by Darius Kazemi, September 7 2019
RFC-250 is titled “Some Thoughts on File Transfer”. It's authored by Howard R. Brodie of UCLA and dated October 7, 1971.
The technical content
The concerns listed in this RFC are almost identical to Bob Braden's concerns in RFc-238, though the concern about sequence number is somewhat different than Braden's. Brodie is concerned that message sequence number in DTP is sometimes referenced as 8-bit and sometimes referenced as 16-bit.
Seeing as Brodie and Braden are both based at UCLA I wonder if they had a conversation about these topics and independently filed RFCs about the same topic. The dates are close enough together that Brodie might not have seen Braden's RFC until after he submitted this one.
Also, Brodie argues for an 8-bit sequence number as “sufficient” compared to a 16-bit sequence number. This makes me cringe as I can easily imagine a sequence of more than 256 messages making up some kind of large file transfer!
The only reference I can find to Howard Brodie is in the acknolwedgements section of Bob Metcalfe's Harvard Ph.D. dissertation, “Packet Communication”. This dissertation represents a huge chunk of the work that more or less led him to invent Ethernet and co-invent TCP/IP with Vint Cerf.
How to follow this blog
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.