[TUHS] RFC formatting

Tony Finch dot at dotat.at
Tue Oct 8 23:21:16 AEST 2019

ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com> wrote:

> "why is the formatting so weird" someone asked me.
> I am guessing, looking at RFC 1, that it was formatted with an
> ancestor of runoff but ... anyone?

This is really a question for the Internet History list, I think

I don't know how things were done in the 1970s, except that the NIC used
Englebart's NLS. I get the impression that the earliest RFCs were
formatted using the facilities at the author's home institution; I don't
know about the mechanics of duplication and distribution, but it relied on
paper mail for some years until the NIC spun up an FTP server, e.g.

For a very long time, RFCs and drafts were produced using nroff. You can
see some of the remnants of that here:

For about 20 years there has been an XML source format for RFCs

But in the final stages the RFC Editor would convert to nroff to produce
the final published form.

They have just this week switched to a toolchain based on v3 of the
xml2rfc source format. I believe they aren't using nroff for the text
format any more, the publishing tool produces it directly.


f.anthony.n.finch  <dot at dotat.at>  http://dotat.at/
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