Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

An Interview With The Router Man

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the making-everyone-speak-the-same-language dept.

94

Angry_Admin writes "For Network World's 20th anniversary, they've published an interview with William (Bill) Yeager, the creator of the multiprotocol router, with some history on how Cisco came to be. As he says in the interview : 'This project started for me in January of 1980, when essentially the boss said, "You're our networking guy. Go do something to connect the computer science department, medical center and department of electrical engineering."' 6 months later he had his first working 3MBit router shoved in a closet."

cancel ×

94 comments

And soon after... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030145)

...the first ASCII pictures of boobs were sent from the computer science department to the engineering department...

Re:And soon after... (2, Funny)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030517)

Nonsense... ASCII boobs date back at least to the teletype era... I'm sure some enterprising young engineer found ways to make punchcard boobs before that.

Re:And soon after... (2, Interesting)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030764)

"ASCII boobs date back at least to the teletype era... I'm sure some enterprising young engineer found ways to make punchcard boobs before that."

It would be interesting to find the earliest use of ASCII images. The first general purpose teletype [wikipedia.org] goes back to around 1922. And the punch card as early as 1725 [wikipedia.org] . And if someone was transmitting ASCII boobs via punch cards or teletype, wouldn't that be considered ASCII art? These early sex-starved geeks would indeed predate the common practice of ASCII art on typewrites as early as 1948. [modernmechanix.com]

Re:And soon after... (3, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031134)

Technically no.

ASCII didn't become a standard untill 1967. And art created earlier than that would by "teletype art" or "punchcard art", not ASCII art.

Re:And soon after... (4, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031357)

Ah /. how do I love thee!

Where else would you see people nitpicking over etymology during a discussion about drawing boobies with a computer?

Re:And soon after... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15032206)

Asperger's syndrome is relatively common amongst the geek set. I think that's why you have so many /.ers obsessing over little things like this. Pedantry run amok.....

"I'm an excellent driver..."

Re:And soon after... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15033356)

Yes, I'm appalled. We really should be discussing grammar, since it didn't state that the first ASCII boobies were sent over this network, but rather shortly after its opening it was used to transmit ASCII boobies. "First" in this context simply means "first of many". as in "Shortly after the slashdotter got broadband, the first porn DVD was downloaded." Actually, bad example since he probably did it with dial-up too. Anyway...

Re:And soon after... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079102)

Then it should refer to "the first transmission of ASCII boobs", not "the first ASCII boobs" being transmitted on their network... Unless, of course, they went digging, found the very first ASCII boobs, and transmitted them...

(Heh, boobies.) (.)(.)

Angela (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15033766)

And here she is.. my beautiful Angela..
Among the first women you could fax to a friend.

Angela ASCII [textfiles.com]

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Loktar Ogar (960557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030148)

I hate taking this from someone who earned it

Mr. Router (3, Funny)

labalicious (844887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030149)

Mr. Router, that's his name, his name again is Mr. Router.

Re:Mr. Router (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030369)

More Simpsons:

Bill: How could you do this to me Len? If there was any justice in the world, it would be my picture on a bunch of crappy investor guides!

Sandy: Len, is what this man saying true?

Len: Who can say, baby? Ideas were getting thrown around, he may have come up with the source code, but I'm the one who came up with the idea to charge $15k a pop for it!

Re:Mr. Router (1)

NCfromIT (964843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030863)

Surely the Canyonero song fits in here somehow.

Re:Mr. Router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030662)

In other news, Thomas "Tom" Hanks announced that the production of his new movie is going well. Also Daniel "Dan" O'Dowd, President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Hills software has indicated that a slew of new products will arrive to market soon. And AMAG Technology Promotes Matthew "Matt" Barnette to Vice President of Sales. Former president, William "Bill" Clinton has indicated that he will not seek the job of NFL commisioner. Leonard "Leo" Mezerski joined Mallett Technology, Inc. in October, 2004 as Business Manager.

