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The Internet

30 Years of RFCs 27

Armin writes "Thirty years ago today, the first Request for Comments document, RFC 1, was published at UCLA. RFC 2555 contains history and reflections on the Request for Comments (RFC) document series, and the people who made it possible, on its 30th anniversary." Thanks again Jon.
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30 Years of RFCs

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    seems to me like alotta business/govt/power type folks
    are talking about 'technology' 'economic growth'
    'big business' and 'the internet' all in the same breath....
    but it also seems odd that alot of these types
    are firm believers in closed intellectual property,
    strong secretive patents on algorithms, proprietary technology,
    and other ideas and behaviors that are mutually exclusive with
    open standards. do these people even understand what an RFC is? do they understand
    how the internet was built? if you say 'were gonna build the next ineternet' but then you support proprietary secretive technology, seems to me its not gonna happen because the internet is at its essence about open widely available and implemented standards.
    What am i missing here?
  • by Trepidity ( 597 )
    Tribute [ohio-state.edu].
  • Umm, doesn't RFC stand for "Requirements For Conformance"?
    No, it stands for "Request for Comments."
  • Here's an alternate URL at ISI for RFC 2555:
    A HREF=
    "http://info.internet.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc/files /rfc2555.txt">
    http://info.internet.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc/files/ rfc2555.txt
  • The first RFCs were in paper, circulated as letters, so some of the earliest ones might not have been electrified yet. You might have not seen RFC 1 for several reasons:
    • It was written in a lavatory and as such it should not be displayed to the public or
    • the local RFC collection doesn't carry it. (Yes, I have seen a copy somewhere).
  • Maybe, but RFC527 is better...

    Oh, we might be interested to vote for our favorite RFC [rfc-editor.org].

  • On Yahoo, I found a mirror locator [nexor.com] in addition to mirrors at Ohio State [ohio-state.edu], Switzerland [cnlab-switch.ch], Internet FAQ Consortium [faqs.org], Japan [sony.co.jp], California [isi.edu], and the United Kingdom [ic.ac.uk]. Also noted in the discussion is a Slashdot reader mirror [cmu.edu] which could get Slashdotted.
  • I gather it's because no machineable copies exist of some of them. I understand that there's a project to collect soft copy and re-scan it.

    This seems like a good time to call attention to my own contribution to the genre, RFC 2100 [rfc-editor.org], "The Naming of Hosts"... from 1 April 97, and invite those who enjoy it to go vote [rfc-editor.org] in the contest Rob posted about last week.

    And to thank Jon.

    Cheers,
  • I think it's kinda funny that UCLA touts itself as "the birthplace of the internet," and yet it doesn't let its students run Linux or any internet-based network services on its dorm network. Check out the URL above if you're interested in this whole deal.
  • RFC 1 is at ftp://ftp.ripe.net/rfc/rfc1.txt [ripe.net] (among other places).
    --
  • Network Working Group Steve Crocker
    Request for Comments: 1 UCLA
    7 April 1969

    --
  • I have long been curious as to why not all of the RFCs are available. In particular, I would like to see RFC 1. Why is it nowhere to be found?

    Help/insights, anyone?
  • This is discussed in RFC2555 (y'know, the topic of this whole discussion):


    We did, however, start to put online some of the early RFCs, including RFC 1. We weren't sure whether we were going to try to make them look as close to the typewritten originals as possible, or to make a few adjustments and format them according to the latest RFC style. Those of you who still have your copies of RFC 1 will note the concessions we made to NROFF the online version. The hand-drawn diagrams of the early RFCs also present interesting challenges for conversion into ASCII format.

  • I don't know why some are missing (perhaps it's because they currently only exist in their original medium - typewritten hardcopy), but you can find RFC 1 at ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc1.txt [isi.edu].
  • I just did a 'wc -l' on my local mirror of RFCs (admittedly, not complete) and counted nearly 3 million lines of text... I wonder how much shelfspace that would occupy when printed out. Any ideas?

    Second thing: how many of us have had an RFC issued on the day they were born? By coincidence I just found out I am one of the lucky ones (no, I'm not going to tell you which one :) Suffice to say it's old) - Nemosoft

  • I always have problems finding the RFCs I need.

    Here [curtisfong.org]'s my list.

  • by GC ( 19160 )
    I think RFC1149 is probably the best of all time, published Apr1/1990 (April Fools Day)

    Check it out - (at your nearest mirror - as the other sites appear to be quite full!)

  • No It was a request -

    They were working documents - people were supposed to look and scrutinise them for mistakes or inadequacies according to the original strategic plan.
  • According the book "Where Wizards stay up late" there was this group of students that met to specify how host computers should talk to IMPs (IMP is a early ARPANET router). They called their specifications "Request for Comments" because they did not feel that they had the authority to demand any special behavior. They always thought that at some Official Agency would eventually replace them and thank them for their efforts. But the replacements newer came.
  • That's kind of like typing "man man".

    I've often wondered if you could type "man man man" and get the man page for the man page on man.

    I also like the RFC from 1972 I read about security: "The root password should not be the hostname backwards."

  • You have to wonder if the individuals involved in the formation of ARPANET way back when knew what was going to happen. Did they know that they were the prime movers in something magical. At this point in time most of us here do things which seem and are 'cool' and 'neat' to us but we can be pretty sure that it has been done before. What must it have been like to have been part of something truly original.

    I think it's that sense of magic and discovery that pushes me into the realm of computers more and more.

    Just a thought

    J
  • Umm, doesn't RFC stand for "Requirements For Conformance"?

    Think about it... the RFC's aren't "requests" for anything -
    they're specifications (requirements) to make your application conform
    to a standard...

    Who started the "request for comments" thing anyway?
  • To follow up the other posts here, yes RFC is a Request for comment. That is, as one who is authoring a number of them, you go through a whole draft stage (I've seen some in the double digit range of draft revisions) that get commented on. Then, at some stage that goes to be an experimental RFC. After more hacking (remember that running code rules in the world of the IETF) it may become informational or standard. At these stages the new RFC outdates the old RFC, again asking for more comments.

    Rarely is a single RFC sufficient to generate a standard on. They are always updated by later ones. Even the old standards like Telnet has some thirty odd RFCs associated with it (last time I looked, including the April 1 variants).

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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