Happy Birthday RFCs!
Forty years ago today Steve Crocker published the first Request For Comments – beginning the process of creating universal standards for what would become the Internet. At the time Steve Crocker was a graduate student at U.C.L.A. working with a small group of students and faculty on a simple network that linked four computers at U.C.L.A., the Stanford Research Institute, the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The development of this primitive, packet switching network, was funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of United States Department of Defense during the Cold War and was named ARPANET.
Because ARPANET was developed at universities and funded by the government instead of private industry, the underlying functionality, processes and standards were developed and discussed openly. When Steve Crocker published RFC 1, his first summary of of procedural rules for the Network Working Group, it was truly a request for comments. This open discussion of standards for creating and managing the infant network was unique and greatly shaped the development of the Internet. The rules for how the network operated, and to a large extent how the Internet operates today, are based on a process Steve Crocker refers to as “rough consensus and running code.”
The Internet was able to become the global network we know and love today in part because anyone could freely access the protocols, follow the published standards or RFC’s and join the network. This openness is still a critical component of how we at ipHouse run our network. We are Internet old-timers. Many of us have been on the ‘net and working in this Industry since the early ’90s. Being honest with our customers is one of our core business values. One that we believe enhances the power of the Internet to bring people together.