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Re: IP address fee??

  • From: Joe Abley
  • Date: Fri Sep 06 16:54:04 2002

On Friday, September 6, 2002, at 04:04  PM, Iljitsch van Beijnum wrote:

On Fri, 6 Sep 2002, Joe Abley wrote:

How many people learn about networks from certification courses or
in school, anyway? It was always my impression that people learnt
mainly by listening to other people.
Well, maybe, if you define "listening to people" as "reading what people
That too, in the context of written discussions, rather than books or manuals.

If networking on the front lines is an informal oral tradition more
than it is a taught science, then perhaps it's natural for obsolete
terminology to continue to be "taught" long after it stopped having
any relevance.
Actually, I would assume it to be the other way around: if you only
communicate with people who are active in the field who are aware of all
the new tricks, how are you going to learn about obsolete stuff?
I think there is often a directed graph of information flow for particular subjects. There will be nodes in the graph which correspond to people who have done research, and who speak with some accuracy. There are other nodes which listen selectively to the interpretations of others, derive rules of thumb and pass their filtered wisdom onto other nodes, but do no research from sources that might be considered authoritative.

The effectiveness of this information-sharing network is hampered by the unreliability of individual nodes to filter information they receive, the inconsistent manner in which the information is processed, the near-complete absense of filters on information passed to other nodes, and the ad-hoc summarisation that happens throughout the network regardless of the intentions of the origin nodes. Sounds almost eerily familiar.

Many ISPs provide a fertile learning environment for people who are able and willing to learn, regardless (in spite of!) of initial training and qualification.

However, I seem to think that there are lots of people in organisations that run IP networks who don't have the opportunity to learn how to do lots of different things, and many of them don't have the time, ability or inclination to go research questions from the bottom up. Rules of thumb and networking myths abound in that environment. The people who are most able to appreciate finer technical points are also those who are most likely to get bored and go find a more interesting job somewhere else, etc, etc.

"ICMP is a security risk."
"You can't use the first and last subnets."

Education is hard.


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