by Darius Kazemi, November 16 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.

Hard copy printing

RFC-320 is titled “Workshop on Hard Copy Line Graphics”. It's by Raj Reddy of Carnegie Mellon University, and dated March 27, 1972.

The technical content

CMU has developed a technology that lets them generate scan lines for printed documents rather than having to generate an image for the whole page before sending it to print. It's called the XCRIBL System and it can do things that conventional printer systems can't, including changing typefaces on the fly and printing grayscale graphics using a kind of halftone effect.

This RFC announces a one-day workshop at CMU and invites network users to attend.


Notable on page two of the RFC is a portion of the day labeled as a “Session for the "Hackers". This is “hacker” in its older usage, meaning someone who is good at solving technical problems in usually unconventional ways (as compared to the modern usage which implies some kind of illegal behavior or violation of trust). Also notable is that the word “hackers” is in quotes, denoting that it's not considered commonly used language.

Also notable is that this is verging on off-topic for RFCs! This author wanted to publicize his event to a bunch of computer scientists and felt like the RFC distribution list was the place to do it. There's not even a half-hearted attempt to connect this to issues of computer networking.

Further reading

The full academic article describing XCRIBL is available to read.

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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.