by Darius Kazemi, March 8 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.

Wildly enthusiastic

RFC-67 is titled “Proposed Change to Host/IMP Spec to Eliminate Marking” by William Crowther of BBN. It's undated but since it refers to Dave Walden leaving BBN for Norway, and judging from its number in the series, it is probably from August of 1970.

The technical content

Crowther backs his former coworker and collaborator Walden's suggestion to break messages in two and have a first message with leader data and a second message containing the actual content payload.

We can see no disadvantages to this scheme, and a sampling of Host reactions range from neutral to wildly enthusiastic.

I hope there was fist-pumping or screaming or something.

Crowther says that because the response was so good, the IMP team and BBN plans to implement this solution, and they will give Host sites a weeks' notice of the new solution with the specifications necessary to modify their network control programs to be compatible.


First, I think this is a masterfully written little paragraph:

We can see no disadvantages to this scheme, and a sampling of Host reactions range from neutral to wildly enthusiastic. Therefore, we tentatively plan to implement this change. We recognize that this change will involve Host program changes, and that the new release must be scheduled to coincide with those changes. We propose providing modified Host spec text along with a one week notice of the new release.

Understanding without being apologetic, but also taking action and not dithering. This is, essentially, a unilateral statement that they are going to implement something that will change the network in big and small ways for everyone.

Also worth noting that this is kind of a response to Walden's sentiment in RFC-65 that he feels bad to make a suggestion that would foist extra work on his former BBN colleagues. This is Crowther saying, to my mind, “Don't worry about it, it's a great idea and we are happy to do the work.”

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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.