2014-10-17

Remembering Jon Postel, Best Thing That Happened at ICANN 51

"The root of system is unnamed. There are a set of what are called "top-level domain names" (TLDs). These are the generic TLDs (EDU, COM, NET, ORG, GOV, MIL, and INT), and the two letter country codes from ISO-3166. It is extremely unlikely that any other TLDs will be created." -- Jon Postel, 1994.
The Best Thing that happened at ICANN 51 -- Steve Crocker remembering Jon Postel at the Public Forum:

ICANN Board Chairman Steve Crocker: LET ME TURN TO ANOTHER -- ENTIRELY DIFFERENT KIND OF TOPIC. TODAY, THIS VERY DAY, OCTOBER 16th, 16 YEARS AGO, 1998, JON POSTEL PASSED AWAY. FOR THOSE OF US WHO WERE CLOSE TO HIM, WE CAN -- IT SITS AS ONE OF THE DAYS AMONG THE HANDFUL WHERE ONE REMEMBERS WHERE ONE WAS. I WAS ACTUALLY DRIVING STREETS OF OAKLAND ON THE WAY BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO, AND I GOT A CALL FROM VINT CERF WHO INFORMED ME. AND I WAS QUITE MOVED. I HAD THE PLEASURE OF WORKING WITH JON FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. WE WERE PART OF THE SAME TEAM OF GRADUATE STUDENTS AT UCLA IN THE LATE '60s, '68, '69, '70 WHEN THIS TANGENTIAL SIDE PROJECT WAS -- CAME ALONG ABOUT CONNECTING A FEW COMPUTERS TOGETHER. AND A HANDFUL OF US GRAVITATED INTO THE MIDDLE OF THAT.

I HAVE TOLD MANY TIMES THE STORY OF MY OWN INVOLVEMENT WITH THE CREATION OF THE REQUEST FOR COMMENT SERIES IN WHICH I ADMINISTERED IN A VERY, VERY LIGHT AND INCIDENTAL WAY FOR YEARS AND THEN I WENT OFF TO WASHINGTON. AND AS I WAS LEAVING THE GROUP PRIOR TO COMPLETING MY GRADUATE STUDIES AS KIND OF AN INTERRUPTION, I INITIALLY TURNED OVER MY SHOULDER AND SAID TO JON, WOULD YOU TAKE THIS OVER? HE SAID "OH, SURE."

AT THAT POINT, THE TASK OF ADMINISTERING THE RFC SERIES WAS REALLY QUITE A SMALL THING, HAND OUT NUMBERS AND MAKE SURE THE MAILING LIST IS UP TO DATE. BUT OVER TIME, PARTLY BECAUSE JON WAS, INDEED, A SERIOUS RESEARCHER AND WAS VERY MUCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LONG-TERM PLANNING AND THOUGHTFULNESS ABOUT THE NETWORK AND PARTLY BECAUSE OF HIS OWN PERSONALITY WHICH WAS RARE AMONG THE BUNCH OF US WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THAT, HE WAS A THOUGHTFUL AND DEEP THINKER BUT DID NOT INSIST THAT HE HAD TO BE THE ONLY ONE SPEAKING OR IN CHARGE OF ANYTHING. IT WAS A KIND OF ALMOST RETICENT IN A WAY. HE WAS -- HAD A VERY HIGH DEGREE OF ACCEPTANCE. HE WASN'T ELBOWING OTHER PEOPLE OUT OF THE WAY.

AND WHAT WASN'T APPRECIATED FOR A LONG TIME BUT WHICH BECAME EXTREMELY HELPFUL IS THAT HE WAS ACTUALLY VERY ORGANIZED. I MEAN, YOU SEE HIM HERE WITH A PICTURE OF A SCRUFFY BEARD AND SO FORTH BUT THAT DID NOT SIGNAL THE ORDERLINESS OF HIS MIND AND HIS ABILITY TO CARE FOR DETAIL AND TO SORT OUT WHEN DETAIL WAS IMPORTANT AND WHEN A LITTLE BIT OF LATITUDE AND FITTING IN SMOOTHLY WITH LARGER IDEAS WAS IMPORTANT.

