BBN TCP Vax-Unix

By 1979 the basic TCP/IP specification had been finalized and in 1980 the US Department of Defence decided to make it its standard inter-networking protocol; Arpanet users were directed to switch over from NCP to TCP/IP on January 1st, 1983 ('flag day').

In January 1981 the design had been documented in IEN168 and coding proceeded in a number of places. In parallel, several loose ends in the TCP/IP specifications were tied in (for example, ICMP replaced GGP as the control message protocol) and these specification changes were back integrated into the code base. In November 1981 a beta distribution tape that overlaid on 4.1BSD was made available to the public and FTP-able from the BBN site (this is sometimes called the 'Gurwitz' stack, after its author Rob Gurwitz). The network API Rob used was very similar to that of the earlier NCP Unix from Uni. of Ill, SRI and Rand Corporation (see SRI_NOSC) as well as MIT's ChaosNET. With DARPA funding, the code was further developed and maintained into the early 90's.

Next to the networking extensions to the kernel, the beta distribution tape contains several user programs such as clients and servers for Telnet and FTP. It also contains a mail system based on a precursor to SMTP, called MTP. MTP shows the transition of mail from a feature of FTP to an independent protocol. WRT to the UNIX implementations, in the late 1970s, DARPA had contracted with BBN to write a reference implementation that could be used in a number of different operating systems. Besides that implementation a number of interoperable research implementations already existed (for an example the BBN 6th Edition UNIX and Stanford WAITS IP/TCP ). The BBN reference implementation ran on a number of systems that were popular to the ARPA contractors of the time such as UNIX and such as ones from HP and DEC.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, in the summer of 1981, a tape that supported 4.1BSD was made available on the BBN FTP site. While we are not 100% sure of the contents of that tape at this time, much of it survives in the CSRG archives and is offered here.

It should also be noted that UCB's CSRG group had a contract to enhance UNIX for the DARPA contractors with guidance from the DARPA steering committee; they were not responsible for the IP/TCP implementation for UNIX as BBN had already been contracted to provide the same. These OS enhancements from CSRG were to become BSD 4.2, with the first alpha version released to the DARPA contractors as 4.1a, 4.1b and 4.1c (See the TUHS BSD archives). In those releases, CSRG kept the BBN IP/TCP stack but created a new user mode API for the networking code, a.k.a. the Berkeley socket's interface, which differed from the UNIX file oriented API previously used by BBN et al.

LABEL 150 1992-12-01
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