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GENI To Replace Internet, Gets $12M Funding 295

Postglobalism writes "A massive project to redesign and rebuild the Internet from scratch is inching along with $12 million in government funding and donations of network capacity by two major research organizations. Many researchers want to rethink the Internet's underlying architecture, saying a 'clean-slate' approach is the only way to truly address security and other challenges that have cropped up since the Internet's birth in 1969."
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GENI To Replace Internet, Gets $12M Funding

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  • by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:44AM (#24416681) Journal
    Do we have enough porn for an entirely new Internet?
    • Porn is not a problem. We have the technology. We can rebuild it.

      • by strelitsa ( 724743 ) * on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:48AM (#24416771) Journal

        Not rebuild it - erect it.

        (snicker, snort)

      • by wooferhound ( 546132 ) <tim&wooferhound,com> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:16AM (#24417265) Homepage
        Oscar Goldman:
        The Internet, A network barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic internet. GENI will be that internet. Better than it was before. Better, stronger, harder, deeper, faster.
        • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:27AM (#24417475) Homepage Journal
          A new and 'better' internet?

          I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and guess this 'new' more 'secure' internet will not allow for any type of anonymity, and more ease of tracking who says what and when in a more easily searched and archived format...both for government AND corporations.

          After all, the current internet, for some reason, seems not to have been designed with big business commerce nor strict government control. Something that obviously (rolls eyes) needs to be fixed the 2nd time around.

          I mean...the nerve of people getting on a system, where every computer is a peer, and can publish their thoughts willy-nilly and interconnect in ways not expressedly sanctioned by our government officials that obviously know what's better and safer for us.

          Not to mention how it is often used now to closely monitor and poke fun at said officials...

          • Well my wife and I have long said that SSN's should be replaced with IP's
          • by 12AU7A ( 676539 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:45AM (#24417841)

                It's really easy to talk like that, but look at CB verses Ham Radio. The Internet we have today is like CB radio...anyone can transmit and receive. CB radio has its advantages and disadvantages. More serious radio users got into ham radio where users were more serious about radio communications, you were identified by a license, and it was highly regulated by the government. With the regulation came improved communications.

                CB is good for some, ham radio good for others. So too with this. They should have a general Internet like the noisy CB band, and the other Internet with more regulation and better communications.

            • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:58AM (#24418107)

              "It's really easy to talk like that, but look at CB verses Ham Radio. The Internet we have today is like CB radio...anyone can transmit and receive. CB radio has its advantages and disadvantages"

              While I agree with you in theory, in practice we know corporations are going to do their damnest to lock it down and be able to block and censor and "black out" websites they don't like. They HATE the fact that information is free, they want to enclose the last commons which is infinite (information, ideas, etc), we can't let these pieces of capitalist shit have it. (no offense to other capitalists who genuinely believe in freedom of information)

            • " It's really easy to talk like that, but look at CB verses Ham Radio. The Internet we have today is like CB radio...anyone can transmit and receive. CB radio has its advantages and disadvantages."

              Interesting analogy. A year or so ago...I got a CB radio for my car, since many in my car club have them, and is fun when we all go on roadtrips (handy keeping 30-60 cars together). I never did have one as a kid in the old CB heydays of the 70's.

              I must say, it is fun with it on the open road...talking to tru

              • Well, the problem of people keying over each other on CB would need a capacity increase. Of course, that means channels, and that means we can't all ask about where the Smokeys are at once. Which is insolvable with CB technology. Truckers need to be posting to a Wiki for local reports. Ah, an idea! I can make money with this! BAHAHA!

                Seriously, though, if everyone had a CB when Katrina hit NO, the reports would be "Traffic is hopelessly snarled, you can't get out, you should have left two days ago, get t

            • by visualight ( 468005 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:59AM (#24418125) Homepage

              With the regulation came improved communications

              I don't understand how a regulated internet is going to improve communications.

              • by Adriax ( 746043 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:40AM (#24418945)

                It will improve approved communications, non-approved communications like P2P, anonymous posting, and exposing the rich and powerful's shortcommings, negative comments about our corporate overlords, ect... will obviously not be allowed. That will free up bandwidth for approved communications, improving their speed and reliability.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by funaho ( 42567 )

              I think a better analogy is that the Internet is the medium, and CB is like IRC. But if you want a more regulated chat, well, you can find those on the Internet too. There's room for both on the same network.

          • I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and guess this 'new' more 'secure' internet will not allow for any type of anonymity, and more ease of tracking who says what and when in a more easily searched and archived format...both for government AND corporations.

            That's a very good point, and I agree that is a danger of a clean slate internet to some degree.

