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[ih] NIC numbers [Was: The history of "This" network?]

In the late 1960's and early 1970's the NIC was the Network Information
Center, run under ARPA contract by Doug Englebart's "Augmentation Research
Center" at SCI.  The NIC had the task of collecting all the documents
discussing the network ARPA was planning and implementing, and making these
documents available to the community as appropriate.  Every incoming
document was given a number - these are the NIC numbers, and the NIC could
retrieve documents using this number.  When the RFC series was started by
Steve Crocker, RFCs were part of the document stream entering the NIC, and
therefore they were assigned NIC numbers.  Of course, as part of the RFC
series, they were also assigned RFC numbers, at first by Steve Crocker, and
later by others.  Every RFC had both a NIC number (which is rarely
mentioned) and an RFC number. Although it was not an RFC, the Host-Host
Protocol spec (NCP) did have a NIC number.

At the time the ARPAnet was being developed, the NIC distributed all RFCs
and certain other documents (including the Host-Host Protocol spec, and
later the Protocol Handbook, the ARPAnet Directory, and the Resource
Handbook) to all locations designated by ARPA as "ARPAnet sites" by US
mail, addressed to the "Site Liaison".  The Site Liaison was responsible
for internal distribution of the documents (as appropriate) within the site.



On Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 6:58 PM Michael Greenwald <mbgreen at seas.upenn.edu>

> On 2019-02-12 15:04, Dave Crocker wrote:
> > On 2/12/2019 12:37 PM, Alex McKenzie wrote:
> >> If you want to know about NCP, see RFC # 6529.  The NCP spec was not
> >> originally an RFC, since it was a specification, not a "request" for
> >> comments.
> >
> > Lots of early RFCs were specifications.  FTP and Telnet, for example.
> > And NCP was developed by the same community, wasn't it?
> >
> > And there are 3 sub-100 RFCs talking about NCP.  So it's interesting
> > the
> > the protocol itself didn't make it into the series back then.
> The NCP protocol spec was always available in the Arpanet Protocol
> Handbook,
> which collected protocol specifications equally from both RFC's and
> NIC's.
> I am pretty sure NCP was a NIC. I am sure it was in the protocol
> handbook.
> The Arpanet Protocol Handbook was available in every office I sat in at
> in those days, so the relevant NICs and RFCs seemed equally available.
> So I didn't feel that it not existing in an RFC form was a lack in any
> way. NIC vs. RFC didn't make much difference to me, then.
> I imagined that NICs were more "finished" and more "official" than RFCs,
> and
> also NICs seemed to apply to the ARPA net, and RFC's to the Internet.
> Perhaps
> this is just a reflection of my ignorance.
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