by Darius Kazemi, December 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.


RFC-350 is titled “User Accounts for UCSB On-line System”. It's authored by Ron Stoughton of UCSB and dated May 18, 1972.

The technical content

For about a year, UCSB has allowed people to log in to its On-line System (formerly the Culler-Fried On-Line System) and do interactive mathematical computation work. It provided this service free of charge, with the cost to the university coming out of its ARPA contract.

This is about to change—this RFC states that the service will continue to be free on a trial or experimental basis, but for serious usage people need to open a billing account with UCSB so that they can be charged.

When the service was free, everyone who used the service had the exact same login. In order to monitor usage by each individual user, they're going to need to provide user names to everyone. So the anonymous “ARPA” login will be retired in favor of logins for each ARPANET site, which they provide in an attached list.


This gets to a minor revelation I had while writing about these RFCs: the reason that our unique identifier for an internet service is referred to as an “account” is because it was originally supposed to correlate directly to an account in a billing a system. Perhaps this is obvious, but hey, better I realize it later than never.

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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.