Internet Society Frontpage

Events Membership
About the Internet Standards
Publications  Public Policy
About ISOC Education

About the Internet Society 

Become an ISOC Member


Postel Service Award

More Background Information

Condolences and Remembrances
Vint Cerf

A long time ago, in a network, far far away, a great adventure took place

Out of the chaos of new ideas for communication, the experiments, the tentative designs, and crucible of testing, there emerged a cornucopia of networks. Beginning with the ARPANET, an endless stream of networks evolved, and ultimately were interlinked to become the Internet. Someone had to keep track of all the protocols, the identifiers, networks and addresses and ultimately the names of all the things in the networked universe. And someone had to keep track of all the information that erupted with volcanic force from the intensity of the debates and discussions and endless invention that has continued unabated for 30 years. That someone was Jonathan B. Postel, our Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, friend, engineer, confidant, leader, icon, and now, first of the giants to depart from our midst.

Jon, our beloved IANA, is gone. Even as I write these words I cannot quite grasp this stark fact. We had almost lost him once before in 1991. Surely we knew he was at risk - as are we all. But he had been our rock, the foundation on which our every web search and email was built, always there to mediate the random dispute, to remind us when our documentation did not do justice to its subject, to make difficult decisions with apparent ease, and to consult when careful consideration was needed. We will survive our loss and we will remember. He has left a monumental legacy for all Internauts to contemplate. Steadfast service for decades, moving when others seemed paralyzed, always finding the right course in a complex minefield of technical and sometimes political obstacles.

Jon and I went to the same high school, Van Nuys High, in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles. But we were in different classes and I really didn't know him then. Our real meeting came at UCLA when we became a part of a group of graduate students working for Prof. Leonard Kleinrock on the ARPANET project. Steve Crocker was another of the Van Nuys crowd who was part of the team and led the development of the first host-host protocols for the ARPANET. When Steve invented the idea of the Request for Comments series, Jon became the instant editor. When we needed to keep track of all the hosts and protocol identifiers, Jon volunteered to be the Numbers Czar and later the IANA once the Internet was in place.

Jon was a founding member of the Internet Architecture Board and served continuously from its founding to the present. He was the FIRST individual member of the Internet Society - I know, because he and Steve Wolff raced to see who could fill out the application forms and make payment first and Jon won. He served as a trustee of the Internet Society. He was the custodian of the .US domain, a founder of the Los Nettos Internet service, and, by the way, managed the networking research division of USC Information Sciences Institute.

Jon loved the outdoors. I know he used to enjoy backpacking in the high Sierras around Yosemite. Bearded and sandaled, Jon was our resident hippie-patriarch at UCLA. He was a private person - but fully capable of engaging photon torpedoes and going to battle stations in a good engineering argument. And he could be stubborn beyond all expectation. He could have outwaited the Sphinx in a staring contest, I think.

Jon inspired loyalty and steadfast devotion among his friends and his colleagues. For me, he personified the words "stewardship and selfless service." For nearly 30 years, Jon has served us all, taken little in return, indeed sometimes receiving abuse when he should have received our deepest appreciation. It was particularly gratifying at the last Internet Society meeting in Geneva to see Jon receive the Silver Medal of the International Telecommunications Union. It is an award generally reserved for Heads of State but I can think of no one more deserving of global recognition for his contributions.

While it seems almost impossible to avoid feeling an enormous sense of loss, as if a yawning gap in our networked universe had opened up and swallowed our friend, I must tell you that I am comforted as I contemplate what Jon has wrought. He leaves a legacy of edited documents that tell our collective Internet story, including not only the technical but also the poetic and whimsical as well. He completed the incorporation of a successor to his service as IANA and leaves a lasting legacy of service to the community in that role. His memory is rich and vibrant and will not fade from our collective consciousness. "What would Jon have done?" we will think, as we wrestle in the days ahead with the problems Jon kept so well tamed for so many years.

Jon has been our North Star for decades, burning brightly and constantly, providing comfort and a sense of security while all else changed. He was Internet's Boswell and its technical conscience. His loss will be sorely felt, not only for his expertise, but because the community has lost a dear and much-loved friend

There will almost surely be many memorials to Jon's monumental service to the Internet Community. As current chairman of the Internet Society, I pledge to establish an award in Jon's name to recognize long-standing service to the community, the Jonathan B. Postel Service Award, which is awarded to Jon posthumously as its first recipient.

If Jon were here, I am sure he would urge us not to mourn his passing but to celebrate his life and his contributions. He would remind us that there is still much work to be done and that we now have the responsibility and the opportunity to do our part. I doubt that anyone could possibly duplicate his record, but it stands as a measure of one man's astonishing contribution to a community he knew and loved.

