Fifty Years of RFCs
draft-flanagan-fiftyyears-05

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Network Working Group                                   H. Flanagan, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                                RFC Editor
Updates2555, 5540 (if approved)                            18 April 2019
Intended status: Informational                                          
Expires: 20 October 2019

                          Fifty Years of RFCs
                      draft-flanagan-fiftyyears-05

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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   This Internet-Draft will expire on 20 October 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
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   extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text

Flanagan                 Expires 20 October 2019                [Page 1]
Internet-Draft             Fifty Years of RFCs                April 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  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     3.5.  A View from Inside the RFC Editor - Sandy Ginoza  . . . .  16
   4.  The Next Fifty Years of RFCs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     4.1.  Preservation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     4.2.  Evolution of the RFC Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     4.3.  Stream Structure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   5.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   6.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   Appendix A.  Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25

1.  Introduction

   The RFC Series began in April 1969 with the publication of "Host
   Software" by Steve Crocker.  The early RFCs were, in fact, requests
   for comments on ideas and proposals; the goal was to start
   conversations, rather than to create an archival record of a standard
   or best practice.  This goal changed over time, as the formality of
   the publication process evolved, and the community consuming the
   material grew.  Today, over 8500 RFCs have been published, ranging
   across best practice information, experimental protocols,
   informational material, and, of course, Internet 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.

   The RFC Editor as a role came a few years after the first RFC was
   published.  The actual date when the term was first used is unknown,
   but it was formalized by [RFC0902] in July 1984; Jon Postel, the
   first RFC Editor, defined the role by his actions and later by
   defining the initial processes surrounding the publication of RFCs.
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