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Amara Willey
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DATE: March 26, 2007

Geek Guffaws Coming April 1st: "The Complete April Fools' Day RFCs" to be Released on April Fools' Day

On April 1, geeks around the globe will be scanning the 'net hoping for more April Fools' Day humor courtesy of the IETF, the standards body that regulates the Internet and traditionally releases "gag" April Fools' Day technical standards like::

  • wireless Internet via carrier pigeon (1990)
  • protocols for remote operation of a coffee maker (1998)
  • the "evil bit" (2003)
Whether or not a new gag appears on Sunday, all the technical pranks the IETF has played on an unsuspecting world over the past 34 years are now collected in the 416-page book "The Complete April Fools' Day RFCs." Available April 1st (of course), the book features:
  • every April Fools' Day prank RFC ever released by the Internet Engineering Task Force as well as miscellaneous bits of humor and doggerel released on other dates
  • commentaries by the authors, computer historian Peter Salus and IT authority Tom Limoncelli
  • forewords by internet gurus Brad Templeton, chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and founder of the first "dot com"; Mike O'Dell, co-founder of the first ISP; and "NetworkWorld" columnist Scott Bradner, Chief Technology Security Officer at Harvard University.
This book is not only an entertaining compilation of artifacts from Internet history, but also contains kernels of wisdom of internet technology. Limoncelli notes "Everyone loves the TCP/IP over carrier pigeon RFC, but at the core of the joke is the same issue of high-delay networks NASA confronts communicating with space probes!"

"The Complete April Fools' Day RFCs" is a technical humor time capsule that any network engineer, system administrator, or IT junkie who has ever forwarded a joke to their friends will enjoy. It's available from Amazon and other online bookstores. For more information, please visit


Thomas A. Limoncelli (Bloomfield, New Jersey) is an internationally recognized author and speaker on many topics including system administration, time management, and grass-roots organizing. A system administrator since 1988, he now works for Google and has worked for small and large companies including Google, Lumeta, AT&T, and Lucent / Bell Labs. He has written/co-written two books, "The Practice of System and Network Administration" (Addison-Wesley) and "Time Management for System Administrators" (O'Reilly). He shared the 2005 Outstanding Achievement Award from SAGE with his co-author. His blog is

Dr. Peter H. Salus (Toronto, Canada) is a frequent speaker at computer events in the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Chile, and the Czech Republic. He has appeared on the BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, PCTV, and other media as a computing and networking historian. Dr. Salus has written or edited over a dozen books, including "Big Book of IPv6 Addressing RFCs" (Morgan Kaufmann), "Casting the Net: From ARPANET to INTERNET and Beyond" and "A Quarter Century of UNIX" (both Addison-Wesley), and the four-volume "Handbook of Programming Languages" (Macmillan).

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Please note:

  • RFCs-Request for Comments, definitive Internet specs, documenting how the Internet works. For example, how email is transmitted from computer to computer.
  • IETF= Internet Engineering Task Force. The organization that sets the standards for how the Internet protocols (email, web, and so on) work.