Al prossimo meeting, Jon
See you next meeting Jon
Claudio Allocchio
  • Jon had some very own unique features, from his large natural beard, to his love for striped shirts, up to a deep (and wise) conservatory attitude, as he was one of the "Internet fathers".
  • Hence, to include anything new in the network architecture, and particularly into DNS, the initial step was "to convince Jon that it could be done and the Internet will not collapse because of this".
  • In 1991, when with some very few other europeans I started to attend the IETF, in a time when IETF meetings consisted of 150 people maximum, Jon was obviously considered "the respectable boss", but a wise one, somebody who was open to listen.
  • I was one of those youngsters who landed in North America to "bring civilisation to the local natives," teaching them how to adopt, inside their TCP/IP invention, some protocols invented near Geneva (OSI), in order to make things even better.
  • As any invader, my task had also to overcame a further initial untrust feeling. So try to guess what happened when I tried to explain Jon that, jointly with some local open minded natives and the other invaders which came from the East, we could use the DNS to transport the mapping information between OSI (X.400) e-mail and Internet e-mail (RFC822) addresses…
  • The first thing he said was "it is a completely crazy idea".
  • But Jon was not somebody closed to novelty, on the contrary he was just a careful guy and he just aimed to understand better what we really wanted to do.
  • It took many meetings, all strictly in front of a nice set of beers on the table, and a lot of time before Jon said "OK… you can try with an experiment… and if this works out, then we check how to make this stuff better".
  • He was right… for sure the idea of inserting into DNS a new "resource record" may look simple… but then this new feature shall be implemented and included into ALL existing installations… and they were already many, even at that time; Jon's big concern was indeed not to create "technology dialetcs in implementations", and to keep a common language in DNS.
  • Surprisingly, it took only 6 months to achieve the self diffusion of the new feature actually everywhere… we were helped indeed a lot in this achievement because at the same time a bug had been discovered into the most used implementation (BIND); hence everybody rushed to replace the old versions with the new one (which had the new experimental resource record included).
  • At last, when we came to final considerations, Jon paied the beer to all of us… DNS could also be modified, if the procedure was carefully planned and controlled.
  • We thus understood that that guy was not the characted he could look at fisrt sight, and behind that beard and those glasses, a bit academic and a bit hippie, there was a smile…
  • ... a smile that, in a bad unexpected day, we were told was not among us any more, while we were waiting to say "Hi Jon, how're you?", a few weeks later, at the next meeting.
Happy Birthday ISOC