Network make-work (RFC0514)
Original Publication Date: 1973-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
Network Working Group W. Kantrowitz Request for Comments: 514 LL TX-2 NIC: 16445 5 June 1973 Updates: RFC 459
The ARPA Network seems to have developed the proclivity of dragging compulsive collectors and organizers out of the woodwork and placing them in the forefront to annoy everybody.
Recent occurrences have been:
1. A set of charts on characteristics of the hosts. The orientation seems to have been: If you can come up with names for the horizontal and vertical nodes and if it has to do with the hosts, make a chart out of it. This collection of charts goes under the euphemism "ARPA Network handbook". Information on a host is scattered over all the pages which is a questionable organizing scheme. Additionally, since the charts contain much of what is already in the Resource Notebook, we now have the delightful task of maintaining two documents when changes are necessary.
2. A telephone call asking for hourly loads on the TX-2 computer for every hour of the months April and May. One can easily imagine all this information being keypunched in some computer (on the network, of course) and then lovely bar graphs, curves, plots, etc., being generated. Probably in triplicate.
3. A mailbox message about a "central software repository" and a personnel file. (Copy of the message is attached). This was just too much and is the immediate precursor of this RFC.
My first reaction to the "central software repository" was that this has got to be some kind of prank. But when the second message (identical to the first) arrived an hour later and when I learned that others had also received it, I reluctantly accepted its legitimacy. Actually, sending the message in duplicate fits in very nicely with the general bureaucratic syndrome evidenced by the contents of the message.
This RFC addresses itself merely to the idea of listings of every program. That does not mean that I think that the rest of the request is better, just that I don’t have the time to write a treatise on the general subject. It should be noted (if not obvious) that what follows is being written with almost unbearable restraint.
Kantrowitz [Page 1]
RFC 514 NETWORK MAKE-WORK 5 June 1973
Listings of every program available to network users? Has anybody calculated how much paper would be generated? How many trees would have to be cut down for this paper? How many filing cabinets are going to be needed? How is this massive amount of information in its totality going to be of use anyone? Is there going to be an answering service which will answer such questions as to what is on the third line of page 5 of the listings of the editor at a given host? Will one be "required" to send a new listing in order to change a program?
This material has not been reviewed for public release and is intended only for use with the ARPA network. It should not be quoted or cited in any publication not related to the ARPA network.
From the point of view of a site such as TX-2, the questions...