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Network Working Group Robert D. Bressler Request for Comments #72 M.I.T./Project MAC

                                                    September 28, 1970
     Bill Crowther's RFC No. 67 raised a much more  fundamental  issue
 than  the  question  of marking.  Any change to presently established
 protocol  is  going  to  involve  changes  in  the  hardware/software
 development  efforts  that have, in some instances, been going on for
 over 6 months.  In the case  of  Multics,  this  effort  has  yielded
 programs  either  complete or in the advanced debugging stages.  This
 is no doubt true for many other sites as well.
     The arguments being developed  here  are  not  that  the  present
 protocol  is  ideal,  but  rather that everyone has agreed that it is
 workable and has begun implementation of it.  We would therefore like
 to propose a moratorium on most changes to this protocol for the next
 6 months, or however long it takes to get this system running and  to
 observe its characteristics.
     Specifically this means not making changes that only  effect  the
 efficiency  or  ease of implementation.  If a major design problem is
 uncovered it should still be brought forward  for  consideration,  as
 could  issues that represent extensions to the existing system.  But,
 changes to the details of the present system should not be made.
     There are several points to be made in favor  of  this  argument.
                              [Page 1]

Network Working Group RFC 72 Robert D. Bressler

 The  first,  and  perhaps  the  most important, is getting the system
 working as soon as possible.  The major benefits of the network  will
 be  in the uses to which it is put, and development along those lines
 cannot really get off its feet until the network is operational.   We
 feel that, although the effort needed to reprogram part of the NCP at
 a later date will undoubtedly be greater, it will be  hidden  by  the
 parallel  effort  then  going  on  involving network usage and higher
 level network development.
     Another problem that immediately arises is what should constitute
 an  official  change to the protocol.  The history of the development
 of the current protocol shows that once an  idea  is  raised,  it  is
 modified  many  times  before it is generally agreeable to all.  Thus
 each new suggestion  for  change  could  conceivably  retard  program
 development in terms of months.
     Finally there  is  the  consideration  that  an  idea  may  prove
 unfeasible  once  actual operation of the network begins.  Any one of
 the currently agreed upon issues may  be  reopened  when  full  scale
 testing begins to take place.
     We think that these considerations are important enough to freeze
 the  network  protocol  unless  any  problems arise that would make a
 certain feature unimplementable.   Changes  then  leading  simply  to
 greater  efficiency would be saved until actual network operation has
 been tested.
                              [Page 2]

Network Working Group RFC 72 Robert D. Bressler

     This is not to say that new ideas  or  arguments  should  not  be
 brought  forward,  but  that  they should be brought forward with the
 understanding that they  are  not  to  be  considered  for  immediate
 implementation but rather to be discussed with a view toward possible
 later implementation.  This concept might  be  reflected  by  titling
 such documents, "Proposal for Post-Moratorium Changes to ..."
     [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
        [ into the online RFC archives by Bob Hinden 6/97 ]
                              [Page 3]
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