by Darius Kazemi, October 7 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.

Closure at last?

RFC-280 is titled “A Draft Set of Host Names”. It's authored by Richard Watson of SRI-ARC and dated November 17, 1971.

The technical content

Could this be it? The end of the arguments around host names? To refresh your memory, this has spanned eight RFCS over two months:

Watson provides a list of Formal Names and Nicknames, per his RFC-273 guidelines. 17 of them are chosen by their host sites. The remaining 28 are assigned by the NIC.


One thing that stands out to me is that MITRE clearly insisted on their institutional mnemonic being “MITRE” instead “MITR”, which means their institutional mnemonic is longer than the prescribed 4 characters. This just shows that a lot of flexibility went into this list in order to placate people and meet their emotional needs around what their host names look like.

Also, in his last RFC Watson wanted to have everything settled by November 5 but it looks like we're already almost two weeks past that deadline.

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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.