by Darius Kazemi, November 23 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.


RFC-327 is titled “Data and File Transfer workshop notes”. It's authored by Abhay Bhushan of MIT Project MAC and dated April 27, 1972.

The technical content

This RFC collects notes from the data and file transfer workshop that was announced in RFC-309. The meeting was well-attended by Network Working Group members from both coasts.

The first day of the workshop featured a series of talks, which I will pithily summarize here:

The second day was a big discussion and there was a lot of consensus reached on data formats, transfer modes, and restarting in case of connection loss. The big takeaway for me is that the Data Transfer Protocol of RFC-171 is no longer its own protocol, and its functionality can be duplicated by using certain combinations of FTP modes and procedures.


As I said in my post on the first Data Transfer Protocol RFC:

This is a weird proposal that seems very design-by-committee, and each of the operating modes seems like it needs to be its own protocol. It really looks like half the RFC is just an abstraction of the FTP proposal in RFC-114, and then it has operating modes 1 and 2 (bit stream and block mode) kind of bolted on to it.

I'm glad that my analysis at the time wasn't off: they did in fact acknowledge that DTP was really just a couple extra FTP-like operating modes in its own “protocol”.

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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.