[269] in Coldmud discussion meeting

root meeting help first previous next last

ports and things

daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Thu May 19 15:35:16 1994 )

From: stewarta@netcom.com (Alex Stewart)
To: coldstuff@MIT.EDU
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 12:26:24 -0700 (PDT)
Reply-To: coldstuff@MIT.EDU

:sighs and thwaps himself again for sleeping through the meeting..

Anyway, a couple of points..  Crag, it's quite easy (and done all the time,
look at the standard user-connect code) in ColdMUD to redirect a connection to
another object at any time.  Lynx, if you're going to be
adding/removing/changing these ports that often, then this is some odd
definition of "standard" you're using..

However, in the logs a good point was brought up (firewalls), which is both a
pro and con argument for multi-ports.  The pro argument is from a security
standpoint (firewalls could screen out specific services they didn't feel were
secure enough while allowing others).  The con argument is from a flexibility
standpoint (it's a lot easier in most cases to get someone to open up a hole in
a firewall for one port than for 15 ports).  However, anybody that manages to
get a ColdMUD server set up behind a firewall is going to be in a really wierd
situation anyway, I suspect (since these services are primarily
ColdMUD<->ColdMUD based, one of the two ends would presumably need to be inside
a firewall for these to be issues), but still..

However, here's another point:  If you want to add a new standard service under
Lynx's plan, you need to go through this whole process all over again to pick a
port number and get everybody to agree that that number will represent that
service forever and all time, and then hope that nothing you don't know about
is going to kill everything dead...

In my opinion, it is MUCH preferable to set up a system whereby services can be
looked up and accessed by name, rather than some arbitrary
more-or-less-standard number.  Crag's portmapper suggestion is much better for
this reason, but it runs into problems with firewalls because the IP port for a
given service can't be easily known ahead of time.  A single-port approach,
however, allows for maximum flexibility (services and options can be determined
as verbosely and with whatever granularity one wants (protocol permitting)) and
has minimal problems with firewalls or other port-based mechanisms because
there's only one port anyone needs to access.

(The portmapper idea could still be useful, however, and I don't see any reason
why it couldn't or shouldn't be a part of the default services provided by a
standard single-port multiplexer, for extensions and unforseeables, if nothing
else.. It could also be used to report what services are available through the
metaport itself..)

Anyway, that's still the way I see things..