            I think that if personal accountability is done RIGHT to some degree it will dramatically improve security for users at the same time and maybe REDUCE the amou

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Stiletto ( 12066 )

              Consider this... if it's setup such that a server can be 100% sure about who it's communicating with, then we could probably come close to eradicating spam and malware... ...and whistle-blowers and rape/abuse victims and critics of totalitarian governments and anyone else who may just want to discuss a controversial or taboo topic anonymously.

              • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @12:54PM (#24420381) Journal

                Bingo! We have a winner! The way I look at it is this: Would YOU trust THIS government,with the FISA dodging,retro immunity,warrantless wiretapping,etc to design ANYTHING that wouldn't log everything you did and everywhere you went?

                That is why we need to hang onto the current Internet with our dying breath,because I can GUARANTEE you that anything that comes along to replace it with be so Big Brother friendly it might as well have the "Big Brother is watching you" logo pop up on connection. The power mad rule the land and there is no way they'll allow any kind of new network that doesn't have their goals in mind.

                Can you imagine if it was easy to find out who posted what and make it(and possibly them) disappear? No Abu Ghraib scandal,no photos or videos out of Iraq that wasn't "The winning of hearts and minds",etc. The Internet would end up like that old joke from Airplane II "Today a 4 alarm fire made way for GLORIOUS new tractor factory!". Because that is all we would get:spin. You might be able to say "Brand X sucks,you should buy Brand Y!" but that is about as far as you would get to dissent. Personally,I'm still waiting for them to pull the "We have to block teh eveil kiddy pr0n and its awful child pr0nograhers!" and give us a great US firewall that just happens to block wikileaks,The Pirate Bay,and lots of other undesirable sites "by accident". But as always this is my 02c based on what I see on our news every day,YMMV

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            the nerve of people getting on a system, where every computer is a peer, and can publish their thoughts willy-nilly and interconnect in ways not expressedly sanctioned by our government officials that obviously know what's better and safer for us.

            It's not just the government who would love to restrict our speech, but corporations as well. Imagine if the Internet had built in systems to keep people from saying anything negative about MegaCorporation X. Imagine if the Internet's basic systems kept you from

    • by Palidase ( 566673 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:47AM (#24416733)

      Do we have enough porn for an entirely new Internet?

      If you build it, they will.... It's just too easy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by rallymatte ( 707679 ) *
      The question isn't if there is enough, but if there will ever be a fast and good enough Internet for all the porn that's out there?
    • Yes, plenty. Though there may be a shortage of lolcats.
    • The loss of all that porn would leave a gaping hole that must be filled!

  • Oh boy! OSI 2.0! (Score:4, Informative)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['tar' in gap]> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:44AM (#24416687) Homepage Journal

    Web 2.0 isn't good enough, let's have OSI 2.0! Love them X.400 email addresses, wot?

  • Other challenges? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JonTurner ( 178845 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:48AM (#24416761) Journal

    Other challenges, indeed. Such as surveillance, "trusted" computing, IP "protection", etc.

    The new internet will be locked down much tighter, I am certain.

  • Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:48AM (#24416763) Journal

    They need to ditch this open, uncontrollable Internet for something the governments have more control over.

  • Inertia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:49AM (#24416793) Homepage

    For better or worse, I think that we're stuck with what we've got. We'd really be better off improving the Internet we have (DNSSEC, end-to-end encryption on all protocols by default, PKI for the masses) than redesigning it from the ground up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Whitemice ( 139408 )

      We are improving what we have, it's called IPv6. Faster, lower latency, less load on routers, better address assignment, and connection-level encryption.

  • 12 Million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hyppy ( 74366 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:49AM (#24416795)
    Even if they had 12 billion dollars, it wouldn't scratch the surface of the cost of recreating the Internet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Apparently it will only take $350 million. Whether that's accurate or not is another story. Just what TFA says.
      • ... Whether that's accurate or not is another story. Just what TFA says ...

        First rule of /. Never RTFA!
        Second rule of /. Never RTFA!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by besalope ( 1186101 )

        Apparently it will only take $350 million. Whether that's accurate or not is another story. Just what TFA says.

        Right... and that $200 Billion we gave the Telecos back in the '90s was supposed to garner us a full fiber network by 2000. Oh.. wait...

    • Maybe for 12 million they could buy a single core switch and connect everybody to it... a lot of cable to lay, but that's worth trying, the Internet would be far less complicated. One ISP. One Core Switch. One Zettabyte per second. Amaaaaazing!
  • Won't ever happen (Score:5, Informative)

    by dlgeek ( 1065796 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:51AM (#24416829)
    First off, once you read past the sensationalist headlines, the article just says that they are establishing a very high capacity research network to study new protocols, not trying to create a parallel infrastructure. However, that being said, trying to redesign the Internet's protocols from scratch isn't necessarily a bad idea, the current model is definitely showing its age. For example, TCP has a lot of issues on links with large bandwidth-delay products, resulting in lots of extensions and forks to support these links.

