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April 2nd, 2003


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10:56 am
The much discussed April Fools joke was the evil bit.


Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 10:00:01 +1000
From: Drew Dean <ddean@csl.sri.com>
Subject: The Angelic Bit vs the Evil Bit

Steve Bellovin's proposed RFC 3514 finds a very constructive use for the last unused bit in the IPv4 header. In his proposal, the unused bit is sometimes affectionately referred to as the "evil" bit, although that naming convention reflects a fundamentally *pessimistic* world view. We prefer an *optimistic* world view, and therefore propose that this last bit should be used for the "angelic" bit. Our proposed semantics for the angelic bit are as follows:


  • 0x1
    The angelic bit is set. All routers, firewalls, switches, and any other network devices MUST forward this packet to its indicated destination. This packet MUST NOT have any undesirable effect on any network device. Anyone who improperly sets the angelic bit on any packet SHALL be subject to divine retribution. Civil authorities MAY subject the perpetrator to any punishment provided for in applicable law.

  • 0x0
    The angelic bit is reset. All routers, firewalls, switches, and other network devices MAY filter this packet according to any policy they deem fit. This packet MAY have undesirable effects if forwarded. The sender of the packet SHALL NOT be subject to divine retribution in case of undesirable effects. Civil authorities MAY subject the perpetrator to punishment provided for in applicable law.


  • NB: The angelic bit may have miraculous properties in face of network links severed by backhoes; however, this SHALL NOT relieve the router of its responsibilities.

    Yours for a more genteel Internet, Drew Dean



    Although for me, I think PetFlix.com was pretty clever. It would have been better if actually launched by the NetFlix people, or at least, not a GeoCities page.

    On the more serious note of the latest issue of RISKS, this is bad. Even if not enforced, I am be uncomfortable with local legislation who are this detached. This is adding new sodomy laws level bad.

    (Leave a comment)


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