Re: musings

"Louis A. Mamakos" <> Thu, 23 May 1996 15:19 UTC

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From: "Louis A. Mamakos" <>
Subject: Re: musings
References: <9605231347.AA08987@MAILSERV-D.FTP.COM>
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Thu, 23 May 1996 09:47:13 EDT." <9605231347.AA08987@MAILSERV-D.FTP.COM>
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 11:05:10 -0400
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> Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 09:47:13 EDT
> To: rreq@ISI.EDU
> Reply-To:
> From: (Frank Kastenholz)
> Subject: Re: musings
> stev writes...
>  > >So, my personal recommendation would be to back off from your
>  > >(laudable) desire for demonstrated interoperability for
>  > >rreq, and GET ON WITH IT.
>  > 
>  > 
>  > it is not clear to me that, based on the current rules, he *can* get on with
>  it.
>  > 
>  > at some point, as i understand them, the standardization rules require the
>  > document to be revised to remove everything that has not been implemented in
>  > *one* implementation. this does not mean *any* implementation. one was
>  > required to hopefully catch any race  conditions . . . . .
> RFC1871 -- the variance procedure -- may apply.
> there is also the historical precedent of ntp -- all ntp seems to be derived
> from dave mills' original code...

This is incorrect.

Mills' original code was written in PDP-11 assemby code for the
Fuzzball platform.

At the time that the original NTP protocol spec was being written
down, Mike Petry and myself , then both at the University of Maryland,
did a reference implementation based on specification.  This was as
much a validation of the protocol, as well as the veracity of the
protocol specification written on paper.  It was a very interesting
process and we worked closely with Mills in clarifing the written spec
when implementation questions arose.  There were quite a few drafts
which were produced at the time.

The implementation that we did was a "reference implementation" built
for "comfort, not speed".  It did function, however, quite well, and
is the basis for code being shipped by some commercial vendors, DEC
Ultrix and NeXT come to mind.

Sometime after, Dennis Ferguson, then of the University of Toronto
undertook his own NTP implementation ("XNTP"), targeted to NTPv2 with
a somewhat different implementation approach.  It's decendents are now
the implementation of choice for UNIX platforms.

There is a quite complete implementation of NTP in Cisco routers,
which I think may be based on Ferguson's version, but I'm not sure.

We had multiple interoperable implementions which worked quite well.
In fact, the dominant implementation which was deployed in far greater
numbers was either the version that Petry and myself did or later, the
Ferguson version; the Mills implementation didn't get quite so
extensive deployment because of the unique platform which it ran on.

While the process wasn't followed because it didn't exist at the time,
the spirit of it was because that's what made the IETF standards
process work.

(Oh, and the NTP RFC is one which really makes good use of PostScript.
It makes reading the math in it much easier on the eyeballs.  But I

Louis A. Mamakos,  Manager, Strategic Technologies,  uunet!louie
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