Re: [logs] Syslog payload format

From: Marshall Rose (mrose+mtr.netnewsat_private)
Date: Wed Jan 15 2003 - 16:23:44 PST

  • Next message: Andrew Ross: "RE: [logs] RE: syslog/tcp (selp)"

    [ folks interested in actual syslog stuff should skip this message... ]
    > Ron Ogle said:
    > >X.500 vs. LDAP
    > >X.400 vs. SMTP
    > >OSI vs. TCP/IP
    > >SGML vs. HTML
    > >CMIP vs. SNMP
    > <snip>
    > >You can spend your time and this list's time creating grandiose 
    > frameworks,
    > >but history is against you for actually getting it used.  Learn from 
    > history
    > >this time.
    > Of course, you know that many of these were killed by political fiat, not 
    > lack of presence/effectiveness, right?
    first, thanks very much for providing some much needed comic
    relief. your statement is reasonable, yet completely lacks any basis in
    reality.  (if satire was not your goal, then perhaps i misunderstood.)
    i'm not familiar with the sgml/html thing, but having been in the
    trenches throughout the 80's on the other items, here's the reality:
    things in the left-hand column (e.g., cmip) were always blessed with
    heaps of political backing from well-funded international organizations
    (ccitt, itu, iso, etc.) that claimed to be able to regulate industries,
    well-intentioned government organizations (us state department, uk mod,
    etc.) that actually could regulate industries, and an all-encompassing
    things in the right-hand column (e.g., snmp) were blessed with a
    limited and self-consistent architecture, a couple of well-heeled
    advocates (typically researchers or independent consultants), and a lot
    of implementations.
    > And there's no definitive proof that the choices made were the right ones 
    > ( ever heard of complexity theory and Brian Arthur? )
    since there is no universally-agreed upon definition of what a "right
    choice" is, it is pointless to argue this.
    > Look up GOSIP V3 ( U.S. ) - that took the rug right out from under OSI 
    > because instead of having Govts mandate using the complete OSI protocols 
    > and take the pain ( the protocols having been already fscked over by the 
    > "industry" players that stuffed the committees, but it ran, was functional 
    > and generic ) the Users could now run TCP/IP instead, which gave them a 
    > cheaper alternative.
    actually, gosip was the us government's "last stand" to re-assert its
    control over the way protocols got made and breathe life into the
    decaying OSI industry. using the us nist as its pointman, the theory was
    that if you could co-opt the purchasing decisions of the deepest pockets
    in us industry, then the market would respond. i should know, i was the
    token "internet" person at the organizing meeting (and thankfully, while
    my employer did send me to a second meeting, i never had to go to a third.)
    if osi had been able to compete on its own merits, it wouldn't have
    needed a bailout from us govt. however, it's probably easier to turn a
    sow's ear into a silk purse than get bottomline-oriented organizations
    to buy substandard products...
    > The fact that there is no Technical reason backing your argument should 
    > give you some insight into how these decisions have previously been 
    > derived.
    there is actually a plethora of technical reasoning explaining why the
    internet approach is superior to the osi approach, both from the
    technical and organizational perspective.
    for a thorough treatise, consult padlipsky's "the elements of networking
    style". my copy was published in 1985, but it was reissued by
    prentice-hall in april of 2000. padlipsky, while not the most accessible
    writer in the world, has the benefit of being very clear as to what
    constitutes good architecture.
    alternatively, see if you can dig up a copy of my out-ofprint "the
    internet message".  given that it was published in 1993, you probably
    don't want to spend any money on it, but appendix C contains a reprint
    of a paper, "The Future of OSI: A Modest Prediction" presented at an
    IFIP meeting back in May, 1992. it explains all the technical reasons in
    a brief 14 pages.
    > On a personal level, BEEP and syslog-ng show me where the "international 
    > bureaucrats" who ran the OSI committees went after it folded - they're now 
    > writing RFCs.
    i've been called many things, but "international bureaucrat" is a new
    one. here's what makes your statement "reality-challenged": the same
    person who:
        - helped out on the esmtp effort, and wrote numerous 822/esmtp
          implementations (e.g., MH, safe-tcl)
        - led the successful, and often amusing, "let's kill OSI" effort in
          the IETF (after having spent time as the ietf/osi interworking guru)
        - who ran the SNMP effort (with a cast of thousands), authored
          dozens of SNMP RFCs and wrote what's now the most commonly-used
          testframe for SNMP
    also did the engineering on BEEP. but, alas, my arm is getting tired
    from patting myself on the back and reminiscing about the legions of
    groupies i had back in the wild 80's.
    more seriously, the interesting questions are "why BEEP?" and "why BEEP
    for reliable syslog?"
    the "why BEEP?" part is pretty easy: today, folks are too quick to
    design application protocols without thinking things through. you could
    get away with that twenty years ago, but today the cost of doing so is
    very high. BEEP frees the protocol designer from having to worry about
    the administrative issues that all "real" protocols have to address, but
    are often dealt with as an after-thought.
    here's one simple example: folks are fond of saying that they'll need
    support only TLS, or they won't need to support different authentication
    technologies. and, for a given point in time in a given environment,
    they're certainly right. however, as soon as either time or space
    varies, those limitations become apparent.
    all beep does is take a half-dozen or so "current practices" and
    integrate them into a single framework. with the exception of the
    framing protocol, if you don't need something, then you don't have to
    implement it -- you just advertise what you support. this makes for a
    specification that's larger than most of us would like, but still
    small enough to implement. particularly, if you know enough to have the
    code "just say no" when the peer asks for something you're not going to do.
    the "why BEEP for reliable syslog?" part is a bit harder: if you take
    one of the existing one-size-fits-all implementations of beep and try to
    add it to your syslog infrastructure, you can get it to work, but you're
    not going to be very happy. that's because those implementations were
    written with a different set of requirements in mind than the one that
    syslog imposes.
    if, instead, you write a minimal beep stack that's customized towards
    the syslog requirements, you'll probably do about the same amount of
    overall work, but you'll be much happier.
    of course, the syslog constituency represents one community with its own
    set of biases. intellectually, i think the syslog-signed proposal is
    much more interesting because it retains a lot of syslog's flavor while
    allowing some scale-up in terms of integrity and gap detection.
    but, just as you can't seem to find two syslog people who will
    consistently agree on the relative importance of reliability, integrity,
    privacy, or even timestamp formats, i doubt we're going to get agreement
    on what the best protocol infrastructure is for a syslog service.
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