Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

  RFC: Better future desired

I've been reading rfcs lately, working on multiple levels - 1) How does a given stateless protocol work, and 2) How is it secured, how can it be subverted? I'm doing this because 3) I'm trying to design a new stateless protocol and 4) I'd like to get it secure-able eventually - and 5) avoid any potential patent/copyright issues at the outset. I'm confident I have the latter solved now, but it took a month of review, headache, fear and worry before I felt capable of coding again.

I wish everyone was born with a "get one great lawyer free" card, that they could use up when they most needed it. I found myself missing the structure of a major corporation, badly.

I also mostly convinced myself that achieving security and statelessness were almost impossible, that security requires state - but note my equivocation "almost" and "mostly" - darn adverbs - I'm still going to give the design as-is a go and see what happens next.

This morning, I looked up, and saw Johnathan Zittrain had written an excellent article on the future of computing. It is not a bright one, particularly for independently minded programmers:



While that rang especially true for me given when I'd done all month, it was his proposals for solving the spam/bot problems by creating for ever more limited, tethered, restricted (I'd call them "broken") computers that got to me. Instead of getting back to work, I started writing up a response... but then Richard Stallman fired back

Very good debate in both articles. Both describe at a 50 thousand feet what I'm trying to get done at ground level, in an itty, bitty, obscure corner of the internet. Today I wanted to talk about how the ntp protocol achieves a consistent and secure view of time itself.

I'm out of time now - that valuable yet non-material substance - I've got some coding to do.

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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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