Requests For Comments

IETF, which stands for Internet Engineering Task Force, published a type of memo formerly entitled as Request for Comments or as known as RFC. It describes the methods, behaviors, research, or innovations that are applied to the way the Internet works and all its systems. Engineers and computer scientists may publish a discourse in the form of an RFC which will either be for peer review or simply to convey new concepts or their info or even the occasional engineer humor. The RFC documents were first started by Steve Crocker in 1969 to help record any unofficial notes on the development of the ARPANET. The ARPANET being the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network which was the world's first operational packet switching network and the prodigy of what was going to become the global Internet.



History of the RFC

The authors of the first RFCs typewrote their work and gave their hard copies to some of the ARPA researchers. Many of the earlier RFCs were actually used for comments while the modern ones have their different usage. The less formal style where it leaves questions open and is written in a less formal style and is typically used with Internal Draft documents. Around December of 1969 researchers began distributing new RFCs using the new ARPANET. RFC 1 was entitled "Host Software" and was written by Steve Crocker in the University of California, Los Angeles.
The first RFC to define the series, the RFC 3, attributed the RFC series to the Network Working Group. This was more of a loose association of researchers interested in the ARPANET project. Many of the following RFCs during the 70s came mostly from UCLA since it was one of the first Interface Message Processors otherwise known as IMP.
One of the first four ARPANET nodes and source of early RFCs was the Augmentation Research Center or the ARC which became the first Network Information Center. When the original ARPANET contract expired with the U.S. Federal Government, the Internet Society contracted with the Networking Division of the University of Southern California (USC) and Information Sciences Institute (ISI) to assume the editorship and publishing responsibilities.
Finally in July 2007, streams of RFCs were defined so the duties of editing could be divided. IETF documents came from IETF working groups or submissions sponsored by a director from the Internet Engineering Steering Group. Research stream documents come from the IRTF and independant from outside sources. A new model was then proposed in '08 and was then refined and published for use in '09 splitting the task into several roles. The streams were then also refined around December of '09 with standards defining their style. In January '10 the RFC editor function was moved to a contractor called Association Management Solutions who had Glenn Kowack in the position of interim series editor.

Production and Evolution of RFC


How to Obtain an RFC


Status of RFC



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