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[ih] notable "bakeoffs" Re: internet-history Digest, Vol 84, Issue 4

On 5/21/2014 10:16 AM, Suzanne Woolf wrote:
> Was this the first such "bakeoff" for test/debug of interoperability 
> for TCP/IP or its ancestor protocols? Occasionally I try to explain 
> Internet history and processes to people outside of engineering 
> culture. In that context, what we mean by "interoperability" and its 
> role in usable standards is hard to explain, but keeps turning out to 
> be important?. thanks, Suzanne 

As recorded in IEN70 by our compulsive record keeper, Jon Postel, in the 
minutes of the 4 December 1978 Internet Meeting:

"In the afternoon we met at DCEC to test or demonstrate the TCP-4 
The four programs that were in a state to attempt interconnections were Jim
Mathis', Bob Braden's, Mike Wingfield's, and Dave Clark's. "

I am pretty sure this Dec 78 testing session was the first 
interoperability event("bakefoff")  for TCP/IP. We were testing TCP 
version 2 (or 2.5?). I think, and some of our implementations of this 
moving spec were a bit on the buggy side :-(

But I am a little bit puzzled by the difficulty of explaining the 
interoperability requirement. It takes 2 to communicate (although TCP 
had/has the neat symmetry property that allows loop back.  I expect that 
all of us did our initial testing using loop back. But of course that 
did not guarantee interoperability with others.)

Bob Braden