| 2 |
3 | 4 |
5 | 6 |
7 | 8 |
month or so after the new group began meeting regularly (they called
themselves the Network Working Group), it became clear to Crocker
and others that they had better start accumulating notes on the
discussions. If the meetings themselves were less than conclusive,
perhaps the act of writing something down would help bring order
to their collective thoughts. Crocker volunteered to write the first
minutes. "I remember having great fear," he says, "that we would
offend whoever the ‘official' protocol designers were."
course, there were no other protocol designers, official or otherwise.
But Crocker didn't know that. He was living with friends at the
time and worked all night on the first notes, writing in the bathroom
so as not to wake anyone in the house. He was concerned less about
what he wanted to say than with striking just the right provisional
tone. He modestly labeled the document "Request for Comments" and
sent it out by mail.
No. 1 described in technical terms the basic "handshake" between
two computers -- how the most elemental connections would be made.
"Request for Comments," it turned out, was a perfect choice of titles.
It sounded at once solicitous and serious. And it stuck.
way Crocker crafted RFC No. 1 proved important in establishing the
tenor for future dialogue. For decades to come, RFCs would remain
a principal means of open expression in the computer networking
community, the accepted unofficial method of recommending, reviewing
and adopting new technical standards. (Today, the number of "published"
RFCs reaches into the thousands, and continues to grow.)
Interface Message Processor, designed and built by a Cambridge,
MA firm named Bolt Beranek and Newman, was set to arrive for installation
in Boelter Hall on the first of September. Now Kleinrock's most
pressing task was to build the interface between the Sigma-7 and
the IMP that would allow the two computers to interact with one
another. Unfortunately, the designer of the IMP wasn't very helpful
in this regard. The only promise anyone in Cambridge was willing
to make was that two or more IMPs would be able to communicate with
each other to move packets of data back and forth in a kind of "subnetwork."
It was entirely up to the host computers -- or more likely the graduate
students responsible for running them -- to figure out what to do
with the data once their IMP received it.