[ih] Re: ARPANET Telnet design story

David C. Walden dave at walden-family.com
Thu Dec 19 09:30:06 PST 2002


I am back home now, and can respond to your message.

I don't think I see the following paper on your list
of sources:
"The ARPANET TELNET Protocol:  Its Purpose, Principles, Implementation,
and Impact on Host Operating System Design," by J. Davidson, W. Hathaway,
N. Mimno, J. Postel, R. Thomas, and D. Walden), Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE
Fifth Data Communications Symposium, September 1977, pp. 4-10 to 4-18;
reprinted in A Practical View of Computer Communication Protocols,
John M. McQuillan and Vinton G. Cerf, IEEE, 1978, pp. 244-253;
also reprinted in Innovations in Internetworking, Craig Partridge (ed.),
Artech House Inc., 1988, pp. 322-330.
This was a fairly comprehensive statement about
Telnet as of the time the paper was published.  (I initiated
writing this paper, and Bob Thomas and I primarily wrote it
with the inputs and repeated reviews of the other authors.)  If you don't
have a copy, I can make a copy and send it to you.

I will also pull together and send you a separate message describing
in his own words (from prior email messages I have from him) how
Bernie Cosell came up with negotiated options on a cocktail
napkin during a plane trip he and I were making to UCLA
to meet with others in the ARPANET community,
how he did a blackboard and hand-waving explanation
at the UCLA meeting, how I promised meeting attendees
that we would document the idea, and how he and I documented
the idea and provided it as input to the then-happening revision of the
Telnet spec.

Best regards,


At 10:13 AM 12/11/2002, Adriana C. Arrington wrote:
>I am continuing the research for the technical history of Telnet with
>Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan for the THINK Protocols project.
>The goal of THIS email is to solicit some stories, opinions, regrets,
>deadends, etc. on the design (or early usage) of the Telnet protocol, that
>would add the personal touch to the story, help engage the novice reader
>in the subject, and perhaps better explain some decisions made in the
>development of the protocol.  The time frame for the story is
>mainly between 1968 and 1973, but any experiences after 1973 are also
>I have included the outline of the story as a reference, and in case you
>are interested, the URL to the current version of the story:
>Adriana Arrington
>The Design of the Telnet Protocol for the ARPANET
>December 5, 2002
>-The State of Networking and the Struggle to Organize (ARPANET
>  introduction)
>-Ad-hoc Telnet: The First Attempts at Demonstrating Remote
>  Login on the ARPANET (Late 1969)
>-The Old Telnet Protocol (1971 - 1973)
>   =Why Telnet Became a Protocol
>   =First Issues in the Effort to Standardize (Early 1971)
>     +The Need for a Consistent Character Set
>     +To Echo or Not to Echo
>     +The Trouble with Interrupt Handling on the Server Side
>     +Making the Telnet Connection
>   =The Necessity of the Network Virtual Terminal and the N^2 Problem
>   =The Experience with Old Telnet (1973)
>     +Asymmetrical Control Structure
>     +Little Room for Expanding the Number of Control Functions and Options
>     +The Problem with the Character-at-a-Time and Line-at-a-Time Hosts
>(what follows has yet to be written)
>-The New Telnet Protocol (1973 - 1980)
>   =The More Symmetrical Telnet: WILL, WONT, DO, DONT
>   =Negotiated Options - A Key Concept
>   =Solving the Echoing Problem
>   =Expanding the Set of Control Functions with IAC
>   =Help for Half-Duplex Systems: The Go-Ahead Control Function
>   =Comments and Experiences with the New Implementation
>   =Summary
>   =Relationship between the ARPANET Telnet and Today's Telnet


home address: 12 Linden Rd., E. Sandwich, MA 02537; ph/fax=508-888-7655/4168
web site = http://www.walden-family.com/dave

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