Thursday, December 11, 2003

Unexpected Repercussions

Here’s a little something I wrote last week that somehow never made it onto
this blog:

I’m here at DevDays in
Zurich, Switzerland. My talks start in about two hours, and I find myself with a few
spare minutes.

I just got done listening to an interesting presentation by Rafal
on IPv6. It was interesting not only because Rafal is a good speaker
and the topic a relevant one, but because of a comment he made that resonated with
me, particularly so since I was (probably) the only American in a European crowd of
300 or so.

Rafal observed that the current version of IP (IPv4) has an incredibly uneven distribution
of addresses. In particular, he noted that some US universities have more addresses
assigned to them than the entire continent of Asia. While I found that surprising
enough, what really caught me was the implicit sense that having a global Internet
infrastructure that depends disproportionately on the US is a bad thing. This makes
logical sense for purely technical reasons, of course, but Rafal’s comments
made it clear that from a social standpoint, the appeal of IPv6 would not be
hurt by the current political climate.

I find the idea that the adoption of IPv6 might be due in part to the current US administration’s
global policies [1] amusing, troubling, and an excellent example of the Law
of Unintended Consequences.

[1] Policies with which I largely disagree, but I’ll leave it at that in this

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