Jun Murai

I just would like to express my sincere appreciations and thanks to Jon for his long time and continuous help on development/operation of the Internet. Especially from Asian countries who had some difficulties at first to get to RFCs, addresses, and other resources of the Internet, Jon has always been helpful and kind and been encouraging us to cooperate for developing of the Internet.



A Malaysian Journal: Changing the world quietly
Dave Crocker
[©Copyright 1998, D. Crocker, Brandenburg Consulting ]
[ A series of notes on living and working in Malaysia, during Jackie's ]
[ Fulbright Fellowship to Universiti Putra Malaysia, near Kuala Lumpur. ]
[ Copies may be freely distributed, but must retain this preamble. ]

More than anything, these notes concern lessons in perspective this year. I've just had an unexpected and upsetting one and hope you will not mind my exploring it with you:

Jackie and I are visiting Sarawak this weekend. It is the southern of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. A little over one year ago, we visited the northern state, Sabah, and I was confronted with the reality of an undeniably changed world. In the U.S., we still think of Borneo in terms of head hunters in the jungles. Indeed, Jackie works with a professor from the Iban tribe in Borneo and he says that his great-grandfather did hunt heads, as did all of the warriors in those days. In fact you could not get married unless you had some heads to show as proof of your bravery.

However what we see now and saw a year ago, are modern towns with the usual conveniences. More astonishing, to me, was that the conveniences included a "cybercafe" for Internet access. The fact of global access, reaching all the way to the "wilds" of Borneo, brought home to me, last year, just how profound the effect of the Internet is. I was reminded of that fact again, here in Sarawack, when I received news of the death of one of the Internet's true pioneers, Jon Postel.

Few of us get to participate in activities that really do change the world. Fewer still can be counted as principal contributors. For the Internet, a fair number of people have been put forward as pioneers, some deserving of the label and some not. All of the ones being touted enjoy the limelight. Jon was a notable exception. He only reached the public eye recently and he never sought or enjoyed it. For twenty-five years, he worked to help the community rather than garner recognition. Most of his effort was in doing administrative "scut" work, things that no one else was interested in, but that needed doing. So he administered the technical publications series, he administered assignment of registration values for technical protocols, he administered assignment of Internet addresses and Internet names, and he administered operation of the servers that map names to addresses.

There is no glory in doing administration and operations. Quite the opposite. People notice when it is done badly but rarely offer praise when it is done well. People in administrative positions often become petty bureaucrats. Since there is so little reward in the job, they artificially make it a base of power. So it has confused some who heard Jon referred to as the Internet numbers "czar". They did not realize that the community imparted the title to Jon out of affection and deep appreciation for his having brought order to essential infrastructure services. In particular the community used that term in full knowledge that Jon took his position as a trust, rather than as an opportunity for personal power. We always knew that his views came from legitimate beliefs and we never had to worry that he was somehow considering political or personal advantage. We might not agree with him, but we always knew was driven first by a concern that the right thing be done.

All this might give you the wrong idea about Jon. I was not a close friend, so I cannot claim to have known him well, only long. But he was entirely human. I certainly knew him well enough to find him a pain to deal with, sometimes, just like anyone else.

To qualify for responsibility over an infrastructure service, one must be conservative. Every change is a danger to the stability of operation, so every change must be resisted. Jon suited that requirement far better than some of us would have liked. In response to most suggestions for change, Jon's first response was "no". It took me many years to learn to put an idea before him and then walk away, rather than to press the arguments in favor. If I pressed, he entrenched against. If, instead, I walked away, he always thought the issues through carefully and responded constructively. For those of us who think that at any moment we know Ultimate Truth, it is frustrating to have to deal with someone who approaches things more carefully. Frustrating, but very helpful.

Jon was part of the student mafia that formed the original Computer Science department at UCLA. He went to Van Nuys high school, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, with my brother, Vint Cerf, and a number of others who formed that first team of students in the new field, at UCLA. It is easy to think about the professors who create an academic department, but it is also easy to forget the role of the first students. In these heady days of the sixties, this crew happened into the beginnings of a research project investigating shared access to long-distance data communication, designed to be robust against failure. They were inventing the Arpanet, which became the Internet. What they did not realize was that they were also inventing a culture.

I was hired onto that project in 1972, just in time for the first public demonstration of the Arpanet in Washington, D.C. The technology had been under development and testing for 3 years and it was starting to move into an operational phase, although an experiment of network behavior would often crash the entire, international system. There were a number of teams involved around the country. Officially the team at UCLA was the "Network Measurement Center" since the principal investigator was a leader in queuing theory and one of the research goals in creating the Arpanet tested was to measure the behavior that the queuing theory work had predicted. Jon, Vint, and others did participate in that work, but they served a role which I believe was more important in the long run: They led efforts to develop uses for the net, and they created the foundation for an approach to that development.

