by Darius Kazemi, Feb 19 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.

Converging on a protocol

RFC-50 is by Harslen and Heafner of RAND, dated April 30th, 1970. It's titled “Comments on the Meyer Proposal” and is mostly further commentary on RFC-46 and RFC-47.

The technical content

The authors generally support everything proposed in RFC-46.

They also agree with Crocker that dynamic reconnection will be necessary at some point in the future.

There's further disagreement on the “should sockets have extra data to distinguish them from other sockets” front. These authors are in favor, Crocker is against.

As I mentioned in my post about RFC-49, Crocker and Meyer both believe that the data sent around the network should be freeform rather than structured. The authors of this RFC disagree, instead siding with Enrico Ancona from Lincoln Lab that there should be typed messages and that ASCII should be enforced.

There are a few other agreements and disagreements listed here too but I won't go into details.


This document represents an informal “vote” from RAND on all the contentious issues so far in establishing the new HOST-HOST protocol. It's interesting that while there isn't anything like a formal voting process in place, there does seem to be a kind of ad-hoc voting going on. Or at least “here's my two cents” from all the major players. As Crocker has become more and more a kind of de facto leader of the Network Working Group at large, it seems like it's becoming incumbent upon him to digest all this feedback in time for the Spring Joint Computer Conference happening in a matter of mere days.

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About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm a Mozilla Fellow and I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project.