SO IT HAPPENED IN A VERY ORGANIC, VERY NATURAL WAY THAT THE NEXT TIME AND THE NEXT TIME AND THE NEXT TIME THAT THERE NEEDED TO BE SOMETHING OF ESSENTIALLY A CLERICAL NATURE, LET JON DO IT. HE WAS DOING A GOOD JOB. THAT CREATED OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. THAT ACCUMULATED AND EVENTUALLY BECAME THE IANA FUNCTION THAT WE SEE TODAY.

AND IN PARTICULAR, JON WAS AT THE CENTER ALONG WITH PAUL MOCKAPETRIS WHEN THEY WERE BOTH AT THE INFORMATION SCIENCE INSTITUTE, USC INFORMATION SCIENCE INSTITUTE WAS CREATING THE DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM WHICH GREW OUT OF TRYING TO GET OTHER -- EXPAND THE INTERNET AND ENABLE OTHER GROUPS. JON PERSONALLY TRAVELED QUITE A BIT AND FOUND PIONEERS, THOUGHT LEADERS, FIRST MOVERS IN A SENSE BUT NOT IN A COMMERCIAL SENSE AROUND THE WORLD AND HANDED OUT TOP-LEVEL DOMAINS, AS IT WERE, TO GET THINGS STARTED AND WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING SET THE DIRECTION OF INDEPENDENT INITIATIVES IN ANY COUNTRY THAT WERE ROOTED IN THOSE COUNTRIES SO THAT LOCAL COMMUNITY SPONSORSHIP WAS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND TO TRY TO -- IN A VERY LIGHT HANDED WAY BUT IN A VERY DEFINITE WAY, TRY TO BE AS EMBRACING AS POSSIBLE.

ICANN WAS -- HE WAS SO SUCCESSFUL AT THE WAY HE DID THINGS THAT THE NATURAL EVOLUTION, THE EVOLUTION THAT SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE FAR EARLIER, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE CREATION OF ICANN IN 1998 FOR ADMINISTERING THE DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM AND THE OTHER IDENTIFIERS THAT HAD GROWN VERY LARGE AND IMPORTANT OVER ALMOST A TWO-DECADE PERIOD, THAT TRANSITION IN OTHER SETTINGS MIGHT HAVE TAKEN PLACE A DECADE EARLIER OR EVEN MUCH EARLIER. SO IN THE LINGO THAT I LIKE TO USE, HE WAS A SUCCESS DISASTER. IT GREW BEYOND THE NORMAL BOUNDS THAT ONE MIGHT EXPECT AND EVENTUALLY REQUIRED A LARGE-SCALE SOLUTION.

SO, JON, WITH THE HELP OF A COUPLE ABLE ASSISTANTS WAS RUNNING THE TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM AND THE RESOURCE ALLOCATION, THE WHOLE IANA FUNCTION. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON WHEN SOMEBODY IS OVERWORKED IN A JOB AND THEY LEAVE AND THEY LOOK BACK AND THEY FIND THEY HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY THREE PEOPLE. IN THIS CASE, JON DEPARTED IF HE WERE LOOKING BACK NOW, HE WOULD SEE REPLACED BY 300 PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING PAID AND ANOTHER 3,000 PEOPLE WHO ARE VOLUNTEERING. IT IS AN ENORMOUS LEGACY HE LEAVES BEHIND.

ONE OF HIS GENTLE BUT VERY INSIGHTFUL PIECES OF ADVICE TO -- PRINCIPALLY IN THE TECHNICAL COMMUNITY, THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROTOCOLS WHERE YOU HAVE DIFFERENT PEOPLE IMPLEMENTING EACH SIDE OF A COMMUNICATION SYSTEM, SO YOU HAVE, FOR EXAMPLE, NOW THE WEB, YOU HAVE A BROWSER THAT HAS TO INTERACT WITH A WEB SITE. BOTH SIDES HAVE TO SPEAK RELATED PARTS OF THE PROTOCOL. THE SLOGAN THAT EMERGED OUT OF THIS WAS BE CONSERVATIVE IN WHAT YOU SEND AND BE LIBERAL IN WHAT YOU RECEIVE BECAUSE IN A LOT OF CASES THE COMMUNICATION WAS NOT QUITE PERFECT. THERE WOULD BE AMBIGUITY IN HOW RULES WERE INTERPRETED. SO HIS COUNSEL WAS TRY TO BUILD YOUR SIDE OF THE IMPLEMENTATION IN A WAY THAT IS GENTLE WITH RESPECT TO WHAT IT DEMANDS OF THE OTHER SIDE AND ALSO VERY TOLERANT OF WHAT IT IS WILLING TO ACCEPT FROM THE OTHER SIDE. IT'S BEEN AN INSIGHTFUL PIECE OF ADVICE. IT IS ONE OF THE COMMON PIECES OF WISDOM IN THE TECHNICAL COMMUNITY AND MIGHT ACTUALLY APPLY IN OTHER PLACES AS WELL.