I had dropped out of college and this was my first full-time job. My brother had introduced me to computers ten years earlier, but I had limited experience and no formal training. This is not a particularly good background for someone joining a high-powered research project funded by the high-flying Advanced Research Projects Agency. Yet these folks never acted condescending or dismissive. Quite the contrary they were always open to any efforts to help. It was the perfect opportunity for real learning and contribution and I watched it repeated with many others who joined the team over the next four years.

Jon had the dubious privilege of getting me as an office mate. One day I noticed a think-piece that has been distributed by a graduate student at the University of Hawaii. It complained about poor performance over the satellite link to the Arpanet, and suggested a particular approach to solving it. I turned to Jon and said that it sounded pretty reasonable to me and might be worth developing as an "option" to the Telnet terminal access protocol. Jon concurred with my assessment. I said I'd be interested in giving a shot at the specification if he would help me and he agreed. This was my first technical effort and he mentored the process perfectly, always praising my newest version and then observing a number of fatal flaws. His style was so clear and direct that I was convinced he knew exactly how the protocol should be done but was humoring me through the learning process. I had no understanding of the general ignorance about building network protocols, at that stage of the industry.

Eventually, the specification stabilized and we published it. A few people implemented it and then it died away, in spite of his publishing a revision a bit later. After a few years I asked Jon about the reason it failed and he said that it apparently had a fatal flaw which caused client and server machines to lose synchronization with each other. Almost no one knows of this protocol today, but I consider it a superb example of the real "decision" process of the Internet community. One person suggested an idea. A couple of others fleshed it out. Still more people tested it. No one complained about authority or scope of responsibility, or following a particular process. No one worried about egos and power. The focus was on the problem and its possible solution. The problem was serious enough and the idea appealing enough, to get some people interested in exploring it. The idea failed, but it failed on its merits.

In the last two years, Jon found himself painfully in the public eye. Some of his work had suddenly become quite interesting, primarily because a decision at the US National Science Foundation made some of the activities under him worth a lot of money. This started an astonishing sequence of geo-politics and public platform-seeking by many people who had no experience with Internet development, administrations or operations. The money begat power, the power begat the politics and the politics begat the publicity seekers. Through all of it, Jon focused only and exactly on the underlying work. If he had a failing, it was in refusing to engage in the politics and, perhaps, in failing to institute some changes in his operation sooner. Unfortunately these failings led to his being pilloried by some, with the press all-to-ready to report the dramatic language.

I recently asked Jon whether he was able to get any real work done, now, or whether he was entirely consumed by the politics which surrounded the changes to his group's operation. He admitted that he had not been able to do any other work for nearly a year. I wonder how I would feel if I spent 25 years offering a community his kind of public service, only to find myself attacked so ruthlessly.

He was given some awards over the last year. Perhaps in response to the attacks, the professional community finally acknowledged his contribution formally. In spite of this praise, it must have been a serious blow to Jon, who has always been so modest and so well-intentioned, to be treated to such attacks. In 1991 he had heart operation and early this month he went into the hospital to have another. It cannot have helped his state of mind to be under exactly the sort of public pressure that he had always avoided. What effect did that pressure have on his ability to recover?

Vint Cerf is again Chair of the Internet Society's Board of Trustees and he has already pledged that there will be a Jonathan B. Postel Service Award, given to those who have contributed to the Internet community. Vint's announcement came just as I was deciding that we needed some sort of continuing acknowledgement of Jon's role in developing not just Internet technology, but Internet culture. I think the service award is exactly the right formal monument.

However I also hope that those engaged in the effort to evolve the organization that Jon built over the last ten years will give him a living, and more practical, monument. I hope that they will emulate his commitment to the community and his focus on constructive, pragmatic evolution, eschewing personalities and politics, and emphasizing community benefit. I hope that as the various factions continue the debate for the evolution of his work, each participant asks themselves carefully and honestly whether their contribution is worthy of Jon.

Dave Farber

A Life too Brief
by Dave Farber

I, and others I fear, have spent a sleepless night after hearing of the death of Jon Postel last night. This morning there was a note in my mailbox from Vint Cerf that said many of the things I feel at this time.

I also remember Jon. I was his primary thesis advisor along with Jerry Estrin and I remember with fond memories the months spent closely working with Jon while his eager mind developed the ideas in back of what was a pioneering thesis that founded the area of protocol verification.

Since I was at UC Irvine and Jon at UCLA we used to meet in the morning prior to my ride to UCI at a Pancake House in Santa Monica for breakfast and the hard work of developing a thesis. I gained a great respect for Jon then and 10 pounds of weight.

I will miss him greatly. Jon was my second Ph.D. student. The first, Philip Merlin, also died way before his time.

Bob Braden (ISI.EDU)

I have had the great privilege of knowing Jon Postel as a colleague and as a friend since the early ARPANET day, about 1970. I have sat countless hours in countless meeting rooms with him, as the ARPANET grew, became the Internet, and grew again. I know well how much of himself Jon put into the ARPANET and (especially) the Internet, and what a great debt we owe to his intelligence and wisdom.

