RFC - Unknown
(June 1973; No errata)
||RFC Editor Note
RFC 514 (Unknown)
||Send notices to
Network Working Group W. Kantrowitz
Request for Comments: 514 LL TX-2
NIC: 16445 5 June 1973
Updates: RFC 459
The ARPA Network seems to have developed the proclivity of dragging
compulsive collectors and organizers out of the woodwork and placing
them in the forefront to annoy everybody.
Recent occurrences have been:
1. A set of charts on characteristics of the hosts. The orientation
seems to have been: If you can come up with names for the
horizontal and vertical nodes and if it has to do with the hosts,
make a chart out of it. This collection of charts goes under the
euphemism "ARPA Network handbook". Information on a host is
scattered over all the pages which is a questionable organizing
scheme. Additionally, since the charts contain much of what is
already in the Resource Notebook, we now have the delightful task
of maintaining two documents when changes are necessary.
2. A telephone call asking for hourly loads on the TX-2 computer for
every hour of the months April and May. One can easily imagine
all this information being keypunched in some computer (on the
network, of course) and then lovely bar graphs, curves, plots,
etc., being generated. Probably in triplicate.
3. A mailbox message about a "central software repository" and a
personnel file. (Copy of the message is attached). This was just
too much and is the immediate precursor of this RFC.
My first reaction to the "central software repository" was that this
has got to be some kind of prank. But when the second message
(identical to the first) arrived an hour later and when I learned
that others had also received it, I reluctantly accepted its
legitimacy. Actually, sending the message in duplicate fits in very
nicely with the general bureaucratic syndrome evidenced by the
contents of the message.
This RFC addresses itself merely to the idea of listings of every
program. That does not mean that I think that the rest of the
request is better, just that I don't have the time to write a
treatise on the general subject. It should be noted (if not obvious)
that what follows is being written with almost unbearable restraint.
Kantrowitz [Page 1]
RFC 514 NETWORK MAKE-WORK 5 June 1973
Listings of every program available to network users? Has anybody
calculated how much paper would be generated? How many trees would
have to be cut down for this paper? How many filing cabinets are
going to be needed? How is this massive amount of information in its
totality going to be of use anyone? Is there going to be an
answering service which will answer such questions as to what is on
the third line of page 5 of the listings of the editor at a given
host? Will one be "required" to send a new listing in order to
change a program?
This material has not been reviewed for public release and is
intended only for use with the ARPA network. It should not be
quoted or cited in any publication not related to the ARPA
From the point of view of a site such as TX-2, the questions become
even more intriguing. Many of our programs are written in assembly
language. Should we, therefore, also send along a copy of our
(incomplete) assembly language manual? Or should we drop everything
else and complete the manual? What about listings of our operating
system since the programs make calls upon the system for input-
output, file management, etc.? (I could go on and on, but the
readers should get the idea by now.) Much of this applies to any
host, but for a host which has a one-and-only computer,the problems
are more acute.
Once again, may I repeat my plea from RFC 459. There are small
research sites on the network. TX-2 is one of them. Please, network
community, don't drown us in a sea of make-work. We might get
nothing done just keeping up with it. Or is that no longer
In particular, the network community ought to be glad that in the mid
1960's we at TX-2 weren't bombarded with tons of make-work and were
able to get something done. What I have in mind is the initial
experimentation with a small-scale network prototype with SDC which
demonstrated the feasibility of networks and led to the ARPA Network.
(Please see reference.) Who knows what we, or some other site, will
come up with if given the chance?
Some people have suggested that I not write this RFC reasoning that
if I just ignore it, the problem will go away. But the problem is
not going away. If anything, it seems to be getting worse. Silence
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