Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Remembering Jon Postel

Jon Postel, Internet, Request for Comment, RFC, Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, IANA
I met this man once. He changed my life. I named my son after him. I just realized this morning, I had never shared that information, even with my son. It's weird how we can hold some memories so precious, we don't even talk about them out of fear of breaking the spell it has over us. This is my epiphany for today. It was pretty good.

Just a few moments ago I was posting a comment to a friend of mine elsewhere in the book, and I realized I had forgotten one a few days ago, August 6, a very important man to all of us, whether you know him or not. But believe me, if you are any way involved with serious Internet programming or engineering, you very well know and respect Jon Postel.

This is one of the original Father's of the Internet. He is known principally for being the Editor of the Request for Comment (RFC) document series, and for administering the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) until his death. The IANA administers the numerical assignment of IP address groups, and thus controls the allocation and structure of the Internet.

RFC's are the core technical documents that describe from the top down to in highly granular detail how the Internet works. Specifications for every interaction are defined via these documents, and the system of world-wide collaboration that drives their definition, and continuously evolves the capabilities of the Net.

It was Jon Postel who from the Internet's birth, throughout its first critical decades, until his own death, Jon sculpted every critical word, punctuation mark, even blank space in every RFC that defined every single part of the Internet.

No one knew the Internet better than Jon Postel. And now you know Jon a little better, I hope. May he rest in eternally comforting, intellectually challenging, communicative peace.

Jon's Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Postel

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