Jon lavished quiet but passionate dedication on the Internet. He hated it when people said or did stupid or destructive things. And yet he carried a gentle sense of humor and a sense of proportion. What series of documents do you know, besides the RFCs, that include delightful surprises every April 1?

There are many aspects of the IETF culture that matched Jon very well. Dedication to making things that work, a never-ending attempt to keep protocols as simple and powerful as possible, and a slight counter- cultural tinge -- all characterized Jon. Our best memorial to Jon will be to try harder to produce protocols of the highest standards, and to document them clearly and with grace.

It was easy to overlook or underestimate Jon's contribution. He did not give riveting speeches; none of his phrases made it onto T shirts. Lots and lots of very bright people contributed ideas and words to the Internet protocol suite, but it was Jon Postel who spun out the final words that define the Internet. As far as I know, Jon had no model to follow when he wrote RFCs 791, 792, and 793, yet the result was a model that I personally have spent nearly 20 years studying and trying to emulate. And Jon's contribution was not just the skill and grace of his editorial style; in writing these documents, Jon determined much of the detailed content, interpreting and elaborating the ideas of others to produce one seamless whole.

A well known "sage" has recently talked about the cult of Jon and about his arrogance and his eliteism. Well, yes, there was a cult of Jon, in the sense that Jon earned the respect and admiration of many people. And he was a bit elitist, but only in the sense of trying to develop, preserve, and promost the best ideas. But arrogance is so far from Jon's personality that the claim is ludicrous.

For many years during the infancy of the Internet, his compatriots in the early Internet days admiringly dubbed Jon the Protocol Czar, with sub-title: Unfailing Arbiter of Good Taste in protocols. The Internet was able to grow lustily for many years with a minimum of engineering bastardization (entropy growth); we owe much of that to Jon's constant attention to good sense and detail. He used his position as RFC Editor and IANA to unflinchingly intervene to keep a modicum of good engineering sense in the Internet architecture. Jon was a roomful of wise and active committees, all rolled up in one.

Jon's untimely passing is a tragedy for all of us who have had the privilege of knowing and working with him. We will miss him.

PS: I send this message using Jon's protocol SMTP, to a domain name that follows a system he designed, using protocols that he helped to design and that he documented.

Jean Armour Polly, former ISOC Board member

I knew Jon when we were both on the ISOC board. What a mediator he was, and always smiling. In 1994, Jon was of great help to me personally when I was trying to get the first U.S. Indian nation on the Web < > A Cultural Survival Quarterly article about it is here < > Jon and I talked at
length, many, many times, about the merits (or not) of setting up a TLD for indigenous peoples who were not recognized as country codes of their own. He could have instantly dismissed the request but he considered it carefully, first from one perspective and then another as we all talked with the Oneida Nation for their input. I valued his wisdom then, and now
that he's passed on can only suspect he was needed elsewhere to help shape new communications networks. We will surely miss him here. My condolences to his family.

Mr. Cary E. Thomas, Director Administration and Business Affairs, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California

To: GOD@heaven.uni

Dear God:

I thought I should send you a note about the new networking guy that showed up this weekend, Jon.

If you don't like change, you are in trouble. He changed everything down here in less time than your children roamed in the wilderness with Moses. However, the things he changed made life much better for everyone on the whole planet. Most remarkably, he managed to do all this good without becoming greedy/rich, like most people down here.

If you have to pass a test to get in, you are in trouble. When I asked Jon what it was like in the very early days of the Internet he explained many things, but the thing I remember most was the way he described passing his PhD hurdles. For one stage there were a number of candidates. After a test, the results were posted on a hallway bulletin board. Some guys passed, some
guys failed, and next to Jon's name it said "See the Dean". Upon inquiring with the Dean Jon was told: "you passed, but you have an attitude!".

If you have a lot of silly rules, you are in trouble. We have a lot of silly rules down here. Whenever I tried to get away with adding any, Jon was there to show how silly they were. His idea was for everyone to simply do the right thing and everything would be fine. Once when I was fighting with our superiors on campus about a really silly problem ($2.99 worth of milk), I copied Jon on a long-winded note to campus attempting to refute the rules. Jon sent me a quick reply -- "good rebuttal, excellent arguments, and you are (finally) getting an attitude; keep it up!".

Other than the things I've pointed out, I think the two of you will get along well. Depending on how recently he has had a haircut and if he brought his sandals, his attire and appearance will be familiar to you. He is a peaceful, quiet, caring, intelligent, and sincere guy. But whenever he gets that Junior-high-school-boy-grin on his face, be careful -- he's up to something mischievous.

Be sure to say "Hi" to him for us; we miss him already.



