Re: [Seventh Heaven] Who Killed Gopher?

Joseph M. Reagle Jr. (
Wed, 06 Jan 1999 16:12:20 -0500

At 12:40 PM 1/6/99 -0800, Rohit Khare wrote:
>An Extensible Murder Mystery

Very cool! Do you have a URI? (I'd rather bookmark or store the URI than the
whole thing.)

> Science proves a blind alley, though. Their fates were decided not on
> technical merits, but on economic and psychological advantages. The
> 'Postellian' school of protocol design focused on engineering 'right'
> solutions for core applications (batch file transfer, interactive
> terminals, mail and news relays) anchored in unique transport layer
> adaptations (slow-start, Nagle timers, and routing as respective
> examples). Our two specimens are 'post-Postel', in their details and
> in their adoption dynamics. They are stateless; they don't have
> (Gopher) or dilute (HTTP) the theory of reply codes; they scale
> poorly, imperiling the health of the Internet; and they are 'luxuries'
> for publishing discretionary information, not Host Requirements which
> must be compiled into every node.

There's some neat design philosophy ideas in here -- I suspect there is a
useful ontology --- but its a confusing exposition. What does "right" core
solutions mean? Who wouldn't advocate that? What is a "unique" transport
layer? I'd read this as specific to the application, but in parenthesis you
mention characteristics which makes me think my reading is incorrect.
Post-postel throws me. Is the statelessness of HTTP counter to "right"
solution, the unique transport layer, in details or adoption dynamics?

Joseph Reagle E0 D5 B2 05 B6 12 DA 65 BE 4D E3 C1 6A 66 25 4E
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