    The real problem is getting a critical mass to switch. Just look at the state of IPv6 support in home networking gear and the lack of implementation all over the web. My guess is that this will lead to some new standards that will maybe be used by people doing experiments with tons of data and nobody else. Don't expect to see this work coming to a router near you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      >trying to redesign the Internet's protocols from scratch isn't necessarily a bad idea

      Very true. We'd be foolish to blindly freeze our technology in the 20th century.

      But whatever redesign shakes out of this might be worse. The US government is funding this with the intention to improve security.

      It may not be the users' security they have in mind.

      • Re:Won't ever happen (Score:5, Informative)

        by dlgeek ( 1065796 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:22AM (#24417365)
        The grant is from the NSF, not the DoD which implies it is more scientific in nature.

        However, even if it was from the DoD or NSA, the government has a strong interest in improving US users' security, so as to protect US companies from foreign espionage. Look at the NSA's contribution to various crypto algorithms (agreed upon by the security community as positive) or to SELinux.
  • Wheels 2.0 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by janeuner ( 815461 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:52AM (#24416847)
    This new version of the wheel offers an anti-bubblegum coating, side curtain airbags to protect it from damage during a crash, and laser-etched tread for maximum efficiency. Seriously, why use tires when you can have a shiny new set Wheels 2.0?
  • by AsciiNaut ( 630729 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:53AM (#24416881)
    Typical. I've only just finished printing out the current Internet.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:55AM (#24416911)
    And all were abysmal, expensive failures. The marketplace can be extremely conservative at times.
  • by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:56AM (#24416915) Homepage

    Since the Internet is really just a collection of smaller privately-owned networks connected on common backbones, is it even possible to 'replace' it? I'm not sure what the goal is here. Sounds like herding cats to me.

  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:56AM (#24416917) Homepage Journal

    ... control, as in censorship, and target marketing. Where you can have a web site but nobody can see it .... now that's security....

    So, a system where being on the internet is a right, but being seen on the internet is a privilege you have to pay for.

  • by mynickwastaken ( 690966 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:56AM (#24416925)
    Invest in Tubes Industry.
    They will need a lot of those.
  • Subject is from The Simpsons, in case you didn't know.

    Interesting news. Big issues, though: compatibility with the old internet will have to be maintained during a change-over time period... compatibility with old infrastructure must be maintained (running old IP, IPv6, and whatever else they develop for the "New" Internet on the same lines will be a challenge)... and government regulation and intervention should be minimal, regardless how much $$$ they pump in.

    If they pull this off, they'll have really accomplished something worthwhile. Otherwise, it's just vaporware and an interesting experiment in re-designing the wheel.

  • But but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Panaflex ( 13191 ) <convivialdingo@yah o o . c om> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:58AM (#24416971)

    The internet we use today is totally different from 1969 (or 1981, or 1991). The internet evolves Darwin style already. Who uses DecNET or Banyan Vines? How about uunet, gated, gopher, or telnet?

    It's gone, baby, gone.

    Hell - we're having enough trouble replacing a simply-ass DNS server... who can imagine a peaceful replacement of entire the Internet (other than power-hungry numbnuts?)

  • Arrogance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:03AM (#24417039)
    A new architecture means there are thousands of things to be worked out and fixed before it can get to the same level as the current implementation. Think a decade or two, with significant funding (think billions).

    Systems that evolved are often not ideal or perfect, but they do work. Iterative evolution is important, because sometimes it's just not feasible to design something.
  • $12 million dollars to design an infrastructure to replace a multi-billion (maybe trillion?) dollar network from the ground up?

    I know that they're not implementing the new network right now, but I don't see how this isn't just throwing money away. $12m dollars is the governmental equivalent of chicken scratch

  • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:07AM (#24417111)

    Alright, you guys make this whole "new internet" thing, and we're you're done we'll just all switch to it all at the same time OK? We just need to schedule a date for when to switch to that new Internet thing. We should do it during a quiet time of the year, the month of December sounds appropriate, and I reckon it should take you guys quite a few years..

    How does December 21st, 2012 sound? I have nothing in my schedule for *that* day... Too apocalyptic maybe?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:17AM (#24417285) Journal
    I'm not saying, by any means, that our present internet is perfect, it isn't, but I am inclined to view any attempt to rebuild it from scratch with grave suspicion. We got lucky the first time, since the academics managed to build something worthwile before the regulators, incumbents, and other vultures took notice. That will not be the case this time. All too often, when somebody says that the internet is broken, they are talking about minor little details like its peer-to-peer structure, relative openness, and concentration of intelligence at the edges of the network, not performance of TCP-IP over high-latency connections or similar.
  • and while we're at it, can we toss out and redesign HTML/JavaScript/CSS/etc? Even the whole stateless HTTP protocol.