Dr. Gerald Estrin, UCLA

"Jerry Estrin recalls Jon Postel as a wonderfully fine, gentle, unselfish human being who truly cared about people and his professional contributions. In the 1970s, he was fearless in trying to apply an emerging graph model to verification of complex ARPANET protocols. I will not forget Jon coming to me during a graduate seminar and gently asking if I could refrain from pipe smoking during class. He showed the same foresight about the toxic effects of smoking as he did about the positive potential impact of computer networks."

Brian Carpenter (IAB Chair)

(in response to above e-mail)

Thank you Bob for those words. As a comparative newcomer I won't attempt to match them, but let it be said that Jon's wise counsel often helped me personally, and the IAB, to choose the right course. Last Tuesday we had an IAB teleconference without Jon, one of the very few such over the years, and it is infinitely sad that we will never hear his calming voice again.

Stefano Trumpy, Chairman - Advisory Council of ISOC

The Advisory Council had the highest respect and appreciation for the contribution that Jon has made to the Internet but that, most of all, we will miss him as a friend.

George Sadowsky

I did not know Jon as well as many of you did, since I only rejoined the advanced computing world from the United Nations in 1986. But in the years that I knew of him and then had the pleasure of working with him on the ISOC Board and getting to know him, I saw in him a source of knowledge, stability, and dependability in guiding the Internet into uncharted territory as it grew well beyond its founders' wildest expectations.

During the past several years I have viewed him as a source of reason at a time where many others seemed to have lost theirs. I fear that our loss will not only be keenly felt now, but also in the future as we will have to search hard to replace that dedicated guidance and wisdom.

Christine Maxwell

I was very shocked and saddened to learn of Jon's death. I would just like to say that I found Vint's words most comforting - and so right.

I think the concept of establishing an award in Jon's name - and of the fact that Jon himself would want us to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death and to strive our very best to continue the extraordinary legacy that he has left us.

I know, that even I, who knew him very little, in comparison to most other Board members, will miss him very much.

Jose Luis Pardos

Hello Jon:
Last saturday and sunday were my only days I have not been connected, on many passed last years. I wasn't feelling well after a hetic trip from Copenhague to Madrid and next day to Biarritz. Now I opened my PC and see that you are already gone
really into cyberspace!!!!!!!

You have left a mark among us, a very deep one , a very practical one, as well as an image of a very broad minded type of a Good man. I will never forget the day, last July in Switzerland, when we crossed together with Vint Cerf and our wives, the parking lot towards the Geneva Palais Expo and you were telling me so fundamental things in such an easy, short and deepd way too.

Your life has been marked by the enormeous progress you have achieved for *all* of us with the Internet and with IANA....and you have even done the last try !

Hope we can follow your example. I know you are always around anyone of us, who besides trusting you, thanking you, also loved and liked you very much and mainly for your human values and no doubt for your intelectual achievements. Well all have great memeories, from getting to know such a person like you Jon.

It was really worth while !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr Tan Tin Wee, Chairman
Asia Pacific Networking Group

APNG condolences

The Asia Pacific Remembers Jon Postel

On behalf of fellow Internauts in the Asia Pacific, I send deepest condolences on the passing away of Dr Jon Postel. Dr Postel has helped in the rapid growth of the Internet in the Asia Pacific and we are most grateful for his help to us over the years.

As a result of the disproportionate criticism of Jon from various quarters, the leaders of Asia Pacific Internet organisations had recently discussed how to correct the imbalance, and honour Jon Postel for his immense and outstanding life time work. I had suggested to give him an award as a joint effort of APNG, APAN, APNIC, APIA, APTLD, APPLe, APRICOT. Alas, any such award will sadly have to be posthumous now.

Jon Postel, we will miss you for a long long time to come.And as the motto on states, we will pledge ourselves to uphold that blazing torch of Internet altruism you have held up so high; we will keep alive that unwavering Internet spirit of voluntarism which you have exemplified; we will dedicate ourselves towards "preserving the central coordinating functions of the global Internet for the public good", the ideal which you have so boldy stood for.

Mario Lanza, Member of The Internet Society Internet de Honduras

I don't have words for this!
I really sorry....

Jim Dixon Managing Director
VBCnet GB Ltd

May I suggest that we all spend a day or two speaking little and thinking a great deal. Jon Postel's passing marks the end of the early days of the Net, a period in which the operation of the Internet has depended in large part upon the moral authority of one man. He is gone, and all our plans, all so intricately and carefully constructed around the fact of his presence, must now change. The trust and cooperative spirit of the Internet must not die with him.

Nigel Roberts
Channel Islands NIC, Alderney

I am sure some on this list are already aware of the passing of Dr Jon Postel late last night.

In view of this quite momentous piece of news, I would respectfully like to propose that the entire World Wide Web should turn its background black as a gesture of respect to Dr Postel.

When Marconi died, the entire world observed two minutes radio silence.

