RFCs and the RFC Editor
The Requests for Comments (RFCs) form a series of notes, started in 1969, about the Internet (originally the ARPANET). The notes discuss many aspects of computer communication, focusing on networking protocols, procedures, programs, and concepts but also including meeting notes, opinion, and sometimes humor. For more information on the history of the RFC series, see "30 Years of RFCs". The early RFCs include a trove of history about the early development of computer communication protocols, from which modern Internet technology was derived.
A recent tutorial for RFC authors contains an overview of the RFC Editor and the RFC series.
The function of the RFC Editor is primarily to publish and archive RFCs. The RFC Editor is responsible for the final editorial review of the documents and attempts to maintain the standards of the series. The RFC Editor maintains a master repository of all RFCs, which can be retrieved in segments. The RFC Editor also maintains a master RFC index that can be searched online.
The RFC Editor is funded by the Internet Society.
Each RFC has a "category" or "status" designation. The possible categories (see RFC 2026 "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3") are:
RFC documents are governed by very liberal copyright rules, which are essentially meant only to prevent the blatant misuse of RFC text.
Like the Internet itself, the IETF and the ISOC are international organizations with representation from all areas of the world. However, English is the primary language in which IETF business is conducted, and English is the official publication language for RFCs.RFC 2026 "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3" specifically allows RFCs to be translated into other languages than English, and repositories may exist for RFCs that have been translated into particular languages. This is highly desirable and useful, and the RFC Editor encourages it. However, it is not possible for the RFC Editor to certify that such translations are accurate. Therefore, the function of the RFC Editor with respect to non-English RFCs is limited to providing pointers to such non-English language RFC repositories. Upon request, the RFC Editor will list any such repository on this Web page.
This page was last updated on 16 November 2008.