[mailhist-discuss] Segments of email history

Craig Partridge craig at aland.bbn.com
Tue Apr 10 07:34:18 PDT 2012

> On 4/10/2012 6:57 AM, Craig Partridge wrote:
> >> 1. Seamless addressing, with the DNS.  The domain name system provided a 
> >> naming overlay that became universal and supplanted local-part
> >> source-routing hacks of %, !, etc., for relaying across heterogeneous
> >> administrations and technologies.  (I could argue that the %-hack wasn't
> >> strictly source-routing, but it would be a very weak argument and it
> >> doesn't matter for this item...)
> >> 
> >> 2. Email routing, with the MX record.  Allowed remote sites to be as easy 
> >> to contact as ones "directly" connected to the network  core.  As routing 
> >> protocols go, this one is remarkably simplistic and yet it has proved 
> >> sufficient.  And it took some iterations to  get right.
> > 
> > Agree that these were separate -- but oddly enough they got resolved within
> > weeks of each other.
> No they didn't.  Domain names went into RFC821 and RFC822 in 1982, long befor
> e
> you created MX.

Hi Dave:

I think we're miscommunicating, so let me try again.

DNS made it possible to adopt hierarchical names in the Internet.  It also
provided a possible template for hierarchical naming elsewhere.

The decision by other networks to adopt not just hierarchy but the DNS
hierarchy, and for the Internet folks to respect subdomains created by
other networks, made it seamless -- and that was done at a meeting chaired
by Jake Feinler at SRI in January 1986.  The other networks had to develop
their own lookup mechanisms internally.

It was entirely possible, and indeed, gently threatened at that meeting
that the networks would adopt some other hierarchical scheme.

> I'm not positive that I put in syntactic support for domain names into the fi
> nal
> version I did of MMDF (end of 1982) but I have a ghost of a memory that think
> s I
> did.  Obviously this was semantically equivalent to flat names, absent MX.
> So, I suggest listing:
>    DNS as Mockapetris, 1982
>    MX as you, 1986.
> If folks think it's important to distinguish between invention of DNS and add
> ing
> its use to email, then RFC821/RFC822 would get listed for the latter.

Fine by me.


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