Jon Postel's contributions to world wide communications are every bit the equal of Marconi and I feel this is the least could do.

We heard the news about an hour ago, and have done so on the website for the Channel Islands Domain Name Registry ( as an example.

Ken Stubbs
Chairman - Internet Council of Registrars (CORE)

We at CORE were deeply saddened to hear of Jon's death.

Jon Postel's passing is a loss of extraordinary proportions. His vision of a world drawn together through a vast common communications network has become a reality, and his genius and leadership were the key to its realization.

Jon's legacy is a proud one, but his work remains unfinished. His star, which shone so brightly while he was among us, now hangs like a beacon on the horizon. We must recommit ourselves to follow his unerring sense of direction. We have lost the visionary, but we can not lose the vision.

Jon listened to all, he carefully weighed every voice and concern, and helped us develop and choose a path for a new organization that preserves and expands the integrity and stability of the Internet for the future.

We at CORE stand ready to help assure that Jon's work, and, truly, all our work, has not been in vain.

Pablo Di Noto, Argentina

As one of many many networkers, I knew Jon Postel through his work. That is enough to feel a great loss.

I hope those who knew him better, and Internet as a whole, take Postel's example as a guide.

My sincere condolences

Hidematsu Kasano

No other pioneers could not get it, the World-wide Internet.
No mother could not lead here.
No bother could not close to the Net.

Jon Postel was the Internet and will keep alive in it.
Thank you, Jon and the Internet, for future.

Be in the Nehan.

Giandomenico Massari, for: Isoc Nigeria Chapter

With sincere sorrow all Isoc Nigeria Chapter members join the sudden death of Jon Postel. For us will be unforgettable all the way Jon has marked out to realize the Internet dream. The knowledge Jon imbibed, the inspiration, his courage and hard work will be never forget. He remain a milestone on Internet history and will be remembered for his pioneering example

Veni Markovski,
Chairmain, the Internet Society - Bulgaria

I am really sorry to hear that.

We've had a few arguments with Jon, but I have always respected his work in the Internet field as a professional and now that I know the details, I am even more shocked and impressed by the work he's done.

I believe we shall try to make something to have him remembered as a person, and if you could, please, pass my simpathies to his family.

Jon had tremendous duties, and I hope he was spending enough time with his relatives, family, friends who were happy to know him personally.

This is a loss that we all share and may be some of us haven't yet realised and we all suffer together with you...

Juan Carlos

Querido amigo Jon,

Siento mucho tu despedida tan precipitada. Aún no era tu momento.

La libertad que inspira tu obra es digna de alcanzar a todos, ójala que lo veas dentro de poco.

Gracias por tu dedicación a la causa más digna de los últimos años.

Que Dios te acoja entre los luchadores de la libertad.

Gracias por todo.

saludos cordiales,

Dear friend Jon,

I feel much your dismissing so hasty. Not yet it was your moment.

The freedom that inspires your work is worthy to reach to all, ójala that you see it soon.

Thanks for your dedication to the worthiest cause of the last years.

That God welcomes to you between the fighters of the freedom.

Thanks for everything.

warm greetings,

Michel Albrand

I am deeply shocked by the news of the death of great Internet pioneer Jon Postel. He will be one of the first persons to contribute to putting meaning into electrons to such an enormous scale.

May he be remembered long after the numerous RFCs he co-signed have gone into obsolescence.

Ken Adler, Pioneer ISOC Memeber

Jon... thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to help someone you did not know with a silly question.

IF it were not for your help, I would not have been able to find the RFC for IP over Avian Carriers (I was looking for IP over Carrier Pigeons!)

Sanjaya, President Director PT IndoInternet, Jakarta-Indonesia


I know you can read e-mail from 'up' there :-)

You may not know us, but we are one of the grateful ones who make a living from the Internet. Without your leadership we wouldn't have reached this far.

May you rest in peace, God Bless you my friend...

Maite Zarza

My condolences, the soul shall always live.

Sascha Boerger

Hi Jon!

To say it with the words of Vint: I look forward to seeing you, someday.

Edgar Danielyan
Armenia NIC

He was a good man and good scientist. He made the Internet work and the Internet was work of his life. Internet changed on October 16th. People who knew him personally will remember him. Some people won't. But his work is here to remain.

Thank you, Dr. Postel.
We miss you, Dr. Postel.

Internet Policy Oversight Committee

The Internet Policy Oversight Committee joins the world in mourning the death, on October 16, 1998, of Dr. Jonathan Postel, a founding father of the Internet and the director of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

As a direct result of the initiative by Dr. Postel and the Internet Society in 1996, our committee was formed originally as the International Ad Hoc Committee to undertake a restructuring of the generic top level domains of the Internet. Some of us were fortunate enough to have known him for many years; others came to know him as an inspiring and legendary figure who provided wise counsel, mixed with humor and friendship, as we struggled to bring consensus to a subject that generated no small amount of controversy. Dr. Postel not only led us through the engineering thickets. He also quickly realized that the explosive growth of the Internet had brought in legal and political concerns that would radically change the way the Internet had operated in its first 25 years. In an astonishingly short time, he absorbed a crash course in intellectual property law, and was able to point the way to an entirely new foundation for the administration of the net. We had no quarrel with the description, by the Economist Magazine, of Jon's role in the Internet - god. Characteristically selfless, he never took such statements seriously.

