Request For Comments reference guide
RFC 1000

Document Type RFC - Unknown (August 1987; No errata)
Obsoletes RFC 999
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                        J. Reynolds
Request for Comments: 1000                                     J. Postel
                                                             August 1987

Obsoletes: RFCs 084, 100, 160, 170, 200, 598, 699, 800, 899, 999



   This RFC is a reference guide for the Internet community which
   summarizes of all the Request for Comments issued between April 1969
   and March 1987.  This guide also categorizes the RFCs by topic.


   This RFC Reference Guide is intended to provide a historical account
   by categorizing and summarizing of the Request for Comments numbers 1
   through 999 issued between the years 1969-1987.  These documents have
   been crossed referenced to indicate which RFCs are current, obsolete,
   or revised.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

THE ORIGINS OF RFCS - by Stephen D. Crocker

   The DDN community now includes hundreds of nodes and thousands of
   users, but once it was all a gleam in Larry Roberts' eye.  While much
   of the development proceeded according to a grand plan, the design of
   the protocols and the creation of the RFCs was largely accidental.

   The procurement of the ARPANET was initiated in the summer of 1968 --
   Remember Vietnam, flower children, etc?  There had been prior
   experiments at various ARPA sites to link together computer systems,
   but this was the first version to explore packet-switching on a grand
   scale.  ("ARPA" didn't become "DARPA" until 1972.)  Unlike most of
   the ARPA/IPTO procurements of the day, this was a competitive
   procurement. The contract called for four IMPs to be delivered to
   UCLA, SRI, UCSB and The University of Utah.  These sites were running
   a Sigma 7 with the SEX operating system, an SDS 940 with the Genie
   operating system, an IBM 360/75 with OS/MVT (or perhaps OS/MFT), and
   a DEC PDP-10 with the Tenex operating system.  Options existed for
   additional nodes if the first experiments were successful.  BBN won
   the procurement in December 1968, but that gets ahead of this story.

   Part of the reason for selecting these four sites was these were
   existing ARPA computer science research contractors.  The precise
   usage of the ARPANET was not spelled out in advance, and the research
   community could be counted on to take some initiative.  To stimulate
   this process, a meeting was called during the summer with
   representatives from the selected sites, chaired by Elmer Shapiro

Reynolds & Postel                                               [Page 1]

RFC 1000 - Request for Comments Reference Guide              August 1987

   from SRI.  If memory serves me correctly, Jeff Rulifson came from
   SRI, Ron Stoughton from UCSB, Steve Carr from Utah and I came from
   UCLA. (Apologies to anyone I've left out; records are inaccessible or
   lost at this point.)  At this point we knew only that the network was
   coming, but the precise details weren't known.

   That first meeting was seminal.  We had lots of questions -- how IMPs
   and hosts would be connected, what hosts would say to each other, and
   what applications would be supported.  No one had any answers, but
   the prospects seemed exciting.  We found ourselves imagining all
   kinds of possibilities -- interactive graphics, cooperating
   processes, automatic data base query, electronic mail -- but no one
   knew where to begin.  We weren't sure whether there was really room
   to think hard about these problems; surely someone from the east
   would be along by and by to bring the word.  But we did come to one
   conclusion: We ought to meet again.  Over the next several months, we
   managed to parlay that idea into a series of exchange meetings at
   each of our sites, thereby setting the most important precedent in
   protocol design.

   The first few meetings were quite tenuous.  We had no official
   charter.  Most of us were graduate students and we expected that a
   professional crew would show up eventually to take over the problems
   we were dealing with.  Without clear definition of what the host-IMP
   interface would look like, or even what functions the IMP would
   provide, we focused on exotic ideas.  We envisioned the possibility
   of application specific protocols, with code downloaded to user
   sites, and we took a crack at designing a language to support this.
   The first version was known as DEL, for "Decode-Encode Language" and
   a later version was called NIL, for "Network Interchange Language."
   When the IMP contract was finally let and BBN provided some definite
   information on the host-IMP interface, all attention shifted to
   low-level matters and the ambitious ideas for automatic downloading
   of code evaporated.  It was several years before ideas like remote
   procedure calls and typed objects reappeared.
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