Holy Shit (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030160)

This guy is a neighbor of mine. He always spouts off shit like an old crazy man about how he invented the Internet, and this and that. I always tell him that he is wrong, and that Al Gore invented the Internet.

Now I feel like an ass.

Dude is a pimp. (-1, Offtopic)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030168)

Mad skillz yo.

Re:Dude is a pimp. (0, Troll)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030920)

Clarification for the moderators out that that dont understand modern ebonics. I was refering to this guy as a friggin' genious. I know enough to know that this guy has some sweet skills, and surely deserves some credit. A true hacker guru.

it took him 6 months? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030178)

i guess i take all this stuff for granted, suppose since he was the first one to do it and all... but 6 months seems like a long time to invent a multi-protocol router...

and would you call this an invention? i mean yeah he invented it... but it seems like it was pretty inevatable, if he wouldn't have done it I'm sure someone else would have in short order...

don't want to sound like i'm belittling him, what he did was pretty cool, i'm just sayin...

Re:it took him 6 months? (4, Interesting)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030204)

In 20 years, undergraduate computer science students will be required to write virtual machine monitors.

Right now, I have taken classes that required me to write neural networks, and perform experiments on compute clusters.

20 years ago, this was a big deal.

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

kruczkowski (160872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15032357)

Your forgetting that there was no google back then!

You are belittling him. (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030231)

It's easy to use the perpective of hindsight to declare something is inevitable. Not only did he invent something, the underlying architecture was what was, in part, the key to Cisco's early success as the design scaled very well.

The guy's vastly underappreciated.

Christ on a Locomotive?! (4, Informative)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030409)

I'd like to agree with you about the grandparent post, and add a few thoughts, if I may.

I saw Heron of Alexandria [wikipedia.org] on Discovery a while back. He was quite the mechanical engineer, apparently. One of his inventions, called an "aeolipile", pictured in the Wikipedia article, is the first recorded steam engine. The upshot is that he invented it sometime between 150 BC to 0 AD.

Quoth that article:

the first recorded steam engine, (known as Hero's Engine) which was created almost two millennia before the industrial revolution, which was powered by steam engines. Apparently Hero's steam engine was taken to be no more than a toy, and thus its full potential not realized for quite some time.



My point is that, just because something seems inevitable doesn't mean that it is. People miss the obvious all the time, and due to the most incredibly mundane reasons. If not for inexplicable lack of imagination in an otherwise incredibly imaginative and inventive guy, the industrial revolution could conceivable started in Greece around the time of Christ.

It took almost 2000 years before it was obvious to someone else. Inevitable? Maybe. But it might have been your grandkids' grandkids who created the internet, if this guy hadn't hit the right set of circumstances.

Re:Christ on a Locomotive?! (1)

Endareth (684446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030564)

Actually, my understanding of the concept/history of steam engines, is that the Babylonians (2000-3000 BC?) appeared to use steam to power the opening of some of their temple doors, as a "hand of god" type thing. Everything gets re-invented again and again till it becomes commercially viable.

Re:Christ on a Locomotive?! (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030602)

Hero's steam engine was little more than a toy. It was a neat proof-of-concept device, showing that it was possible to generate motive force from steam, but it was not practical. It required the invention of the piston - a device much more complicated than the Aeolipile ) to build an efficient steam engine.

It might have been possible to use some gearing to generate a useful amount of torque from an Aeolipile, but the power output would have been lower than, that obtainable from wind (although, perhaps, more reliable). The real innovation of the Industrial Revolution was the school of thought that said useful motive force can come from sources other than human or animal muscles.

Re:Christ on a Locomotive?! (3, Insightful)

Talondel (693866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030765)

One could easily argue that the real innovation of the Industrial Revolution was the moral shift that slavery was wrong. Without access to nearly free or cheap slave labor, the need for motive force from a source other than human muscle was greatly increased.

There was no use for a steam engine in Greek society, because there was no significant moral objection to the use of slave labor, which kept cheap manual labor in nearly unlimited supply.

