By popular demand: The TCP/IP layers, featuring cats!

by Joey deVilla on April 2, 2014

osi network layer cats

The “OSI Network Model, Featuring Cats” picture was a hit on Twitter; I have pages and pages of retweets. Who knew there was such a demand for layered diagrams featuring stacked felines?

Of course, OSI pretty much remained a model, mired in bureaucratic turf wars and interminable committees, and was eventually usurped by TCP/IP. While considered more hackish by academics and other standards hounds at the time, it was actually implemented, and it’s the reason you’re enjoying all these networking cat pictures right now. TCP/IP has four layers as opposed to OSI’s seven, and luckily there just happens to be a cat picture online with 4 stacked cats:

tcp-ip cat layers

The photo is perfect, right down to the homemade pile of cardboard boxes, which do a great job of symbolizing the JFDI (“Just Effing Do It”), “worse is better” approach that TCP/IP’s implementors. It contrasts nicely with commercially-made plastic stacking baskets from the OSI cats photo.

If you’d like to know more about the differences between the OSI and the TCP/IP approaches, take a look at the IEEE Spectrum article, OSI: The Internet That Wasn’t. You might also be interested in Alex Martelli’s Google talk, Good Enough is Good Enough.

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