- Jonathon Postel
Someone had to
keep track of all the protocols, the identifiers, networks and addresses
and ultimately the names of all the things in the networked universe.
And someone had to keep track of all the information that erupted with
volcanic force from the intensity of the debates and discussions and
endless invention that has continued unabated for 30 years. That someone
was Jonathan B. Postel, our Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, friend,
engineer, confidant, leader, icon, and now, first of the giants to
depart from our midst.
2468; I Remember IANA; Vinton Cerf; 17 Oct 1998.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has
been the central coordination, allocation, and registration organization for
Internet addresses, domain names, and protocol
since the early days of the Internet.
The IANA is housed at the University of Southern California's Information
Sciences Institute, where it manages a diverse database
of Internet Protocol parameters and values for the ICANN,
from port assignments to IETF
XML URIs, ensuring they are assigned
correctly and uniquely.
An historical snapshot of the parameters and protocols managed by IANA as
of 1994 can be
1700. Up-to-date values can always be found at the Protocol
Numbers and Assignment Services website. New and updated assignments
are periodically released as RFC's -- for example see the series RFC
3476. A good description of the technical work performed by IANA is captured
Jon Postel. IANA was run by Jonathan
Bruce Postel for thirty years until he passed
away in 1998. IANA's birth can be traced to 1969, when Postel first started keeping
lists of network protocol
numbers on a scrap of notebook paper. Postel joined
the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California in
1977, and later
became Director of the Computer
Networks Division. Helped by Joyce K. Reynolds since
1983, he expanded the IANA staff and functions to keep the Internet running smoothly
through the explosive growth years of the 1990's.
Jon's contributions went well beyond IANA -- he played a unique and pivotal
role in the development and maintenance of the Internet in its first years.
His contributions started
-- he worked
Engelbart at SRI International where he helped develop the NLS system
which became the second computer on the ARPANET,
and he worked at the Network
Measurement Centre for Leonard Kleinrock where
he helped connect the first computer to the ARPANET.
In addition to his work at IANA, after becoming the RFC
the early 1970's, he oversaw the documentation of the Internet's procedures
technical standards for a quarter of a century. He helped develop many of the
Internet protocols, including the Domain Name System, File
Transfer Protocol, Telnet,
and the Internet Protocol itself. He was the
custodian of the .us domain, a
founding member of the IAB, and a member
of the ISOC. He received many awards
for his contribution to the Internet, including the Association for Computing
Machinery's SIGCOMM award in 1987, and the International
Telecommunication Union's silver medal in 1998 for his role leading the
Resources. The following resources provide more information about Jon
2468; I Remember IANA; Vinton Cerf; 17 Oct 1998