July 6, 2018

6 RFCs for Understanding How the Internet Works

Reading the source is an important part of open source software. It means users have the ability to look at the code and see what it does.

But "read the source" doesn't apply only to code. Understanding the standards the code implements can be just as important. These standards are codified in documents called "Requests for Comments" (RFCs) published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Thousands of RFCs have been published over the years, so we collected a few that our contributors consider must-reads.

6 must-read RFCs

RFC 2119—Key words for use in RFCs to indicate requirement levels

This is a quick read, but it's important to understanding other RFCs. RFC 2119 defines the requirement levels used in subsequent RFCs. What does "MAY" really mean? If the standard says "SHOULD," do you really have to do it? By giving the requirements a well-defined taxonomy, RFC 2119 helps avoid ambiguity.

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