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Enterprise Linux Today: ECN Revisited: Notes on "Why Can't My 2.4 Kernel See Some Web Sites?"

May 09, 2001, 04:02 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Scott Courtney)

Scott Courtney follows up on his recent article about ECN with some additional notes on how rapidly the protocol is gaining acceptance in the real world, and special issues Linux advocates face when reporting problems with non-compliant networks:

"My recent article "Why Can't My 2.4 Kernel See Some Web Sites," generated some vigorous discussion in e-mail, and in the LinuxToday talkbacks.

Several readers wrote to say that the ECN protocol is technically still experimental, and that it therefore should be expected not to work correctly with some servers. Others noted that nearly all distributions using a 2.4.x kernel have ECN turned off by default, and that you have to deliberately enable it in order to encounter the problem. Finally, several readers pointed out that the failure of an ECN-enabled client to connect to a server is a problem at the server end, or at a router or firewall in between, and not at the client itself. These folks mostly urged Linux users who find ECN-related problems to report them to the site administrator rather than just turning off ECN.

While the first article was technically correct, those who have written in with comments have raised some very valid additional points, and I would like to address those here. The commercial distributions do in fact have ECN turned off by default, so many users of 2.4.x kernels will never encounter problems. The kernel help for this option reads as follows in 2.4.2:"

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