Fifty Years of RFCs
draft-flanagan-fiftyyears-02

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Network Working Group                                   H. Flanagan, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                                RFC Editor
Updates2555, 5540 (if approved)                            25 March 2019
Intended status: Informational                                          
Expires: 26 September 2019

                          Fifty Years of RFCs
                      draft-flanagan-fiftyyears-02

Abstract

   This RFC marks the fiftieth anniversary for the RFC Series.  It
   includes both retrospective material from individuals involved at key
   inflection points, as well as a review of the current state of
   affairs.  It concludes with thoughts on possibilities for the next
   fifty years for the Series.  This document updates and brings current
   the history started in RFCs 2555 and 5540.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on 26 September 2019.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (https://trustee.ietf.org/
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.  Code Components
   extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text

Flanagan                Expires 26 September 2019               [Page 1]
Internet-Draft             Fifty Years of RFCs                March 2019

   as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Key Moments in RFC History  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Perspectives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       3.1.  The Origins of RFCs - by Stephen D.  Crocker  . . . . .   5
       3.2.  The RFC Management and Editing Team - Vint Cerf . . . .  10
       3.3.  Formalizing the RFC Editor Model - Leslie Daigle
             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.4.  The Continuation, or Creation, of a Stream - Nevil
             Brownlee  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       3.5.  A View from Inside the RFC Editor - Sandy Ginoza
             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   4.  The Next Fifty Years of RFCs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
       4.1.  Preservation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
       4.2.  Evolution of the RFC Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
       4.3.  Stream Structure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   5.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   6.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   Appendix A.  Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24

1.  Introduction

   The RFC Series began in April 1969 with the publication of "Host
   Software" by Steve Crocker.  The early RFCs were extremely informal
   and included poems, satires, and April 1 jokes, to name a few.  Since
   then, over 8000 RFCs have been published, ranging across best
   practice information, experimental protocols, informational material,
   and, of course, standards.  Material is accepted for publication
   through the IETF, the IAB, the IRTF, and the Independent Submissions
   stream, each with clear processes on how drafts are submitted and
   potentially approved for publication as an RFC.  Ultimately, the goal
   of the RFC Series is to provide a canonical source for the material
   published by the RFC Editor, and to support the preservation of that
   material in perpetuity.

   Since the very first RFC was published fifty years ago, the focus of
   the Series has evolved to be a stable record of what has been
   published and to provide a source for the dissemination to the world
   of the ideas contained in the RFCs.  In particular, when Internet
   Drafts first started being produced [need a date check], RFCs became
   a much more formal body of material requiring serious curation, from
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