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Request for comment. One of a series, begun in 1969, of numbered Internet informational documents and standards widely followed by commercial software and freeware in the Internet and Unix communities. Few RFCs are standards but all Internet standards are recorded in RFCs. Perhaps the single most influential RFC has been RFC 822, the Internet electronic mail (email) format standard.

The RFCs issued by the IETF and its predecessors are the most well-known series known as 'RFC', and is almost always what is meant by RFC without further qualification; however, other organizations have in the past also issued series called 'RFCs'.

The RFCs are unusual in that they are floated by technical experts acting on their own initiative and reviewed by the Internet at large, rather than formally promulgated through an institution such as ANSI. For this reason, they remain known as RFCs even once adopted as standards.

The RFC tradition of pragmatic, experience-driven, after-the-fact standard writing done by individuals or small working groups has important advantages over the more formal, committee-driven process typical of ANSI or ISO.

Emblematic of some of these advantages is the existence of a flourishing tradition of "joke" RFCs. Usually at least one a year is published, usually on April Fool's Day.

The RFCs are most remarkable for how well they work - they manage to have neither the ambiguities that are usually rife in informal specifications, nor the committee-perpetrated misfeatures that often haunt formal standards, and they define a network that has grown to truly worldwide proportions.

RFC 1, entitled "Host Software", was issued on April 7, 1969 by Steve Crocker.

For more details about RFCs and the RFC process, see RFC 2026, "The Internet Standards Process, Revision 3"

A complete RFC index in text format (http://www.ietf.org/iesg/1rfc_index.txt) is available from the IETF website, but because of its length, it is impractical to include it in the Wikipedia. The text of any particular RFC can be found by entering its number at http://www.ietf.org/rfc (http://www.ietf.org/rfc).

Here is the list of the most important RFCs:

822, 823, 824, 825

983, 985, 987

1006, 1009, 1066

1123, 1149, 1156

1495

1521

1632

1718, 1776, 1789, 1792

1809, 1812, 1876, 1889

1918, 1969

2026, 2045, 2046, 2047, 2048, 2049, 2083

2116, 2126, 2156, 2181, 2183, 2184

2223, 2231

2326, 2327

2401, 2419, 2420[?], 2421[?]

2525[?], 2535, 2543, 2549

2644, 2645[?], 2646

2747, 2748[?], 2749[?]

2822

3008, 3023, 3066, 3094, 3097, 3098

3106, 3114[?], 3115

3261

See also: FYI, Internet standard, BCP

partially based on FOLDOC

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