by Darius Kazemi, Jan 28 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.

Time might be useful

RFC-28 is a short note from Bill English of SRI titled “Time Standards”. It's dated January 13, 1970.

The technical content

Here is the entire content of the note:

We are about to install a relatively accurate real-time clock on our system. I would like any comments relative to Network time standards for such things as delay measurement so we can decide how good our clock should be.

This is just English asking for people's input on a project they are about to undertake.


Some programmers might notice the date on this RFC and think, “Aha! I know what this is! UNIX time describes all time as relative to January 1, 1970. It probably has something to do with this note.”

Well, that's what I thought, anyway. I looked into it and it appears to be pure coincidence. According to Dennis Ritchie, one of the creators of the UNIX operating system, it was simply an arbitrary date and this RFC has nothing to do with it.

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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.