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50 year anniversary of Request for Comments (RFC) 1 #Internet #History #RFC

On April 7th the Internet celebrated a silver anniversary: the 50th anniversary of the first community Request for Comments: RFC 1.

Wikipedia: The authors of the first RFCs typewrote their work and circulated hard copies among the ARPA researchers. Unlike the modern RFCs, many of the early RFCs were actual requests for comments and were titled as such to avoid sounding too declarative and to encourage discussion. The RFC leaves questions open and is written in a less formal style. This less formal style is now typical of Internet Draft documents, the precursor step before being approved as an RFC.

In December 1969, researchers began distributing new RFCs via the newly operational ARPANET. RFC1, entitled “Host Software”, was written by Steve Crocker of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and published on April 7, 1969. Although written by Steve Crocker, the RFC emerged from an early working group discussion between Steve Crocker, Steve Carr and Jeff Rulifson.

You can see a copy of RFC 1 on the IETF website. From the introduction:

The software for the ARPA Network exists partly in the IMPs and
partly in the respective HOSTs. BB&N has specified the software of
the IMPs and it is the responsibility of the HOST groups to agree on
HOST software.

During the summer of 1968, representatives from the initial four
sites met several times to discuss the HOST software and initial
experiments on the network. There emerged from these meetings a
working group of three, Steve Carr from Utah, Jeff Rulifson from SRI,
and Steve Crocker of UCLA, who met during the fall and winter. The
most recent meeting was in the last week of March in Utah. Also
present was Bill Duvall of SRI who has recently started working with
Jeff Rulifson.

Somewhat independently, Gerard DeLoche of UCLA has been working on
the HOST-IMP interface.

I present here some of the tentative agreements reached and some of
the open questions encountered. Very little of what is here is firm
and reactions are expected.


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