Re:Christ on a Locomotive?! (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031023)

Huh? The piston is a fairly crappy use of steam power and is not seen very much today. The turbine on the other hand is a very efficient way to handle steam and the Aeolipile is an example of a reaction turbine. The biggest drawback of the Aeolipile is that it is a single stage turbine, to get the most efficient transfer of power from the steam you need a multistage turbine.

Re:Christ on a Locomotive?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15032855)

You need a condensor at the end to make it properly efficient. Which means it was to big to fit in a locomotive. A compound triple is a pretty efficient piston machine but once again not practical in a locomotive. So they where used in stationary locations and in ships.

Re:it took him 6 months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030252)

Stupid fucktard troll. What have you invented in your lifetime other than a way for you to waste your life away by posting idiotic comments?

Re:it took him 6 months? (4, Insightful)

C. E. Sum (1065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030261)

Invent and code in PDP11 *optimizing* assembler? 6 months seems like a prtty short time to me.

No legacy (2, Funny)

kybred (795293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031242)

Invent and code in PDP11 *optimizing* assembler? 6 months seems like a prtty short time to me.

He didn't have any legacy code to contend with! (only half kidding).

Re:it took him 6 months? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030291)

Read the article?

It was not an easy task and the guy had only 56k of ram to work in on a primptive PDP11 with no networking hardware.

It was homebrew to the core and he had to rewrite his software several times and write his own optimization code in assembly because even the best c compilers produced code that was too big.

In that 56k or ram he used buffers to handle the 3 megs per second transfer rates. Pretty damn impressive and I would assume would be impossible.

Re:it took him 6 months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15032352)

Not so impossible...when its memory usage goes near 100% it may just drop packets..

Or it could just flush some of the buffers. Certainly higher-level protocols like tcp would handle this. It would just slow down the communication. And in case the router connects networks with equal bandwidth (3mbit/s in that case) there should not be so much buffering cause heavy buffering occurs when you have to connect a high-speed network to a lower-speed one. Packets must be buffered before they can be send to the lower-speed network.

But of course, if the rate of your incoming packets is high and you have to check them against some rule list (routing table) they would be buffered too..

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15034989)

Not so impossible...when its memory usage goes near 100% it may just drop packets..

Well, obviously it wasn't imposisble. But of course you size your system so this event is relatively rare. Which in the day meant spending beaucoup bucks. If you remember hardware prices in the late 70s early 80s, the memory for the PDP-11 series in the mid 70s was something like four grand for an 8K board, in today's dollars over $10,000. The base PDP-11/05 unit with 8K or RAAM was about $6500, or well over $16,000 in today's terms.

And since the PDP/11 only had a 16 bit memory address space, the most you could stuff into it was 64K memory, and you'd spend what in today's dollars is over $90,000 for what amounts to what a hobbyist can buy in a PIC for about $20 (of course without the case, software, manuals power supply etc). So, software memory optimizations that avoided allowing one router where two would be needed would have been a huge win, well worth six months of engineer time on a production system. You've paid his salary after two or three boxes were saved.

Of course, switching to the 68000 must have changed things considerably. By the early 80s, RAM cost was about 1/3 of the 70s core memory, and you could address a lot more with the 68K's 24 bit memory address space: 16MB.

Today, you'd never spend six months of engineer time to save eight or sixteen k or memory.

Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15038114)

56 kilobytes? Luxury! When I was young, we had 6 bits, and I had 13 coworkers to share them with. We didn't have high-level toys like an optimizing assembler, either -- we had to go in and change the bit states by hand.

Re:it took him 6 months? (5, Insightful)

malraid (592373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030297)

What have YOU done in six months (or less) that would compare to this?

Re:it took him 6 months? (2, Funny)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030333)

I learned how to write "Hello World" from a command line to my screen!

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030664)

That took you six months? It took me six minutes. Thank you W3Schools.com http://www.w3schools.com/js/js_howto.asp [w3schools.com]

Re:it took him 6 months? (2, Funny)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030781)

That was my thesis.

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15042806)

That was my thesis.