We share the sorrow of all involved with the Internet, and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and colleagues.

The Policy Oversight Committee


Condolences from staff at www.consult and ramin.404

Engº Silvio Almada DIRECTOR

É com muita tristeza que acabo de receber esta noticia pessoalmente admiro este grande homem por tudo que fez em prol da Internet. Seu desaparecimento fisico constitui uma perdida inreparalvel. Para sempre viveras nas nossas memorias sempre que abrirmos uma pagina na Net estas presente.

t is with much sadness that I finish to receive this news personally I admire this great man for whom it made in favor of the Internet. Its fisico disappearance constitutes lost inreparalvel. Forever you live in our memorias always that to open a pagina in the Net this gift.

Duncan Richards, France

A "recent" comer to Internet and to ISOC, I never had the privilege to meet Jon Postel.
However, I was (am) aware of all that he acheived for Internet - and therefore for me, a user.

So, bye Jon, see you somewhere in cyber-heaven (if they'll have me!).

Ken Friedman, Ph.D.
Department of Knowledge Management
Oslo, Norway
(in an e-mail response to Prof. Farber)

Dear Prof. Farber,

Thank you for your words on Jon Postel.

I came to Internet too late to know many of the giants personally, and technical issues mystify me as much as social issues fascinate me. Still, I remain gratefully aware of what a number of dedicated, service oriented human beings have built.

When I read a tribute such as yours, I feel ever more intensely how human ingenuity and passion gave rise to the projects that make such a difference to the way I live and work today. I did not know Jon Postel, but I share with you a sense of gratitude for his work and an appreciation for his contribution.

Thank you.

Alvaro Fdez. Lago
Hospital Xeral de Vigo, Spain

I only wish to express my sincere condolences and mourning by the death of Jon Postel.

He was that sincere and human-powered force that boosted the Internet to what´s today. He will be from now in our lives.

Descanse en paz.

ReindeR, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

I just finished reading 'When Wizards Stay Up Late' last week where I first read about Jon Postel.

Today I read that he is longer out there. Too bad.

Rahmat M.Samik-Ibrahim VLSM-TJT

Hello (I even owe the "Hello" greeting from Jon):

Somehow, on October 17, I was in the mood to scrutinize the whole RFC archive. Then, I selected about 100 RFCs that (IMHO) are interesting as well as not so technical.

The result is at and it is dedicated to Jon Postel.

Renzo Toma, Veronica Internet

People with a vision..will never be forgotten. My condolences,

Michiel Boland

Jon is gone; the 'net won't be the same without him.

Fred Eisner, Dutch Internet Service Providers
Jon . .

we liked you,
we admired your work,
we grieve your death

Ron Snijder | Worldwide Internet Services Holland B.V.

On behalf of all the personnel of WISH, i hereby give my condolences to the family, friends and those who knew Dr. Jonathan B. Postel.


The Internet has lost a person, who has done a great job to develope the internet. We hope that his work gives others the vision to continue the developement of the intenet.

Robert Bouwhuis

In Geneva, during the ISOC conference, I had the chance of talking to Jon Postel. His energy, wit and ongoing ambition impressed me deeply. I will remember him.

Torbjørn Solstad, Internet Innherred

Condolences on this sad occation.

Theo Nii Okai, Snr. SCADA Engineer, VRA, Ghana

Dr. Postel was one selfless individual who devoted a greater part of his life for the common good.

He will be sourly missed.

Miguel A. Sanz, Madrid SPAIN

I´m deeply impressed by Jon's death. The Internet community at large is in ethernal debt with him. His huge contribution deserves to be universally recognised.

Carlo Seddaiu

My sincere condolances.


A most unexpected and unpleasant surprise, and a staggering loss for the computing world and society at large.

The only consolation I can think of is that, if there is any way to set up communication between this world and the afterlife, Jon will surely be the one to figure out how to do it!

Peter H. Salus

I would like to add my words to those expressing their condolences on Jon Postel's death. Over the years, Jon has been unfailingly helpful, sending me copies of early RFCs, IENs, etc. He also made several important critical emendata to my Casting the Net, and to other works.

The entire networking community has suffered a major loss.

Gordon Howell, Managing Director, Internet Business Services Consulting

Jon's tragic death and selfless life were an inspiration to us all, and a personal hero of mine.

