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In Memoriam

Jon Postel (1943-1998)

Goodbye, Jon
    On Friday, October 16, 1998, Jon Postel died of complications following heart surgery. Best known for his role as head of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the technical body that oversees the Internet's Domain Name System and allocated IP addresses, Postel had an overwhelming influence on the way the net has been shaped.
    I was surprised that no one had erected a memorial site remembering him. The man was one of the pioneers that built the Internet as we know it and no one seemed to do anything about it. As a result, I put together this page. It is nowhere near as good as what others will put together but I thought it was necessary for someone to put together a page that explained why this death is important and why the online community should care.
The IANA, RFCs
And many other things Mr. Postel did for us
    Mr. Postel was the top administrator at the IANA, the overall authority for IP Addresses, Domain Names, and many other parameters, used in the Internet. Recently, there was a lot of controversy surrounding that role, as the IANA was being transferred from a government entity to the private sector.

    Mr. Postel was also the official RFC editor. Short for Request for Comments, RFCs are a series of notes about the Internet, started in 1969 (when the Internet was the ARPANET). An RFC can be submitted by anyone. Eventually, if it gains enough interest, it may evolve into an Internet standard. Postel was "responsible for the final editorial review of the documents," giving him wide power as to the way Internet standards were shaped over the years.


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