You forgot - "you insensitive clod!" :-)

Re:it took him 6 months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030335)

Spot on.

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030454)

and would you call this an invention? i mean yeah he invented it... but it seems like it was pretty inevatable, if he wouldn't have done it I'm sure someone else would have in short order...
Hmm. So on that basis, I suppose that... say... television couldn't be called an invention, since two men came up with competing technologies independently... I mean, if one failed the other was bound to have done it "in short order".
don't want to sound like i'm belittling him
That's a pity, because it's exactly what you sounded like. Can I suggest that you're being contrary for the sake of it, desperate to get a first post?

Re:it took him 6 months? (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030490)

6 months seems like a long time to invent a multi-protocol router You've obviously never written network protocol stacks. While an extremely competent developer might be able to crank out an IP-only router in about 2 months, supporting TCP/IP, Netware and NetBIOS simultaneously would probably take me (with 25 years experience in networking software) at least 6 months of C coding to write one from scratch, and that's assuming all protocols were well documented and no reverse-engineering was required, which probably was NOT true at the time. So while developing a router in 6 months doesn't strike me as impossible, his accomplishment certainly puts him in the top 5% of coders out there.

Re:it took him 6 months? (4, Interesting)

aschlemm (17571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031091)

You must not have been around that long then as the development tools from the early 1980s were pretty primative by today's standards. I started working with computers in the early 1980's and we used primative line editors to write code. It was terrible as the editor forced you to relist your program over and over again. Making code changes like deletions, or insertions was very clunky and you could easly remove the wrong line or group of lines with an errant editor command.

I never saw a full screen editor until I started working on a DEC VAX system running VMS. It was the same thing with microcomputers like the Apple II or 8080 or Z80-based CP/M-80 systems. I was using a line editor until I got a copy of WordStar for CP/M-80 which gave me some full screen editing capabilites. The microcomputers were 8bit with a maximum of 64K of memory and there wasn't any memory protection. So an errant program could lockup a microcomputer very quickly.

I even managed to damage a few floppy disks in my Apple II when I was working on 6502 assembly code. My code went through and poked Apple DOS somewhere and the floppy drive unit turned on and did something bad to the floppy disk inside. The disk failed all attempts at reformating and so I just had to throw the disk out. The only fullscreen editor I ever saw for programming on the Apple II was the full screen editor in their Apple Pascal environment which was based on the UCD Pascal environment. The compiler generated pCode and was executed by a pCode interpreter written in 6502 assembly language.

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

jnelson4765 (845296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031690)

Ahhh... Apple Pascal... Memories of CompSci classes in high school (until we raided the library for a couple of IBMs :)

Yeah, it wasn't until MS-DOS 5.0 that PCs came with a decent editor - anyone who ever had to use edlin to fix their autoexec.bat file can attest to just how much better the DOS 5 editor was...

I recently went back and fired up an old copy of Borland Turbo Pascal - the version I used in high school for my science fair experiments. It's actually painful to use those old tools nowadays - modern IDEs with syntax highlighting and all the rest of the goodies make things a hell of a lot easier.

OTOH, the machines were so much simpler - even the (at the time) complicated 386 with its protected mode and 16-bit ISA or MCA cards is a toy nowadays.

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

aschlemm (17571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036288)

Turbo Pascal takes me back...I had a version of it for CP/M-80 and it was a a great advancement. It would stop at the first compile error but it was so darn fast to compile it didn't really matter that I had to recompile after I corrected an error. I was still way more productive compared to having edit code, exit the editor, run the compiler and capture the output into a another file. Then fire up the editor again and then have to try to fix the errors based upon the output in the compiler listing. To do that meant going back and forth between the source code and the compiler listing in the editor (since the environment did have windows) which got to be a pain.

