Location of ARPANET Protocol Handbook or its successor, online
will.senn at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 10:35:48 CDT 2020
On 7/3/20 9:21 AM, Noel Chiappa via cctalk wrote:
> It contains a whole raft of individual documents, most of them RFCs, and some
> "NIC"s - similar documents available through the NIC, but generally only in
> hardcopy form (like the earliest RFCs).
> Many of the most important non-RFC ones are available here:
> at the bottom of the page.
Your writeup and the links are quite helpful - like most stuff like
this, I lack the historical context and appreciate it when folks fill in
the gaps like this.
> I will create a page which lists the contents of the APH, since I
> gather it doesn't seem to be online. I'll email the list with the URL
> once I get it up.
Great idea. If I'd come across a TOC, I would have had a better idea of
how far to pursue the primary material. In this case, it was worth the
A bit of a ranting reflection:
I love the way these early works were written. To my mind, sometime
around the mid 1980's folks started baking in so many more assumptions
than the early writers that their work needlessly confuses newbies.
Thankfully, we seem to be cycling back around to better documentation in
some sectors of the tech world (FreeBSD manpages are one example). It's
like back in the day, everybody was new enough to the ideas that they
had to be carefully explained, terms had to be defined (agreed upon),
clear, and detailed examples had to be provided for pretty much any task
that was needed. Then once folks had a community going, they jargonified
it mercilessly, started the whole RTFM clique and littered the
literature with their private language. This continued for a number of
decades. In the early 1990's The baby BSD's, Linux, and Minix were born
and while at first it was all geeks, eventually, lots of people with all
kinds of backgrounds started delving into them. Here we are in 2020 and
the number of folks playing around with network related material (and
the OSes that make this playground pleasurable) is at an all time high.
This generation wouldn't know a bit from a bridle and so they need the
clear explanations, agreed upon language, and detailed examples once
again. Unfortunately, the accretion of relevant material over the
decades makes even fairly well written works gargantuan and by their
very size, difficult to grasp easily. So, for this reason primarily I
like the classics :). The good news is I'm starting to see a return to
the heart of the style in some corners. Let's hope it continues.
While the struggles of figuring things out the hard way has some degree
of merit, a well written document that is relevant to the task at hand
is like having a mentor at hand. I'll never forget installing Unix v6 on
a SIMH emulated PDP 11, way back in 2015, with only my printed copy of
"SETTING UP UNIX − Sixth Edition" by Dennis Ritchie at hand. After I
learned what a disk pack was (unbelievable) and how it related to the
devices provided by SIMH (thanks Noel and other SIMH/TUHS folks), I was
able to follow his instructions exactly and boot up a then forty-some
year old OS. In the process, I gained a great deal of respect for his
ability to virtually apprentice someone in the black art of research
unix even decades later.
Back in the present:
Many thanks Noel and those of y'all who are similarly minded, for your
efforts to sustain correct history and its attendant explicit and tacit
knowledge. Keep up the good work!
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