    Web apps make me sick. Poor debugging tools, haphazard implementations and markup languages that have been over-extended make web development feel like we've gone back 20 years in terms of capabilities for software.

    AJAX is a hack built upon other hacks. Framework libraries are a dime a dozen and none seem to be flexible enough to do what you need to do. QA'ing a complex web app is a mess.
  • But can't we at least learn from their mistakes?

    I somehow think MS pumped more than petty 12m into MSN. And? Failure. Why? Because it was not what people wanted.

    Is that "new internet" what I want? Most likely, it's not. Can we be sure that it will be rife with tools to monitor, to snoop, to dissect my behaviour so to "serve me better" (read: target the ad spam better)? Or to do even worse? I'm kinda inclined to think so, considering the recent developments in laws in general and the "old school" internet in

  • when you begin to address privacy and security at the protocol and architecture level, you also begin to enable governmental control

    one of the biggest philosophical issues that people don't seem to understand is that there is no such thing as centralized privacy, or government-enforced privacy. you constantly see stories on slashdot bemoaning government's inability to protect your privacy. its completely absurd. the only one who can protect your privacy is you

    it is an utter oxymoronic, paradoxical way of thinking to believe government policies and privacy can coexist in the same thought process. people constantly inveigh the government to do more about privacy. no. you don't want to involve the government in privacy, in any way. if you want privacy and security, YOU need to take steps to make that work, on your own. to involve a large controlling entity to do that... what? can we say not getting the concept?

    any system built to ensure "privacy" is essentially a command and control system... that can snoop on anything it wants

    the same with security

    it is GOOD the internet as it is has no internal safeguards for privacy and security. it means it is controlled by no one. get the point?

    the riaa and beijing should fund this GENI project

  • I think their first priority should be rebuilding the email protocols. We are all wasting too much time, money and bandwidth dealing with spam.
  • by Duncan Blackthorne ( 1095849 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:27AM (#24417457)
    TFA basically boils down to this single statement: "We've got money and some shiny toys to play with, wheee!!!!". It doesn't say anything about what their long-term intentions are specifically. I for one reserve judgement on the issue until I see something more concrete -- with the exception that I agree that nothing of any real substance will come of this for at least a decade.
  • And in this case, there are tons of temporary fixes all over the Internets.

  • The internet is more than just the data lines. Its the entire 7 layer burrit... errr ... OSI model. Are they planning on re-defining every protocol implemented? At the very least they would need to address every layer 5, 6, and 7 protocol... on a budget of $12m? heh. Smells like a researcher who knows all the right buzzwords to really confuse a government appropriations committee. mmmmm pork.
  • by Bazman ( 4849 )

    Will everyone's IP-number be 8675309?

    [Hint: []

  • Is that going to be addressed, or just made harder to detect? A spammer can only cause me so much damage, a mistaken government agent can do a lot more.
  • by STFS ( 671004 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:47AM (#24417879) Homepage
    ...all those series of tubes? I wonder what they're gonna use instead?
  • That is, as soon as we end the transition from IPv4 to v6...
  • in other words, you want to clamp down on file sharing and make the AA's happy.

  • by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:14AM (#24418451) Homepage

    People will flock to it in droves, buy HD routers with HD cables and HD service plans.

  • Settle down, Beavis (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spasemunki ( 63473 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @12:27PM (#24419839) Homepage

    The headline this was posted with is weapons-grade stupid. Nowhere in the GENI plans [] (which have been being formulated by academics over the last several years) is there any indication that GENI should "replace" the current Internet. There are a few people involved in GENI who think that the Internet of the future might look a bit like GENI in some respects, but a much more likely outcome is that future Internet innovations will emerge from experiments carried out with GENI. GENI will be a very sophisticated research platform that allows researchers to carve up the research network into reasonably isolated slices via virtualization so that experiments into new protocols, switch architectures, etc. can be run on a full-speed network in parallel with one another without interfering. Access to GENI, much like Internet2, will essentially be restricted to researchers running experiments and essentially limited to interconnects between major research universities.

    Nowhere is there any suggestion that GENI will or should:
    * replace the existing internet
    * develop protocols to remove anonymity from the internet
    * give control of the internet to any particular government

    It's a research platform for academics who think that the field of networking could benefit from large-scale research projects that are more ambitious and forward-looking than the sort of thing that can be reasonably carried out by the R&D departments of large tech corporations. Full stop. There is a ton of information available about the project from their websites, and in papers that have been published over the last several years.

Mausoleum: The final and funniest folly of the rich. -- Ambrose Bierce