I REMEMBER IANA
RFC 2468

Document Type RFC - Informational (October 1998; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                          V. Cerf
Request for Comments: 2468                                         MCI
Category: Informational                                   October 1998

                            I REMEMBER IANA

                            October 17, 1998

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Remembrance

   A long time ago, in a network, far far away, a great adventure took
   place!

   Out of the chaos of new ideas for communication, the experiments, the
   tentative designs, and crucible of testing, there emerged a
   cornucopia of networks.  Beginning with the ARPANET, an endless
   stream of networks evolved, and ultimately were interlinked to become
   the Internet.  Someone had to keep track of all the protocols, the
   identifiers, networks and addresses and ultimately the names of all
   the things in the networked universe.  And someone had to keep track
   of all the information that erupted with volcanic force from the
   intensity of the debates and discussions and endless invention that
   has continued unabated for 30 years.  That someone was Jonathan B.
   Postel, our Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, friend, engineer,
   confidant, leader, icon, and now, first of the giants to depart from
   our midst.

   Jon, our beloved IANA, is gone.  Even as I write these words I cannot
   quite grasp this stark fact.  We had almost lost him once before in
   1991.  Surely we knew he was at risk as are we all.  But he had been
   our rock, the foundation on which our every web search and email was
   built, always there to mediate the random dispute, to remind us when
   our documentation did not do justice to its subject, to make
   difficult decisions with apparent ease, and to consult when careful
   consideration was needed.  We will survive our loss and we will
   remember.  He has left a monumental legacy for all Internauts to

Cerf                         Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2468                    I REMEMBER IANA                 October 1998

   contemplate.  Steadfast service for decades, moving when others
   seemed paralyzed, always finding the right course in a complex
   minefield of technical and sometimes political obstacles.

   Jon and I went to the same high school, Van Nuys High, in the San
   Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.  But we were in different
   classes and I really didn't know him then.  Our real meeting came at
   UCLA when we became a part of a group of graduate students working
   for Professor Leonard Kleinrock on the ARPANET project.  Steve
   Crocker was another of the Van Nuys crowd who was part of the team
   and led the development of the first host-host protocols for the
   ARPANET.  When Steve invented the idea of the Request for Comments
   series, Jon became the instant editor.  When we needed to keep track
   of all the hosts and protocol identifiers, Jon volunteered to be the
   Numbers Czar and later the IANA once the Internet was in place.

   Jon was a founding member of the Internet Architecture Board and
   served continuously from its founding to the present.  He was the
   FIRST individual member of the Internet Society I know, because he
   and Steve Wolff raced to see who could fill out the application forms
   and make payment first and Jon won.  He served as a trustee of the
   Internet Society.  He was the custodian of the .US domain, a founder
   of the Los Nettos Internet service, and, by the way, managed the
   networking research division of USC Information Sciences Institute.

   Jon loved the outdoors.  I know he used to enjoy backpacking in the
   high Sierras around Yosemite.  Bearded and sandaled, Jon was our
   resident hippie-patriarch at UCLA.  He was a private person but fully
   capable of engaging photon torpedoes and going to battle stations in
   a good engineering argument.  And he could be stubborn beyond all
   expectation.  He could have outwaited the Sphinx in a staring
   contest, I think.

   Jon inspired loyalty and steadfast devotion among his friends and his
   colleagues.  For me, he personified the words "selfless service".
   For nearly 30 years, Jon has served us all, taken little in return,
   indeed sometimes receiving abuse when he should have received our
   deepest appreciation.  It was particularly gratifying at the last
   Internet Society meeting in Geneva to see Jon receive the Silver
   Medal of the International Telecommunications Union.  It is an award
   generally reserved for Heads of State, but I can think of no one more
   deserving of global recognition for his contributions.

   While it seems almost impossible to avoid feeling an enormous sense
   of loss, as if a yawning gap in our networked universe had opened up
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