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Internet Request For Comments (RFC's)

It should be stated at the outset that we are dealing with an extremely complicated system and one that is even more complicated to describe. It would be treacherously easy for the casual reader to dismiss the entire concept as impractically complicated -- especially if he is unfamiliar with the ease with which logical transformations can be performed in a time-shared digital apparatus.

The temptation to throw up one's hands and decide that it is all 'too complicated,' or to say, 'It will require a mountain of equipment which we all know is unreliable,' should be deferred until the fine print has been read.

- Paul Baran, On Distributed Communications, Volume I, 1964.

Request For Comments (RFC's) documents were invented by Steve Crocker in 1969 to help record unofficial notes on the development of the ARPANET. They have since become the official record for Internet specifications, protocols, procedures, and events.

Anyone can submit a document to be an RFC, although in practice they are generated by the Internet Engineering Task Force, and then reviewed by the IETF groups, various experts, and the RFC Editor before publication. An RFC is never updated, although it may be superseded by later revisions. RFC 2026, The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3, provides a good description of the Internet standards development process, and is updated by RFC 3932, The IESG and RFC Editor Documents: Procedures. The following subsections provide more information about RFC's:


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