It's not exactly Slasher Green or the Prince of the Wide Boys but the announcement that there's a thriving trade in black market IPv4 addresses has me intrigued.

If you're a bit short of address space how do you go about getting hold of some more. Go to a downtown bar and ask for a man called "Dave"? Hang about in an underground car park with a brown envelope stuffed with cash. The idea that there's some of agency selling off unused IPv4 adddresses was an intriguing one - and there's been little indication of how it would work in practice.

What's most interesting is the suggestion that there's now a sense of panic among enterprises that have not yet gone down the IPv6 road - it's been talked about for long enough, but I believe that there's always been a Micawber-like belief that something will turn up - it's now patently clear that that's not the case and that some time in the next 18 months, the western world will have run out of IPv4 addresses. I'm still staggered that the ISP I use still says that it has no plans to introduce IPv6, but is continuing to monitor the situation - it doesn't sound like it's monitoring it too well.

I wonder what's going to happen when the addresses finally go -what sort of recriminations will be. I'm reminded of the old story that the Scottish hell-fire presbyterians like to hell about how sinners suffering in the flames of the eternal bonfire will yell, "Lord, we dinna ken" to be met with the voice from heaven, "Well, ye ken noo". I think it's far to say that enterprises still wilfully sticking to IPv4 don't ken noo, they'll ken very soon. And no calls to dodgy address dealers will be able to help them.

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