by Darius Kazemi, December 27 2019
RFC-360 is titled “Deamon Process on Host 106”. It's dated July 5, 1972 and authored by Bob Bressler in his role as personnel working on the MIT Project MAC Dynamic Modeling Computer Graphics PDP-10.
The technical content
Bressler is letting the Network Working Group know that the MIT DMCG Host now offers the Echo Process and Discard Process proposed by Jon Postel in RFC-347 and RFC-348. These are not guaranteed to be working all the time: if the Host is too busy with other requests, they will refuse a connection. Connections will be closed after two minutes of inactivity.
Bressler also asks if anyone would like them to provide a random character generator, which he suggests would be useful for debugging new Network Control Programs or gathering statistics on the network.
Bressler is referring to “daemons”, which as a computing term actually originates with MIT Project MAC, the computing group that Bressler is affiliated with. It comes from Maxwell's Demon (a famous thought experiment in physics) but the “daemon” spelling associates it with the ancient Greek concept of a daemon: a kind of guiding spirit, often the embodiment of a person's soul or a force within their soul. In the Greek context it is a sort of value-neutral entity, not necessarily good or evil.
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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.