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Feast or famine? A response to two recent RFC's about network information (RFC0531)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003647D
Original Publication Date: 1973-Jun-26
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Document File: 2 page(s) / 5K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

M.A. Padlipsky: AUTHOR

Abstract

In RFC 514, Will Kantrowitz returns to the theme of his superb RFC 459. There are too many people spending too much time asking for too much information about Network Hosts. In RFC 519, John Pickens returns to the theme of his rather querulous RFC 369. It's not easy to learn how to use network Hosts. On the one hand, it would seem that there's a veritable feast of information going around; on the other hand it would seem that there's a terrible famine. Can this apparent contradiction be resolved?

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Network Working Group M. A. Padlipsky

Request for Comments #531 MIT-Multics

NIC 17450 June 26, 1973

Feast or famine?

A Response to Two Recent RFC's About Network Information

In RFC 514, Will Kantrowitz returns to the theme of his superb RFC 459.

There are too many people spending too much time asking for too much

information about Network Hosts. In RFC 519, John Pickens returns to

the theme of his rather querulous RFC 369. It's not easy to learn how

to use network Hosts. On the one hand, it would seem that there's a

veritable feast of information going around; on the other hand it would

seem that there's a terrible famine. Can this apparent contradiction be

resolved?

I think it can be, and will attempt to do so after making a few

observations about the respective poles. In regard to the issues

Kantrowitz raises, matters are perhaps even worse for the "big" Servers

than for the experimental ones; we have something like 50 CUBIC feet of

system listings for Multics, plus untold user-supplied programs which

might be of interest, plus several thousand employees (if our "site" is

construed to mean M.I.T. as a whole) -- surely they didn't want all

that, even before the request was withdrawn.

But what of the issues Pickens raises? Surely prospective users ought

to have some means of learning about the resources available. The

point, it seems to me, is that they do ... but they aren't using them.

As Network Technical Liaison for Multics, I've never heard from any of

the U.C.S.B. investigators. I don't even recall their having requested

a Multics Programmers Manual despite the fact that our Resource Notebook

section offers one to any Network site, on request. I do recall seeing

instance after instance of botched login attempts from them in our error

logs, though. I called their Liaison to alert him to the problem but

they weren't in touch with him either.) I also recall saying time after

time, after seeing them floundering around, "it's a pity nobody reads

the Resource Notebook."

That, I think, is the key: we have a Resource Notebook; it lists

Technical Liaisons; it gives information about the Hosts thought to be

relevant to Network users; it gives references to other published

information. _Why_don't_we_use_it_??? Sure, not all the sections are

up to par. Sure, some sorts of information are neither contained nor

pointed to. But that amounts to a need for seasoning -- the meal is

there, and it's neither a glutton's portion nor a starvation diet.

Let's work with what we've got instead of charging around demanding M...