30 Years of RFCs
RFC 2555

Document Type RFC - Informational (April 1999; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                 RFC Editor, et al.
Request for Comments: 2555                                       USC/ISI
Category: Informational                                     7 April 1999

                            30 Years of RFCs

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 (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction.................................................. 2
   2.  Reflections................................................... 2
   3.  The First Pebble: Publication of RFC 1........................ 3
   4.  RFCs - The Great Conversation................................. 5
   5.  Reflecting on 30 years of RFCs................................ 9
   6.  Favorite RFCs -- The First 30 Years...........................14
   7.  Security Considerations.......................................15
   8.  Acknowledgments...............................................15
   9.  Authors' Addresses............................................15
   10. APPENDIX - RFC 1..............................................17
   11. Full Copyright Statement......................................18

RFC Editor, et al.           Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2555                    30 Years of RFCs                7 April 1999

1. Introduction - Robert Braden

   Thirty years ago today, the first Request for Comments document,
   RFC 1, was published at UCLA (ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc1.txt).
   This was the first of a series that currently contains more than 2500
   documents on computer networking, collected, archived, and edited by
   Jon Postel for 28 years.  Jon has left us, but this 30th anniversary
   tribute to the RFC series is assembled in grateful admiration for his
   massive contribution.

   The rest of this document contains a brief recollection from the
   present RFC Editor Joyce K. Reynolds, followed by recollections from
   three pioneers: Steve Crocker who wrote RFC 1, Vint Cerf whose long-
   range vision continues to guide us, and Jake Feinler who played a key
   role in the middle years of the RFC series.

2. Reflections - Joyce K. Reynolds

   A very long time ago when I was dabbling in IP network number and
   protocol parameter assignments with Jon Postel, gateways were still
   "dumb", the Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) was in its infancy and
   TOPS-20 was in its heyday.  I was aware of the Request for Comments
   (RFCs) document series, with Jon as the RFC Editor.  I really didn't
   know much of the innerworkings of what the task entailed.  It was
   Jon's job and he quietly went about publishing documents for the
   ARPANET community.

   Meanwhile, Jon and I would have meetings in his office to go over our
   specific tasks of the day.  One day, I began to notice that a pile of
   folders sitting to one side of his desk seemed to be growing.  A few
   weeks later the pile had turned into two stacks of folders.  I asked
   him what they were.  Apparently, they contained documents for RFC
   publication.  Jon was trying to keep up with the increasing quantity
   of submissions for RFC publication.

   I mentioned to him one day that he should learn to let go of some of
   his work load and task it on to other people.  He listened intently,
   but didn't comment.  The very next day, Jon wheeled a computer stand
   into my office which was stacked with those documents from his desk
   intended for RFC publication.  He had a big Cheshire cat grin on his
   face and stated, "I'm letting go!", and walked away.

   At the top of the stack was a big red three ring notebook.  Inside
   contained the "NLS Textbook", which was prepared at ISI by Jon, Lynne
   Sims and Linda Sato for use on ISI's TENEX and TOPS-20 systems.  Upon
   reading its contents, I learned that the NLS system was designed to
   help people work with information on a computer.  It included a wide
   range of tools, from a simple set of commands for writing, reading

RFC Editor, et al.           Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 2555                    30 Years of RFCs                7 April 1999

   and printing documents to sophisticated methods for retrieving and
   communication information.  NLS was the system Jon used to write,
   edit and create the RFCs.  Thus began my indoctrination to the RFC
   publication series.

   Operating systems and computers have changed over the years, but
   Jon's perseverance about the consistency of the RFC style and quality
   of the documents remained true.  Unfortunately, Jon did not live to
   see the 30th Anniversary of this series that he unfailingly nurtured.
   Yet, the spirit of the RFC publication series continues as we
   approach the new millennium.  Jon would be proud.
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