Developer Week in Review

The return of Knuth, the departure of Jobs and Schmidt, and the disappearance of address space.

The weather outside is frightful (at least here in the northeast United States), but the news is so delightful. Note: Delightfulness may vary. This statement contains forward-looking statements, and should not be considered an indication of future delightedness.

The Donald returns … no, not that Donald

The Art of Computer ProgrammingThe seminal study of programming techniques has long-time been considered to be Donald Knuth’s “The Art of Computer Programming.” Unfortunately, new volumes in the series have been coming out slower than year-old ketchup out of a bottle.

It was news of some note, therefore, when it was announced this week that Volume 4A of his magnum opus (which covers Combinatorial Algorithms, Part 1, for the curious) was available for purchase. Given that it’s been 38 years between the original volume 3 and the new 4A, and seven volumes are planned in total, we may all be programming via thought waves by the time the series is completed.

It’s time to play musical CEOs

There are shakeups afoot at both the second and seventh largest U.S. companies this week (that would be Apple and Google, respectively). Steve Jobs’ on-again, off-again, on-again stewardship of Apple appears to be off again, as he heads off for something medical, leaving COO Tim Cook at the helm.

Meanwhile, over at Google, Eric Schmidt announced he’s changing his role from CEO to executive chairman, with Larry P. running the show as CEO now.

The generally held assumption at this point is that both companies are mature enough and large enough that they don’t depend on direct guidance from the top to stay on mission, but only time will tell (especially for Apple) if the long-term philosophy survives a succession.

Repent, for the end is near

You’ve been hearing about it for years, that the IPv4 pool is going, going … well now it’s evidently gone. Or at least it will be in February, according to the latest IANA projections. That’s when the last address blocks are due to be handed out, and then the biker gangs take over and Tina Turner starts hoarding subnets.

In spite of the persistent warnings that the day was coming, IPv6 service is all but non-existant in the United States, and much of the IPv6 software stacks in products and operating systems has never really been put to the test under real world conditions. We may have avoided Y2K, only to get slammed by Y2K11 …

Assuming that the web is still operating next week, we’ll be here reporting on any other apocalyptic news that may occur. Suggestions are always welcome, so please send tips or news here.

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  • Joseph Scott

    Y2K11? You know it would have been shorter just to write the actual year – 2011.

  • Jim Leinweber

    The real year of the IPocalypse is likely to be 2013. IANA runs out next week. The northern hemisphere RIR’s (ARIN, RIPE, APNIC) will run out by late fall. ISP’s will mostly run out in 2012. After that it’s native v6 and carrier NAT44 to reach the legacy v4 internet for any new businesses or consumers. Note that the emerging 4G smartphones are already on v6; the cellphone carriers already couldn’t get enough v4. This is why google, youtube, facebook, cnn etc. are already dual-stacked with native v6 access.

    Availability of consumer broadband DSL and WIFI gear with v6 is pathetic, though that will change. Performance of the legacy v4 internet will probably start to degrade due to increasing amounts of carrier NAT and multiple layers of NAT in the US late in 2012. Widespread availability of v6 worldwide probably isn’t until 2015.

    v6 being 99% of the traffic (currently less than 1%) probably happens around 2017. And, while there was no economic incentive to deploy v6 until v4 ran out, for ISP’s there is a very strong incentive to ditch v4 routing once v6 is the majority of the traffic, so probably a v6-only flag day will be scheduled around 2020, after which the remaining dribble of v4 traffic will have to be carried in v6 tunnels. The last IPv4 device isn’t likely to be turned off in some dusty machine room until 2036 or so, giving v4 an impressive run of nearly 50 years as a network technology.

  • James Fry

    @Joseph Scott – more to the point, 2011 is probably what he meant rather than 2110!