Issue 3, 4th December 1995: Netocracy
ExNet On-line:


News and links: networking, distributed, parallel and high-performance computing.

There's trouble down at t'Net (continued). I was describing in the previous issue how the various gentlemen's agreements in the Internet are demonstrating that some of the Internet's new participants are not gentlefolk at all. This has the side-effect that what might otherwise be the best technical solutions for the Internet turn out not to be the best politically because you cannot trust the other participants, and I don't just mean hackers... IPng will probably be with us by the turn of the decade, and built into its addressing structure is an assumption that as a user you will be happy to be allocated a block of addresses out of the range allocated to your supplier. Which is fine and dandy from a technical viewpoint; this change should enormously reduce the amount and volatility of routing information coursing around the Internet. Potentially, when one of ExNet's leased-line connections to an upstream provider fails, every major Internet router in the world has to be told about it in under a minute. As the number of users, and thus failing links, goes up, a greater slice of Internet bandwidth and router CPU time (etc) is taken up with such nonsense. Consolidating IP addresses by supplier or major geographical grouping is a good idea and vastly reduces such routing effort, since potentially only your supplier need know your link is out, and no routing information need be propagated elsewhere at all. One problem with the new address scheme is that it seems to assume a fairly shallow netocracy of suppliers, ie that the smaller ones will be squeezed out. Secondly, when a customer gets disgruntled with a supplier and goes elsewhere, the customer has to renumber all its machines (which might be in the thousands for a large organisation) and propagate new address mappings through DNS (etc) very carefully if it is not to lose connectivity for hours or days. Machine renumbering is painful, and so suppliers seem to have an unfair hold over their customers. Unless, of course, customers use local internal addresses and remap them to external addresses at their gateways into the Internet---which will help reduce the presure on the existing IP numbering space if we start applying such policies now. Yours truly will be thinking carefully about renumbering schemes over the next few months.

In the next issue I'll take a look at VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) technology, and see if it'll do the same to RISC as RISC has done to CISC.

Damon Hart-Davis, Computing Editor

Netscape 2 is Here, Crime and Time-Wasting Worries.
Yahoo (search), WebCrawler and Lycos (search by word), Back Issues.
Dec (Supercomputing '95, Internet World '95), Jan 1996 (USENIX '96), May 1996 (ATM '96), calls for papers, proceedings, IAO Conference Announcement Archive.
(Links marked ``'' may prove unreliable.)


Netscape 2 is Here
Netscape 2 is here, with many innovative features. The good news is that these features will help make new and valuable applications possible. The bad news is that they are non-standard and continue to distort the cooperative nature of the Internet, and have significant unpleasant security implications. The official blurb has a simple run-through of the new capabilities of the tool. At a system level, Netscape interacts poorly with existing services such as mail (Netscape grabs your entire mailbox if you are not careful, preventing you from using other mail-management tools at all), and does not lay out information well (especially news), even on large screens. Java, though at least in some sense an external standard, does have significant security implications as bugs exploited by any provider of HTML pages could be used to erase, steal, or tamper with arbitrary data owned by the person running the browser. Experience will iron out most of these problems, and Java certainly has enormous promise, but the predatory, secretive and proprietary nature of Netscape will deter many users from taking up 2.0 for a while. More so for users outside the US, since Netscape does not seem to realise that there is a world outside the US, inspite of the official launch of European offices in Paris, London and Munich in October!
Crime and Time-Wasting Worries
According to a survey by AST, the UK's third-largest PC vendor, the largest UK companies are in fear of Internet access being used for crime (53%) or timewasting activities by employees (69%).


Computing-related links into the Web:
Yahoo (search), Supercomputing Diary, ExWeb (Web publisher).
Other computing news pages/magazines:
Directions (Intel's business PC magazine), FutureNet (general/Internet, daily update), Multimedia Association News (multimedia resources and news), PC Explore (Intel's home PC magazine), SunWorld OnLine (excellent Sun UNIX magazine; Sun-related links), UNIX News (weekly update).
Computing companies/organisations:
Adaptec (hardware mfr, eg SCSI), AMI (IBM PCs and BIOS), Compaq (PCs), Convex (supercomputers, being acquired by HP), Cray (supercomputers), Data General (UNIX), DEC (UNIX, VAX), Fujitsu (semiconductors, supercomputers), Hitachi (semiconductors, supercomputers), HP (UNIX (esp telecomms), printers, test and measurement; humo(u)r, search), IBM (UK), ICL (UK company, UNIX, vertical markets), Informix (databases), Intel (semiconductors, x86 CPUs; P6 info), NSCA (Web server and Mosaic Web browser), Netscape (Web browsers and servers), Novell (PCs, networking, UNIXWare), Oracle (databases; UK), SCO (PC UNIX), Sequent (parallel UNIX), Silicon Graphics (UNIX with visualisation slant, MIPS CPUs). Sun (largest UNIX vendor; Sun-related links, SunExpress), Sybase (databases), Tandem (fault-tolerant systems), Teknekron (financial, distributed systems), Texas Instruments (semiconductors such as SPARC CPU), Unisys (software), X/Open (UNIX standards body).
Web-page searches by (key)word:
WebCrawler, Yahoo, Lycos, InfoSeek.
Other links:
Archie (search for free (FTP-able) software by name), Users' own pages, Springboard (ExNet's hot-links page), IAO Conference Announcement Archive, Worldwide Events Database.
Back issues:
1995 September 2 (Trouble on the Net), 1 (Unix, Intel and 64-bits), Pilot.
If any of these links are broken (ie the pages cannot be found), please mail me.


