Request For Comments

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Request For Comments

(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. W3. JANET UK FTP. Imperial College, UK FTP. Nexor UK. Ohio State U.

See also For Your Information, STD.
References in periodicals archive ?
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) of the International Federation of Accountants issued an exposure draft (ED)--mentioned briefly in the September JofA News Digest--that proposes improving the board's due process and working procedures by encouraging broader constituent participation through public forums or requests for comments on proposed rule changes; enhancing meeting agenda material and improving the board's access to comment letters to facilitate its deliberations; expanding the description of the process by which the board considers reexposing a draft international standard or practice statement; instituting procedures for resolving due-process issues and other measures.
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The Internet Engineering Task Force is a consensus-building body that facilitates discussion by posting Requests For Comments.
In addition, the Institute affirmed its willingness to assist the IRS in developing the format for a taxpayer profile (or history) and in responding to requests for comments about (i) focused training for CEP agents and managers, (ii) providing case managers with settlement authority (on either a test or nationwide basis), and (iii) whether a procedure should be adopted to settle certain types of issues on a "forward" basis (through all open years).
The Requests for Comments (RFC) document series is a set of technical and organizational notes about the Internet (originally the ARPANET), beginning in 1969.
Howes has authored or co-authored dozens of IETF Requests for Comments, including RFC 1777 (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).
He is the author of several journal papers, Internet-drafts, and requests for comments in the areas of IP routing, transport, and security.