It was actually easier to get a printout of the compiler listing and then check off each fix with a red pen on the paper as I fixed it in the code. Once I checked off all of the errors I'd restart the compiler and see if there were any more errors. Compilers generatlly had pretty good error recovery to try to get past syntax errors in code so they didn't incorrectly flag correct code as having syntax errors as well. I think that probably was an artifact of the old batch days where you didn't have the luxury to keep having to submit your compile job over and over again to flesh out syntax errors. I know I was shocked once I started doing C programming under Unix and one syntax error in a program could cause the compiler to flag syntax errors on other lines of the program that were actually correct.

I'm not sure if younger developers that missed those old days realize how great they have it now with multi-windowed IDE's which make doing development so much easier. I knew even when I first started programming that I was lucky that punch-cards were dying and I was darn lucky to have a line editor on a glass CRT.

Re:it took him 6 months? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15033952)

we have a saying in #plan9 : "you're not a geek until you can use ed"

Things have come so far. (0, Flamebait)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030198)

Now we have craploads of protocols and routers to handle them all. Learning about routers and interoperability was probably the best part of my Networking course. Learning protocols like X.25, Kermit, ATM, and how each one of them has to handle encapsulating data. Just think of an ethernet frame fractured into ATM frames, put into TCP/IP and and sent over the internet, and then having to be converted back.

Re:Things have come so far. (2, Insightful)

teckfrek (921842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030464)

Clearly, you didn't listen in your best class. TCP/IP is encapsulated in ethrenet frames which are encapsulated in ATM Cells which are then multiplexed onto either TDM or SONET backbones. All of which is part of the Internet.

Re:Things have come so far. (-1, Troll)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030529)

Pardon me for not meeting your exacting standards. Not everyone here cares for that much detail. Mention SONET in a sentence and a good deal of people will think you spelled sonnet wrong.

Re:Things have come so far. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030583)

What the fuck are you doing here then? News for nerds? Hello?

Re:Things have come so far. (-1, Flamebait)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030905)

somebody mod this one -1 flaimbait too please.

Re:Things have come so far. (2, Funny)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031164)

Not me you idiot! :)

Re:Things have come so far. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031425)

Nice job asshole. I'm supremely glad you got modded flamebait too.

Re:Things have come so far. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030761)

Clearly, you didn't listen in your best class. TCP/IP is encapsulated in ethrenet frames which are encapsulated in ATM Cells which are then multiplexed onto either TDM or SONET backbones.

Clearly, you didn't "listen in your best class" (whatever that means) either. "ethrenet" is spelled E-T-H-E-R-N-E-T.

Re:Things have come so far. (3, Informative)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030619)

"Just think of an ethernet frame fractured into ATM frames, put into TCP/IP and and sent over the internet, and then having to be converted back."

Well take it from a networking 4 th year Phd. your description of layering and encapsulation is totally wrong. I don't blame you, I blame the ignorant mod who gave you +1.

TCP/IP segment-> ethernet frame or TCP/IP segment-> ATM -> SONET (perhaps) or TCP/IP->MPLS

there is no need to encapsulate ethernet frame in ATM, since in the case of IP traffic both ATM and Ethernet are layer 2 protocols. you either have a 802.3 LAN or point to point ATM links.

Re:Things have come so far. (1)

saridder (103936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031170)

To be really anal:

TCP/UDP Segment > IP Packet > Ethernet Frame/ATM Cell > physical wire

Or... Some People Feel Bad (1)

Flower (31351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031392)

Segments Packets Frames Bits Which paired up with All People Seem To Need Data Processing. Oh the mnemonics we would share. :P

Re:Or... Some People Feel Bad (1)

saridder (103936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031436)

I learned it bottom up as - Please Do Not Tell Secret Passwords to Anyone :)

Re:Or... Some People Feel Bad (1)

blargh-dot-com (181292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031886)

One I just learned:
Any Person Studying This Needs Desperate Psychotherapy.

Re:Things have come so far. (1)

jgs (245596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031400)

there is no need to encapsulate ethernet frame in ATM,

True, but since when has lack of need prevented new networking technologies from being invented? Try googling "ethernet over ATM".

I don't blame you, from the perspective of 2006 who'd'a thunk that somebody would actually do that? Hopefully your dissertation defense won't hinge on a detailed knowledge of misbegotten networking technologies.

