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Network Working Group R. Callon, Editor Request for Comments: 1997 Category: Informational 1 April 1996
This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.Abstract
This memo documents the fundamental truths of networking for the Internet community. This memo does not specify a standard, except in the sense that all standards must implicitly follow the fundamental truths.Acknowledgements
The truths described in this memo result from extensive study over an extended period of time by many people, some of whom did not intend to contribute to this work. The editor would like to thank the networking community for illuminating these truths.1. Introduction
This Request for Comments (RFC) provides information about the fundamental truths underlying all networking. These truths apply to networking in general, and are not limited to TCP/IP, the Internet, or any other subset of the networking community.2. The Fundamental Truths
(1) Some things in life can never be fully appreciated nor understood unless experienced firsthand. Some things in networking can never be fully understood by someone who never runs an operational network.Security Considerations
(2) Every networking problem or upgrade always takes twice longer to solve than it seems like it should.(2a) No matter how hard you push and no matter what the priority, you can't increase the speed of light.(3) One size never fits all.
(2b) (corollary). No matter how hard you try, you can't make a baby in much less than 9 months. Trying to speed this up *might* make it slower, but it won't make it happen any quicker.(3a) (corollary) It is always possible to try to solve multiple separate problems into a single complex solution. In most cases this is a bad idea.(4) It is more complicated than you think...(4a) Complexity increases with time(5) Functioning of a complex network is un distinguishable from magic.
(4b) It is always possible to add another level of complexity into your existing network.
(4c) (corollary). It is easier to move a problem around, than it is to solve it.(5a) If you do not know what to do you can always "wave a dead chicken" e.g. perform a ritual operation on crashed software or hardware that most probably will be futile but is nevertheless useful to satisfy "important others" that an appropriate degree of effort has been expended.(6) For all resources, whatever it is, you need more.(6a) (corollary). Good, Fast, Cheap: you can't have all three.(7) With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.
(6b) If solution do not work it will always be proposed again under a different name...
This RFC raises no security issues. However, security protocols are subject to the fundamental networking truths.References
The references have been deleted in order to protect the guilty and avoid enriching the lawyers.Author's Address
Internet Order of Old Farts
c/o Bay Networks
3 Federal Street
Billerica, MA 01821
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