(RFC) One of a series, begun in 1969, of numbered Internet informational documents and standards widely followed by commercial software and freeware in the Internet and Unix communities. Few RFCs are standards but all Internet standards are recorded in RFCs. Perhaps the single most influential RFC has been RFC 822, the Internet electronic mail format standard.
The RFCs are unusual in that they are floated by technical experts acting on their own initiative and reviewed by the Internet at large, rather than formally promulgated through an institution such as ANSI. For this reason, they remain known as RFCs even once adopted as standards.
The RFC tradition of pragmatic, experience-driven, after-the-fact standard writing done by individuals or small working groups has important advantages over the more formal, committee-driven process typical of ANSI or ISO.
Emblematic of some of these advantages is the existence of a flourishing tradition of “joke” RFCs; usually at least one a year is published, usually on April 1st. Well-known joke RFCs have included 527 (“ARPAWOCKY”, R. Merryman, UCSD; 22 June 1973), 748 (“Telnet Randomly-Lose Option”, Mark R. Crispin; 1 April 1978), and 1149 (“A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers”, D. Waitzman, BBN STC; 1 April 1990). The first was a Lewis Carroll pastiche; the second a parody of the TCP/IP documentation style, and the third a deadpan skewering of standards-document legalese, describing protocols for transmitting Internet data packets by carrier pigeon.
The RFCs are most remarkable for how well they work – they manage to have neither the ambiguities that are usually rife in informal specifications, nor the committee-perpetrated misfeatures that often haunt formal standards, and they define a network that has grown to truly worldwide proportions.
rfc.net (http://rfc.net/). W3 (http://w3.org/hypertext/DataSources/Archives/RFC_sites.html). JANET UK FTP (ftp://nic.ja.net/pub/newsfiles/JIPS/rfc). Imperial College, UK FTP (ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk/rfc/). Nexor UK (http://nexor.com/public/rfc/index/rfc.html). Ohio State U (http://cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/top.html).
See also For Your Information, STD.
- Request for proposal
programming (RFP) The publication by a prospective software purchaser of details of the required system in order to attract offers by software developers to supply it. Software development under contract starts with the selection of the software developer by the customer. A request for proposal (also called in Britain an “invitation to tender”) is the […]
- Request for technology
(RFT) The process established by the OSF to get proposals for new standards. (1994-11-30)
noun 1. the act of asking for something to be given or done, especially as a favor or courtesy; solicitation or petition: At his request, they left. 2. an instance of this: There have been many requests for the product. 3. a written statement of petition: If you need supplies, send in a request. 4. […]
noun 1. a sentence in an interrogative form, addressed to someone in order to get information in reply. 2. a problem for discussion or under discussion; a matter for investigation. 3. a matter of some uncertainty or difficulty; problem (usually followed by of): It was simply a question of time. 4. a subject of dispute […]