[TUHS] TUHS Digest, Vol 14, Issue 63

Ken Thompson ken at google.com
Tue Jan 17 05:57:08 AEST 2017

note: this is my partisan recollection.

a network proposal would arise from the
previous BIG network failure. it would have
a name like super-colossal-inter-galactic-hyper-
bolic-better-than-last-time network.
it would have merits that spoke to the failure
of the last attempt. then some marketeers
(all sun-tanned ex-IBM executives, i do
remember one in particular -- roger moody)
would try to get bell to warp the engineering
so that they had an advantage from the
inside on content. after all, money was to
be made on services, not transportation.
this would make the engineering teeter
and after more and more "requirements"
it would eventually fall. and then we start
over with "stupendous" added to the
new project name.

thus, it is my opinion that it was totally
impossible to make a network with
engineers direct by marketeers. there
are several things that should also
be understood. the bell vs ibm rivalry;
the new competition on phones;
the desire to be in services and not

On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:21 AM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> It is pretty stunning that the company that had the largest network
> in the world (the phone system of course) didn't get packet switching
> at all.  I dunno how Bell Labs was allowed to do all that great work
> with management that clueless, that's a minor (major?) miracle right
> there.
> On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:17:09AM -0800, Steve Johnson wrote:
>> This comment reminded me of an internal talk I attended at Bell
>> Labs.?? It had the single most powerful slide I've ever seen in a
>> talk.?? It was a talk about internal networking, and the slide looked
>> like your standard network diagram -- lots of circles with lots of
>> lines connecting them.?? The computation centers were networked.??
>> UUCP was on there, and datakit.
>> But dead in the middle of the slide was a circle that had absolutely
>> no connections with anything.?? Of course, somebody asked about, and
>> was told "Oh.?? That's the networking department..."
>> As I recall, said department ceased to exist about a month later...
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Larry McVoy" <lm at mcvoy.com>
>> . . .
>>  AT&T seemed pretty clueless about networking.
>> . . .
> --
> ---
> Larry McVoy                  lm at mcvoy.com             http://www.mcvoy.com/lm

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