SO WITH THAT, I AM PLEASED TO BRING TO OUR ATTENTION THE CONTRIBUTION THAT JON HAS MADE OVER THE YEARS. I SUSPECT I'M OFF SCRIPT BECAUSE I CAN SAY THESE THINGS FROM PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT HAVING THE HELP. BUT I THINK WE HAVE ANOTHER SLIDE THAT WE HAVE TO PROJECT HERE.

THIS RATHER HOKEY SLIDE, [a photo of Crocker, Postel and Cerf] PICTURE WAS CREATED IN THE SUMMER OF 1994 AS PART OF A COMMEMORATION OF THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARPANET, SO THE FIRST NODES ON THE ARPANET WENT IN THE SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER OF 1969. AND (SAYING NAME) PUT A LOT OF ENERGY INTO TRYING TO BRING ATTENTION TO ALL OF THAT 25 YEARS LATER.

AS IT TURNED OUT, VINT AND JON AND I WERE ALL IN A MEETING IN TORONTO AND "NEWSWEEK" WAS GOING TO WRITE A FEATURE ARTICLE. AND SO WE SPENT AN EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT OF TIME PUTTING THIS PICTURE TOGETHER. ALTHOUGH I CHEATED. I WAS THERE FOR THE PREBREAKFAST, EARLY MORNING ORGANIZATION. I DISAPPEARED, CAME BACK UNTIL ABOUT 3:00 A.M. ACTUALLY.

MEANWHILE, VINT AND JON HAD GONE OFF AND BOUGHT A BUNCH OF VEGETABLES TO STRING UP AND CONNECT THEM TO TIN CANS. A LOT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THIS NETWORK DOESN'T REALLY WORK AND SORT OF THE PERSONALITIES OF THE VARIOUS PEOPLE INVOLVED, IT WAS -- AS I SAID, IT WAS IN 1994 JON PASSED AWAY. FOUR YEARS LATER WOULD EVER GUESS THAT WE WOULD LOSE HIM THEN.

VINT SAID SHORTLY AFTER HIS PASSING, HIS MEMORY WILL NOT FADE FROM OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS. WHAT WOULD JON HAVE DONE IS A QUESTION THAT GETS ASKED FREQUENTLY IF ONE IS TRYING TO ORIENT A CONVERSATION AND GET IT BACK ON TRACK. AND WE WILL THINK ABOUT THAT AS WE WRESTLE IN DAYS AHEAD WITH THE PROBLEMS JON GOT SO WELL TAMED FOR SO MANY YEARS.

JON, YOU WILL NOT, CANNOT EVER BE FORGOTTEN. SO LET ME ASK YOU FOR A ROUND OF APPLAUSE IN MEMORY OF JON POSTEL. [APPLAUSE ]


Jon Postel - Wikipedia: "Jonathan Bruce Postel (August 6, 1943 – October 16, 1998) was an American computer scientist who made many significant contributions to the development of the Internet, particularly with respect to standards. He is known principally for being the Editor of the Request for Comment (RFC) document series, and for administering the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) until his death. In his lifetime he was known as the God[2] of the Internet for his comprehensive influence on the medium. The Internet Society's Postel Award is named in his honor, as is the Postel Center at Information Sciences Institute. His obituary was written by Vint Cerf and published as RFC 2468 in remembrance of Postel and his work. In 2012, Postel was inducted into theInternet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.[3]...."




No comments:

Domain Mondo posts: