Around the time of the Green Paper, Postel put together a “transition advisory group” of six highly influential members of the Internet engineering community. They were: Brian Carpenter, Program Director, Internet standards and technology, IBM, and Chair, IAB; Randy Bush, Director of network engineering, Verio, Board of Trustees member, ARIN, and Chair of the IETF’s DNS working group; David Farber, Professor, computer and information science and electrical engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Board of Trustees member, ISOC; Geoff Huston, Technical Manager for Telstra (formerly Telecom Australia) Internet, and President, Internet Society of Australia; John Klensin, Senior Data Architect, MCI Internet Engineering Organization, and Member, IAB; and Steve Wolff, Executive Director, Advanced Internet Initiatives, Cisco Systems, and former Director, NSFNET.
These are the type of people whom Jon Postel consulted about changes in the Internet’s architecture, not the Internet community at large. It is interesting to note that despite the employment of several of these men at major Internet companies like IBM, Verio, MCI, Telstra, and Cisco, they almost all went there from posts with institutional networks of the non-commercial era. While one might see the names of these companies in the resumes of the leaders of the Internet technical community and come away with the impression that these individuals are representatives of something of an industry group, we must recall David Clark’s words about IETF members, for instance, “leaving their corporate allegiances at the door.” These individuals’ service to agencies like the IAB, IETF, and Postel’s transition advisory group, is in their personal capacity.
Organizations like the IETF are industry bodies only to the extent that their members work for companies in the industry. Beyond that, the best interests of the Internet itself are paramount. This is particularly the case among the most well-known leaders. This appears to be something of a “code” among these individuals, alternately referred to as “Internet pioneers,” “Internet old-timers,” or the Internet’s “old guard.” Is it arrogance or a genuine belief that he and his fellow transition group members “know what’s best” for the Internet which leads John Klensin of MCI to say:
One of the diseases of the Internet community is that there are a large number of individuals who say, “Well, everything would be all right if I were in charge.” One of the things the community does not need is any more half-baked proposals, which result in endless, pointless flaming about the details and who was consulted and who wasn’t.