Re:Things have come so far. (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031574)

Indeed I went to far generalizing. I must admit I never examined an ethernet or PPP over ATM system but I was aware of their possible existence since in networking in many occasions useless systems are implemented just because they can. I never bothered looking into something like that, as I have much more important subjects to research about like say IP over ATM works, which are really great. I should have rephrased my statement as "No useful system layering would involve ethernet over ATM and most likely this is not what they tought you in Networks 101"

Re:Things have come so far. (2, Informative)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031809)

We have come far. However your order of encapsulation steps is a bit off.

The application data is packaged into the 1472-byte payload of a TCP/IP packet. That TCP/IP packet is handed off to the network interface adapter. For this example lets assume it's an Ethernet nic. The Ethernet nic (its driver or the actual ASIC on a fancy server nic) encapsulates the TCP/IP packet and stuffs it in the 1500-byte payload of an Ethernet frame (again we're glossing over the possibility of jumbo frames). Lets gloss over all of the network stuff between your nic, your LAN switch, your core router, and your WAN router (and everything else in between, assuming of course that your LAN is entirely composed of Ethernet-based technologies). Your WAN router will accept the Ethernet frame on an Ethernet-based interface. The ASICs deconstruct the Ethernet frame to extract the TCP/IP packet inside. The TCP/IP packet's header give the WAN router the destination IP address of the TCP/IP packet. Gloss over the routing decision process. Also for simplicity's sake lets assume that your router connects to the Internet via one of a couple dozen methods that involve ATM. The WAN router now takes the TCP/IP packet and fragments it, stuffing the fragments into 53-byte ATM cells (48-byte payload). Toss in some POS, MPLS, etc, etc, yadda, yadda. And finally you more or less reverse these steps for the remote end. Again, we're glossing over a lot here. This is a little more technically accuratee than your summarization. The only time that I can recall Ethernet frames being fragmented and stuffed into ATM cells (complete with the Ethernet frame's payload contents) is some implementations using LANE.

But yes it is impressive how far things have come.

No, it's not still here. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030205)

I work in Pine Hall. I just looked in the aforementioned telephone closet, and, while there's still a chunk of thick-net on the wall, the router's gone.

Re:No, it's not still here. (1)

C. E. Sum (1065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030295)

Maybe the vampires [wikipedia.org] got it?

Re:No, it's not still here. (2, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030389)

It's behind the locked metal panel in the upper right of the corner of the wall right of the door.

Re:No, it's not still here. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030431)

Bill? Is that you? - Had to hide the bugger pretty good to keep the engineers from fucking with it...

Re:No, it's not still here. (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15032238)

...in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard."

things change (4, Interesting)

GunFodder (208805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031496)

I remember visiting my dad at the UCSC computer center. There was an observation window with a view into their brightly lit dinosaur pen. There were rows of computers and tape drives that looked more like appliances. People were scurrying around attending to the care and feeding of these machines.

A few years ago I went back to this same computer center. The lights were off and no one was there. There were a variety of behemoth machines in the shadows around the room that looked like they hadn't been fired up in years. There was a row of relatively tiny Sun servers running down the middle of the room that appeared to be handling the workload that previously took a room full big iron. My dad showed me one Vax 11/780 in the corner that was still being used as a mail server. But there was already a plan to decommission this last vestige of a bygone era, thanks to its enormous appetite for power.

I'll say it again (4, Insightful)

C. E. Sum (1065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030239)

The social aspects of computing can be just as interesting as the actual technology. We have the tale here of a smart guy who got a project dropped on him to do some in-house work. His work (almost directly, and at the expense of litigation) evolved into Cisco's IOS.

The latter half of the article is even less about tech details than the first half, recounting his (mis?)adventures at Sun.

As a side note, either I'm missing something or he's being misquoted. IP has always been 32bit addressed, right? I'm assuming it's 3mbit ethernet that was 16bit?

