by Darius Kazemi, June 12 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.

Notes from SJCC

RFC-163 is titled “Data Transfer Protocols”. It's authored by Vint Cerf of UCLA and dated May 19th, 1971.

The technical content

Cerf is recapping some information discussed in Atlantic City at the long-awaited 1971 Spring Joint Computer Conference. His main points are: they need a formal, agreed-upon file transfer protocol, and they need to figure out how to interpret the file data that is tranferred.

Cerf posits a “Data Manager” that is a process which is always open on each Host that's in charge of sending and receiving files and operates on a well-known, fixed socket number. But you should also be able to send and receive outside of this Data Manager. He discusses “transient files” that don't need to have names, that are used for simply moving data back and forth between active processes rather than for storage.


This is kind of a mess but it states at the outset that it's basically informal notes from a meeting of the Data Transfer Committee (which Cerf suggests be renamed the Data Transmission Committee). I'm gathering from the quality of these notes that it was not a very productive meeting...

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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 ActivityPub, including a Node.js reference implementation, an RSS-to-ActivityPub converter, and a fork of Mastodon, called Hometown. You can support my work via my Patreon.