Events marked ``'' are of particular interest. Links marked ``'' may prove unreliable.
December 1995:
4--8, San Diego, CA, USA. Supercomputing '95.

5--7, London, UK. Internet World International Winter '95, as part of Online Information '95.

8, San Francisco, CA, USA. WWW Security Beyond the Basics.

January 1996:
11--12, Manchester, UK. Understanding Client/Server Computing. Tel: +44 171 610 4533.

17--18, London, UK. Accessing the Internet. Tel: +44 171 610 4533.

22--26, San Diego, CA, USA. USENIX 1996: Annual Technical Conference. Everything you wanted to know about UNIX from all your UNIX heros!

22--23, Dublin, Ireland. Accessing the Internet. Tel: +44 171 610 4533.

24--26, Braga, Portugal. EUROMICRO: Fourth EUROMICRO Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Processing.

February 1996:
21--23, Cambridge, UK. Third Annual Workshop on Fast Software Encryption.
March 1996:
25--26, Berlin, Germany. MMSD-96: International Workshop on Multimedia Software Development. (Mail Max Muehlhaeuser.)
April 1996:
13--14, Cambridge, UK. International Workshop on Object Representation for Computer Vision. Contact co-chairs Jean Ponce, Martial Hebert or Andrew Zisserman.

15--19, Honolulu, Hawaii. HiNet '96: Second International Workshop On High-speed Network Computing. IPPS '96: Tenth International Parallel Processing Symposium.

May 1996:
6--9, San Jose, CA, USA. ATM '96.

13--16, Budapest, Hungary. JENC7: 7th Joint European Networking Conference.

23--24, Antwerpen, Belgium. Third International Workshop On Community Networking.

27--28, Philadelphia, PA, USA. IOPADS: Fourth Annual Workshop on I/O in Parallel and Distributed Systems.

June 1996:
5--7, Namur, Belgium. DSV-IS'96: 3rd Eurographics Workshop on Design, Specification and Verification of Interactive Systems.

12--14, L'Aquila, Italy. Eigth Euromicro Workshop on Real-time Systems. (Mail for more info.)

17--22, Boston, MA, USA. ED-MEDIA '96, ED-TELECOM '96: World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia and World Conference on Educational Telecommunications. (Mail AACE.)

July 1996:
10--13, Monterey, CA, USA. Fourth Tcl/Tk workshop.
August 1996:
26--30, Poitiers, France. Eurographics '96: Graphics, Virtual Reality, Graphics Highways.
September 1996:
2--4, Connemara, Ireland. Seventh ACM SIGOPS European Workshop: Systems Support for Worldwide Applications. In the past, each computer had its own users and jobs. The task of the operating system was to allocate resources among competing users. With the advent of LANs and the Internet, multiple computers could collaborate to perform specialized tasks for a modest number of sophisticated users. In the future, most computers will be connected to what is often called the ``Information Superhighway.'' This as-yet-unbuilt system will allow hundreds of millions of ordinary citizens to access global information and participate in applications of unprecedented scale.

3--6, Boulder, CO, USA. VL '96: IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages.

16--20, Berlin, Germany. PARCELLA '96: Seventh International Workshop on Parallel Processing by Cellular Automata and Arrays

November 1996:
16--20, Cambridge, MA, USA. CSCW '96: Cooperating Communities.
Calls for papers:
13--14 April 1996. Intl Workshop on Object Representation for Computer Vision. Contact Jean Ponce or as above.

15--19 April 1996, Honolulu, Hawaii. HiNet '96: Second International Workshop On High-speed Network Computing.

6--9 May 1996. ATM '96. Send proposals to the Technology Transfer Institute.

10--13 July 1996, Monterey, CA, USA. Fourth Tcl/Tk workshop.

2--4 September 1996, Connemara, Ireland. Seventh ACM SIGOPS European Workshop: Systems Support for Worldwide Applications.

16--20 September 1996, Berlin, Germany. PARCELLA '96: Seventh International Workshop on Parallel Processing by Cellular Automata and Arrays.

16--20 November 1996, Cambridge, MA, USA. CSCW '96: Cooperating Communities. (Mail Mark Klein.)

Proceedings available:
EANN 95 (International Conference on Engineering Applications of Neural Networks) available here.

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