Re:I'll say it again (3, Informative)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030378)

Look at RFC 675: 16 bits: Destination TCP address

The protocol version number is probably different now. The hardware didn't care about the protocol on top. I worked on converting a system from 3MBit to the new 10MBit ethernet in 1980 but I never knew or cared about IP addresses.

Re:I'll say it again (2, Informative)

C. E. Sum (1065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030432)

Yeah... But he was specifically talking about IP (As opposed to TCP/Arpanet or whatever). The earliest IEN I can find a softcopy of (111, from 1979) refences IP as 32bits (and at "version 4").

Re:I'll say it again (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030655)

Stanford's 3MB Ethernet started out using Pup, which was 16-bits (8 bit net and 8 bit host address). The Pup address also function as what we know today as the MAC address.

When TCP/IP was added, the 32-bit value was formed as 36.nnn.0.hhh where nnn was the Pup net address and hhh was the Pup host address.

Re:I'll say it again (3, Interesting)

tomherbst (888500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030699)

I think they were mapping the existing PUP into the IP address. Since PUP is two 8 bit numbers
it would map cleanly into the third and forth octets of a v4 IP address. When I was at
Xerox I also mapped IP and the PUP space, but it was in '87 and we ARP'ed (and PROBEd - thank
you hp). We did the mapping to leverage the existing addressing plan. Since he was just
doing this for Stanford he may have hardcoded the other two octets.

Xerox also had multiprotocol routers called Dicentras hand crafted at PARC. They were also
based on multibus boxes with 2901 bitslice processor "D machines". They routed PUP and XNS.
Hardware, software and ideas seems to flow around the valley pretty freely in the 80's, so I
don't know which came first. A project was started to implement IP on them, but it
was easier to just buy cisco processor boards and stick them in the dicentra chassis full
of 3COM ethernet cards; that made them useful until the 68000's ran out of gas.

tom

Re:I'll say it again (1)

C. E. Sum (1065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031762)

Ah, when the net was wild and wooley.

Thanks for the additional info -- I was pretty sure that I was missing something major here.

3 meg Enet has an 8 bit address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031709)

Originally set by jumpers on the Alto backplane.

Re:I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031799)

There have been serveral incarnations of "ethernet." Yes, it's confusing, but Ethernet is almost a brand, to the point where people think Ethernet == Network.

With the 16 bit addressing, he's talking about the transport layer, not the protocol layer(s). So that particular version of ethernet had 2 byte addresses.

Cisco is a successful company... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030582)

because they swiped someone else's code, and took credit for something that wasn't theirs.

Every day, we hear tripe about how "for businesses to succeed", we need strong IP laws to encourage them: but time and time again, we find out that the real innovation happens outside corporations: in universities and startups, and then the sharks in the suits swoop in, lie about what they have and what it can do, lie to the public and the shareholders, and claim to have been the "innovative" ones, and that the "hand of the market" is responsible for their success.

In this case, we have evidence of yet another company that succeeded through underhanded tactics, and yet has trumpeted to the stars just how "innovative" they were. And yet again, their "innovation" was the result of a lie.

IP laws don't work; they don't reward the innovator; and they're a bad idea; because you can't get around a basic law of business -- people who spend their lives trying to find underhanded ways to screw you over will probably succeed unless you work just as hard to stop them; and the people who are focused on doing good, honest work are too busy trying to get stuff done to notice the sneaky corporate weasles that are up to no good and out to steal their work.

Re:Cisco is a successful company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15030731)

because they swiped someone else's code, and took credit for something that wasn't theirs.


Sadly, this is exactly what happened. I was there when it happened. It was quite a scandal.

Stanford actually wanted to press charges and shut cisco down, but then discovered that Stanford's investment arm had invested in cisco! As usual, one arm of the university didn't know what another was doing.

Routing the past (2, Informative)

Idol_Handzz (784370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030808)

I get my Network World every week like clockwork, and they seem to accumulate somewhere around my desk in a little pile. This article caught my eye, and I read it from start to finish twice. It was really quite fascinating. I understand routing, and while it is fairly simple these days, I can't imagine trying to code the first one. There was nothing to base anything on. He didn't just write the code, he invented the theory, tested it, and proved it could work.

