Cover by Joel Spolsky

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twenty-sixTHE LAW OF LEAKY ABSTRACTIONS

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2002

There's a key piece of magic in the engineering of the Internet that you rely on every single day. It happens in the TCP protocol, one of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet.

TCP is a way to transmit data that is reliable.. By this I mean: If you send a message over a network using TCP, it will arrive, and it won't be garbled or corrupted.

We use TCP for many things like fetching web pages and sending email. The reliability of TCP is why every exciting email from embezzling East Africans arrives in letter-perfect condition. O joy.

By comparison, there is another method of transmitting data, called IP, that is unreliable.. Nobody promises that your data will arrive, ...

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