by Darius Kazemi, April 21 2019

In 2019 I'm reading one RFC a day in chronological order starting from the very first one. More on this project here. There is a table of contents for all my RFC posts.

Under pressure

RFC-111 is titled “Pressure from the Chairman”. It's by Steve Crocker and dated March 31st, 1971.

The technical content

You may recall that I said RFC-107, which exhorted ARPANET sites to switch to the new protocol and provide time estimates for doing so, “is the first RFC that feels like a true ultimatum.”

While RFC-107 felt like an ultimatum, Crocker's characteristically sardonic RFC title states outright that this RFC is an ultimatum, coming only about a week after that RFC.

They're assigning John Heafner of RAND as a kind of project manager to monitor how each site is progressing in their steps toward implementing the new version of the Host-Host protocol. Every ARPANET site has to provide specific documentation to Heafner, including actual up to date and working code, a Telnet style implementation, Logger documentation so other people can figure out how to log in to your site, documentation for how a remote user can do basic things like set their passwords, a list of services available at your site, and what hours they can expect operation and support.


Heafner is referred to as “John” throughout this short document. I get the feeling that while this is a deadly serious email, the playful title and the informal naming of Heafner are meant to dispel any suspicions that this is going to be some kind of Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare.

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About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm an independent technologist and artist. I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project. You can support my work via my Patreon.