By the way, the whole issue is one that everybody should read, even if only for the timelines. Most issues have at least one interesting article in them, although this is by far the most interesting.

Just my 2 cents

Re:Routing the past (2, Insightful)

rakkasan (444517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15034030)

What the average slashdotter doesn't get is this guy is one of the original alpha geeks. He deserves loads more credit. He didn't suggest ideas to a committee, he built the tools, then built the device. That takes an intimate understanding of the subject way beyond what I have for sure. He is of the generation that sent man to the moon using mostly paper and pencil math. We build on the shoulders of common men with extraordinary insights into thier craft.

Thing is - times change, I used to work with a retired IBMer who could design and build a working pc using vacuum tubes, but had difficulty loading drivers in windows. Different times, different skillsets.

Re:Routing the past (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15034754)

Hmm... I guess Winders ain't backward-compatible with vacuum tubes... ;-)

flight sim (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15030934)

didn't this guy have a flight sim back when my XT was in full force? or am i dreaming?

Re:flight sim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031013)

You're thinking of Chuck Yeager's Air Combat [wikipedia.org] .

Re:flight sim (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031072)

holy crap. thats it ... vivid memories of crashing into those triangle mountains....
and, i stand corrected.

cheers

Re:flight sim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031251)

How does anyone who visits ./ not know who Chuck Yeager is?

Re:flight sim (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15033885)

dunno, never been to ./

the real meat of TFA (2, Interesting)

bobbyshade (906085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15031451)

the past is cool, but it is just that. past. what i found most interesting in TFA was what Mr. Yeager is up these days. like his new patent for a P2P net called "Peerouette-Network" and what it will be capable of. have a read . http://www.freshpatents.com/Global-community-namin g-authority-dt20060112ptan20060010251.php [freshpatents.com]

nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031561)

News for nerds, where we still don't know the difference between MB and Mb, where we also don't know that gig/meg is both plural and singular and doesn't require an S since it's not english.

Old White Male (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15031625)

Thought so.

Wow, all that (1)

Antifuse (651387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15032593)

*AND* he was the first man to break the speed of sound? Oh, wait, wrong Yeager [chuckyeager.com]

Economic, meet engineering (2, Insightful)

elpapacito (119485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15033379)

Quoting Yeager

I always ran into walls at Sun, company politics, and that never worked out too well. When I was at Stanford there was a rule: The best engineering wins. Simple, straightforward. If your engineering is better than the other guy's, yours got the blue ribbon. Well at Sun, and at companies in general, it's different. It's the politically correct software that gets productized.

Which is recipe for disaster as technology wins 9 times out of 10. Audio compression + internet + PC are reshaping the music business kicking freeloader rentier companies away from the profits ; if the CEO CIO and whatnot were to decide the fate of technology, MP3 was certainly going to be canceled.

Obviously the abovesaid managers will complain that MP3 reduced the value of music and that Mp3 caused more unemployement, less developement of music etc etc. They are right when they say MP3 collapsed their artificial scarity profit scheme, their copyright abuse and incredible overpricing.

Imagine what cool technology is being canceled right now, because of that reasoning.

Was I the only one? (1)

cwilly (888621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15034366)

Surely I'm not the only one who saw that headline and immediately had my internal radio station playing "Rocket Man", only as "Router Maaaaan..."

Yes (1)

hanakj (164293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038743)

Yes

Too bad cisco wasn't really the first ... (1)

my_2_cent (955472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039283)

J. Noel Chiappa wrote multiprotocol router software while at MIT and licensed it to Proteon, a token ring networking company. Proteon sold the p4200 multibus multiprotocol router with token ring fiber optic backbones quite a while before cisco built their first AGS router. Some might say that Chiappa stole the MIT code, like cisco stole the Stanford code. But there is no doubt that a Proteon p4200 could be bought before cisco had any product for sale. Left coast techno bias, I suppose.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...