[Fwd: Early TCP document -- RFC 675 -- available online]

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From: Strata Rose Chalup (strata@virtual.net)
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 02:42:45 PDT

Strata Rose Chalup [schalup@netscape.com]   |        strata@virtual.net
Project Manager                             |     VirtualNet Consulting
iPlanet/Netscape Professional Services      |    http://www.virtual.net/

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Some background:

Thanks to (what in retrospect turns out to be) collossal mismanagement by US military research funders, the online copies of most of the early RFCs were lost at some point. Several years ago, Jon Postel initiated a project called "RFCs online" to make these early RFCs available online again. A number of dedicated volunteers have taken paper copies and scanned/tyuped them in again. This project is still continuing, and we add a few every week. There are some 200 left to do.

Last week I proof-read the new version of the following RFC:

Cerf, V., Dalal, Y., and C. Sunshine, "Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program", RFC 675, Dec 1974,

and it is now online at the RFC Editor Web site. The easiest way to get it is the URL:


I have not checked carefully, but I believe this may be the first complete specification of TCP. It is interesting in a number of ways: how mature the specification was already at this stage, and features that were later omitted (e.g., letters). This document describes both the protocol (rather cursorily) and an implementation (in great and astonishing detail, with many flow charts). Note that this was before the TCP/IP split, so the TCP header includes local and remote IP addresses.

Finally, I want to tip my hat to Alex McKenzie, who was the volunteer responsible for most of the work on putting this RFC online. You should know that the original had some twenty full-page hand-drawn flowcharts. In what could only have been a labor of love, Alex turned them all into ASCII, a truly remarkable feat. Since this particular RFC is of great interest for tracing the development of TCP, I think his effort was well spent, but I think we should be very grateful to him.

I happened to run into Carl Sunshine yesterday at a UCLA Computer Science event, and he could not remember who primarily wrote this RFC. It is long (~70 pages) and detailed, so someone put an AWFUL lot of work into it. Vint, was that you, or Yogen?

Bob Braden

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