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Request for Comments (RFC)

Last Edit: 10/01/17

RFC is short for 'Request for Comments', and is a series documents which outline the technical architecture and protocols of the Internet. The inventor of RFC is Stephen D. Crocker: it was Crocker who wrote the first RFC document RFC 1. Crocker was part of the team (working group) which designed the first protocols for the ARPANET computer network in 1969. Due to the hap-hazard design process of these protocols, numerous documents were written, and it was Crocker - amongst others - who became aware that an official and organised document system was needed. RFC slowly evolved into a document system (publication) which describes:

  1. Internet systems
  2. Internet research
  3. Internet standards

The RFC document format, therefore, predates the Internet: as ARPANET was a computer network which was a forerunner to the Internet. Crocker, by RFC 3, had outlined a structure for RFC documents, and handed control of the document system to the Network Working Group, which consisted of:

  1. Steve Carr of Utah
  2. Jeff Rulifson and Bill Duvall at SRI
  3. Steve Crocker and Gerard Deloche at UCLA

The nodes of ARPANET soon expanded - the network proving a huge success - and before long thousands of RFC documents had been authored. A team of editors was soon required and most notable of all RFC editors was Jon Postel, who served an RFC editor from from 1969 until 1998

Present day, 2014, the RFC document series is published, organised and distributed by the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Society. The Internet Engineering Task Force is a community of computer engineers who concern themselves with evolving / improving the technical architecture of the Internet The IETF is International in scope, and is comprised of members from around the globe. The IETF states that information published in a RFC file must be concise, clear and easily understandable. Each RFC file is assigned a unique identifying number; such as: RFC 4021. RFC files are published in a basic text format, and do adhere to a commonly used syntax.