[ih] IEN's as txt

Vint Cerf vint at google.com
Fri Feb 10 06:14:34 PST 2017

On Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 7:23 AM, Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl> wrote:

> Many thanks to all for your input. It already gives me a lot
> to digest.
> I understand that I won't find much rationale in the IEN/RFC
> docs, but at least I can trace that way what the changes were
> and how this affected the various code bases.
> ---
> One fool can ask more questions than a thousand wise men can
> answer, so here are some other things that puzzle me:
> - The specs and implementations of 1978/9 don't interoperate (I
> think) with those from 1981, not at the IP level and not at the
> TCP level. Why were the protocol numbers never bumped?

because we were not in "release mode" this was experimental code and we
were not releasing into a large ecosystem.

> - I believe BBN got the contracts for reference implementations
> in the last quarter of 1980 and that work started immediately.
> Was there a sense in late 1980 that the specs were already final?

yes - they were pretty much frozen by 1978.


> - I think the flag day decision must informally have been taken
> in the summer of 1981, allowing time for it to travel up and
> down the chain of command and be formally declared in November.
> The specs were still changing as late as April, and as Jack said
> that was in response to bugs creeping out of the woodwork.
> What gave the comfort to declare TCP ready for use and that the
> changes were all done? Or was it simply that it could not be
> postponed further without loss of credibility or some such?

I wanted to get more experience in operational mode and the only way to do
that was to get it out into regular use. as program manager I felt a lot of
urgency since this has been in development since 1973.

> - As I understand, in November 1981 there was not a single
> production quality implementation of the April specs ready.
> Is that correct and if so, were the spec's simply frozen for
> a while to allow/force implementations to catch up?
well, that's your opinion. actually revisions in implementations have gone
on for decades including new flow control concepts and refined addressing
interpretations, etc.

> - The post flag-day part of Mike Muuss' tcp-ip digest seems to
> be mostly concerned with routing problems, even more so when the
> MILNET split happened soon after. Noel's message on GGP and
> ICMP suggests that this was foreseen. Is that correct or are
> these issues unrelated?
> On 10 Feb 2017, at 1:02 , Paul Ruizendaal wrote:
> > My underlying motive for this is to understand the changes to
> > TCP (and IP/ICMP/UDP) in the 1978-1981 time frame, and diff's
> > of the IEN's and RFC's would help. Perhaps this analysis has
> > already been done?
> >
> > One thing that surprised me is that the closing mechanics in the
> > TCP state diagram kept changing until very late. Perhaps it
> > was just a matter of ever more precise specification, but if it
> > was conceptual change it would seem odd that it did not show up
> > earlier in the testing process and 'bake offs'.
> >
> > Same goes for ICMP: it was a late arrival and the rationale for
> > abandoning the earlier approach is not entirely clear.
> >
> > Paul
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