365 RFCs: a 50th anniversary dive

by Darius Kazemi, Dec 31 2018

April 7th, 2019 is going to be the 50 year anniversary of the first ever Request for Comments, known as an RFC. These documents started out in 1969 as a way for ARPANET engineers to keep track of notes and discussions on their project. (ARPANET was run by the US Department of Defense and is considered the primary precursor to the modern internet.) I'll go more into what these documents are as we encounter them over the course of the year. But basically: they're just slightly formal documents attempting to formalize some knowledge about a project, like an internal page on a company wiki, that kind of thing.

In honor of this anniversary, I figured I would read one RFC each day of 2019, starting with RFC 1 and ending with RFC 365. I'll offer brief commentary on each RFC. I'm interested in computer history and how organizations communicate so I think this should prove pretty interesting even though RFCs themselves can be legendarily dry reading (the occasional engineering humor RFC notwithstanding).

I can only promise I'll cover all 365 RFCs in a year. I may post anywhere between 0 and 3 of these a day.

The posts

I keep an up-to-date table of contents.

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About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm a Mozilla Fellow and I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project.