Request for Comments

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In computer network engineering, a Request for Comments (RFC) is a memorandum published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems.

Through the Internet Society, engineers and computer scientists may publish discourse in the form of an RFC, either for peer review or simply to convey new concepts, information, or (occasionally) engineering humor. The IETF adopts some of the proposals published as RFCs as Internet standards.

Contents

History

The inception of the RFC format occurred in 1969 as part of the seminal ARPANET project.[1] Today, it is the official publication channel for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and—to some extent—the global community of computer network researchers in general.

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 requests for comments. 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. RFC 1, 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. (The document lists Bill Duvall as having attended only the final working group meeting prior to publication.)

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