesome and I 100% support this idea. I’d even like to see governments mandate that 451’s be used. Of course North Korea, Iran, and China would never follow along, but hopefully most western countries would.

It’s also a very fitting tribute to Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451 who recently passed away.

Internet Networking

Final IPv4 Unicast Address Allocations

For better or worse this really is a momentous moment for the internet. The full letter from the IETF Chair is as follows (copied for posterity):

You have probably already heard the news, but just to make sure no one is left out of the loop, I am posting this note.

The last five /8 IPv4 address blocks were assigned today.

Two /8s were recently allocated to APNIC, which triggered the implementation of the Exhaustion Phase set out in the Global Policy for the Allocation of the Remaining IPv4 Address Space. Today in Miami, Florida in a very nice ceremony, this policy was implemented, and each RIR received one of the final /8 address blocks. As of now, there are no more unallocated IPv4 unicast /8s in the IANA pool. The current status of the IPv4 address space can be seen in the IANA IPv4 Address Space Registry at:

We have all known that this day was coming for a long time. In preparation, the IETF developed IPv6. IPv6 is ready, and it has been ready for a long time. This milestone simply increases the urgency for IPv6 deployment. The explosive growth of the Internet can only continue with the bigger address space offered by IPv6.

The depletion of the IANA IPv4 address pool is not a crisis. Next week the Internet will not be significantly different that it was a week ago. There will not be any notable short-term effects caused by the empty IANA IPv4 address pool.

There is no crisis, but there is a need for action so that the Internet can continue to grow. The transition to IPv6 requires the attention of many actors. However, our parents, spouses, and children will be largely unaware of the transition. They will continue to be amazed of the endless possibilities offered by the growing Internet. For them, this milestone will remain insignificant.

To the universal deployment of IPv6,

Who knew we’d eventually run out (Vint Cerf says himself he never imagined how much would be needed). It’s crazy when you think about it. It’s important however to remember however that the distribution is hardly efficient and lots of companies own way more IPv4 space than they will ever actually use.

I’ve pretty much gotten through my software stack IPv6 wise, but have yet to begun network and configuration to support it. Hopefully soon enough I’ll have everything running dual stack.

Tech (General)

It’s time for an international standard on Instant Messaging

Well, actually it’s well past time. Instant Messaging has all the earmarks to be the communications of the future, and it royally stinks.

Problems today:

  • Networks don’t communicate together, hence locking users in (MSN, AIM, Yahoo!)
  • Phones don’t Text Message (same as IM essentially) across networks. Barely from net to phone.
  • Each has proprietary ‘extras’ (file transfer method, voice chat, web cam, pictures, etc). Far from standardized.

I think it’s time for the IETF to write up an official recommendation for Instant Messaging.

Here’s my wish list:

  • UTF8 encoding for all messages
  • XML messages. Adds capabilities to easily integrate with other systems (since XML is the way of the future). Stylesheets define how it appears.
  • MathML support – for those wanting to get geeky.
  • SVG Graphics – why not? Slim, clean, XML. This could be used for multiple things: Emoticons 🙂 for example could be sent via SVG. Things like whiteboard (which allow you to draw and have the other party see what you draw) could be done in SVG.
  • Of course, an open standard, like Email. Cross platform, many clients, no licensing restrictions. So everyone can enjoy it.

With this, there’s a lot of flexibility. Using XML as a message format, rather than HTML, allows for a stylesheet to render it pretty. A person with a vision impairment could have a product read the XML directly. You could honor a stylesheet provided by the person you are talking too, download them online, or create your own. Big text? Small text? Color contrast? All in your control. And with SVG emoticons, they can resize appropriately without losing quality. Phones can resize as necessary thanks to custom stylesheets.

It’s a real shame it hasn’t happened yet. There’s no great IM clients. The protocols all have their limitations (AOL stinks behind firewalls, Yahoo’s got minimal users, MSN is spam ridden). All the current systems stink. Their clients are even worse. AOL’s adware, MSN’s buggy client (and terrible Mac client), Yahoo’s terribly slow development.

Look at all the IRC clients available. So many, each with their own features, toys, ehancements. All working together.

Yes, I do hate IM’s as of today. But imagine what could be done? It could be as universal as email. Secure, fast, flexible framework. But instead, we’ve got garbage to date.

The time for standards in IM is now. It’s only going to get more proprietary from here on out. And lock users into their networks.

Oh… spam prevention built into the protocol would be nice. Lets avoid another Email like spam attack.

Just my $0.02