More on Leaky Abstractions

When I was writing the Back to Basics blog post I reread the Law of Leaky Abstractions masterpiece. You’ll love it – the first example Joel uses is TCP.

However, what really caught my eye was this bit:

The law of leaky abstractions means that whenever somebody comes up with a wizzy new code-generation tool that is supposed to make us all ever-so-efficient, you hear a lot of people saying “learn how to do it manually first, then use the wizzy tool to save time.”

You should apply the same wisdom to shiny new gizmos launched by network virtualization vendors… oh wait, you can’t, they are mostly undocumented black boxes. Good luck ;)

Sadly, the Law of Leaky Abstractions blog post was written in 2002… and nothing changed in the meantime, at least not for the better.


  1. Examples of leaky abstractions.
    1. Intent based networking
    2. Encrypted Traffic analysis. If true,our bank accounts should be wiped out :)
    3. CAPWAP for wireless, promoted by large companies.
    4. ISSU/HA implementation
    Machine learning is getting started , instead of concentrating on basic insight analysis.
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