The RFC -> Request for Comments If you want to write a program to use an internet protocol it is a good idea to actually read the RFC concerning the standard for that protocol. RFC's define the interfaces between servers, formats for e-mail, and how just about everything on the internet 'should' work. Should is the operative word.

If you've never read an RFC, you really should... just like your wisdom teeth... if you've never had them pulled, you really should!

The RFC was, throughout World War 1, Britain's air force. The letters stand for Royal Flying Corps. Towards the end of the war, Lord Trenchard amalgamated the RFC and the RNAS to form the RAF, which still exists today.

return from the dead = R = RFE

RFC /R-F-C/ n.

[Request For Comment] One of a long-established series of numbered Internet informational documents and standards widely followed by commercial software and freeware in the Internet and Unix communities. Perhaps the single most influential one has been RFC-822 (the Internet 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 (since actually implemented; see Appendix A). See also Infinite-Monkey Theorem.

The RFCs are most remarkable for how well they work -- they frequently 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.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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