[ih] notable "bakeoffs" Re: internet-history Digest, Vol 84, Issue 4

Jack Haverty jack at 3kitty.org
Wed May 21 13:13:22 PDT 2014


>From the horse's mouth - http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/sipb/user/rlk/hack has
Jon Postel's thoughts.   Also, RFC1025 -
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1025is a good summary.

IEN70 and IEN77 captured the events surrounding the "first bakeoff" that
Postel held at ISI.  I think that Jon distinguished a "bakeoff" from other
"testing sessions" in that a bakeoff had a set of rules, a list of specific
test scenarios, and a scoring scheme.   Jon's 1985 email in that MIT
archive recounts the scoring structure of the second bakeoff, in 1980, and
characterizes the January 1979 event at ISI as the "first bakeoff".

That was the timeframe when there was a lot of pressure to nail down the
specification so that it could become a DoD standard.  I think the bakeoffs
were a crucial part of that process.  Jon used the results of the bakeoffs
to drive the creation of the documents in RFC 761 and 793, focused on
making the documents and the actual implementations match as exactly as
possible.

I've found in my boxes of history the scoring document that Jon handed out
to all of us at the first bakeoff at ISI, on 27 January 1979.  I can't find
it online (more accurately, Google can't find it).  Since it may be of
historical interest, I've scanned it and attached to this message.  Hope it
makes it through the email...

It's interesting to see how the scoring rules evolved from the first to
second bakeoff.

/Jack Haverty



On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM, Bob Braden <braden at meritmail.isi.edu>wrote:

> On 5/21/2014 10:16 AM, Suzanne Woolf wrote:
>
>> Was this the first such "bakeoff" for test/debug of interoperability for
>> TCP/IP or its ancestor protocols? Occasionally I try to explain Internet
>> history and processes to people outside of engineering culture. In that
>> context, what we mean by "interoperability" and its role in usable
>> standards is hard to explain, but keeps turning out to be important….
>> thanks, Suzanne
>>
> Suzanne,
>
> As recorded in IEN70 by our compulsive record keeper, Jon Postel, in the
> minutes of the 4 December 1978 Internet Meeting:
>
> "In the afternoon we met at DCEC to test or demonstrate the TCP-4
> implementations.
> The four programs that were in a state to attempt interconnections were Jim
> Mathis', Bob Braden's, Mike Wingfield's, and Dave Clark's. "
>
> I am pretty sure this Dec 78 testing session was the first
> interoperability event("bakefoff")  for TCP/IP. We were testing TCP version
> 2 (or 2.5?). I think, and some of our implementations of this moving spec
> were a bit on the buggy side :-(
>
> But I am a little bit puzzled by the difficulty of explaining the
> interoperability requirement. It takes 2 to communicate (although TCP
> had/has the neat symmetry property that allows loop back.  I expect that
> all of us did our initial testing using loop back. But of course that did
> not guarantee interoperability with others.)
>
> Bob Braden
>
>
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