We can best honour him by understanding the work he did and its importance, and using his death if necessary to raise awareness of the importance of proper and rational governance of the Internet and the work of ISOC, IANA and others.

Thank you Jon for providing such a shining example for all of us to follow and attempt to emulate.

Karen Metivier-Carreiro, Public Policy Ph.D. Candidate, Science & Technology field, The George Washington University

I met Jon Postel what seems like a lifetime ago. His entire being made such an impact on me. His job -- no, his passion -- was so selfless and sustaining. He challenged me to think in entirely different perspectives. Thank you, Jon, for your inspiration. Know that your example set in motion the career paths of many future scientists -- including this one.

Hamdi Tounsi

toutes mes condoléences à la famille de Mr Postel et aux internautes Je n'ai jamais connu Mr Postel personellement, néaumoins, j'ai été profondément touché par sa disparition. L'internet représente une fraction importante de mon monde à moi, d'où l'intérêt particulier que j'ai ressenti pour le rôle qu'a joué cet homme dans l'élaboration de cette "chose" fantastique qu'on appelle aujourd'hui : "internet" Mr. Jonathan Postel, repose en paie, les génération futures ne t'oublierons jamais.

All my condoléences with the family of Mr. Postel and the Net surfers I never knew Mr. Postel personellement, néaumoins, I was deeply touched by his disappearance. The Internet represents a significant fraction of my world to me,
from where the particular interest that I felt for the role that played this man in the development of this fantastic " thing " which one calls today: " Internet " Mr. Jonathan Postel, rests in pay, the generation future will never forget you.

Doug Humphrey, Founder/CEO/CTO - Digex, Founder/CEO - SkyCache, inc.

Sad to see you go, you contributed so much, the net was your mission. You will live on in the RFCs - a measure of immortality assured! Thanks for all that you did in the beginning, when there was no glory in it, when it was simply "the right thing" to do. The net was your family, and it morns your passing now, and thinks of you, remembers you, honors you.

Toni Alatalo

"What if Jon Postel dies?"

was a question someone asked as a serious joke during the DNS talk in ISOC Inet'97. The meeting in Malaysia was my first meet contact with ISOC - the Internet people and pioneers it brings together.

After the conference I returned back home to Oulu in the North of Finland full of belief, new enthusiasm and will to continue working with the Internet. Much of that was thanks to the warm atmosphere I had felt in Kuala Lumpur - and obviously I don't mean the tropical climate here. I have a picture of Vint Cerf dancing! <URL:>

Trying to cover the costs of the inet-holiday I had to write about it. One main theme was DNS and the governmental/political issues it had brought up. Browsing my notes I came across a sentence:
"What if Jon Postel dies?" and remembered the discussion. That became the leading theme and the title for the article in the Helsingin Sanomat web-publishment. The answer was yet unclear but has been coming closer to solution since, as you all know. In the end of the article I wrote how important (and fun!) it was that "the old-beards" like Jon, who started it all, were still actively taking care of the net.

Vint told us many different sides of Jon - many that I didn't know from before (I wish I had). Right now I feel really mixed about all this. It is a day of sorrow but not desperation. His work and person will be remembered. For me he was the first contact, helping to understand.

Cassady Kent

I didn't know him personally but what an extraordinary man he must have been. And a miracle that modern medicine, his surgery in 1991, allowed him to finish what he had begun almost thirty years ago. His achievement is a challenge to each of us--reminding us how much of a difference one man can make--and the shock of his death reminds us that we're all in this together.

For good or ill, the world we inhabit is created by women and men of Jon Postel's stature, but science has not conquered nature yet, and never will.

Dave Pascoe

I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Jon Postel. I've been involved in the Internet community for some time now and Jon served as one of my role models. I read intently all of Jon's postings and communications, and tried to learn from him. He was a true icon in the Internet world, and a true hero as well.

The world will miss a true contributor. And I will miss one of my role models....there are few enough of them to go around, and I really feel a sense of loss.

Internet Texoma

Internet Texoma joins the rest of the Internet community in mourning the death of Dr. Jon Postel.

Our condolences to Dr. Postel's family and friends.

Jerry Huang IBM Global Services, Network Services

Please pass on my sincere condolence as you do thousands upon thousands others. The Internet would never have become what it is today without him, his work, his care. Although I have never had the chance to meet him face to face, millions like me learned and benefited enormously from reading his work.

As the Chinese proverb goes: Those who are devine don't live long.

Manuela Profili

Chiedo scusa se scrivo in italiano, ma riesco ad esprimere meglio i miei sentimenti. Spero che qualcuno arrivi a capire.

Ho conosciuto il signor Jon Postel a Ginevra lo scorso mese di Luglio. Con alcuni colleghi (Massimiliano Porta e Maurizio Gotta) abbiamo parlato con lui a lungo su questioni relative all'assegnazione dei domini. Abbiamo avuto tutti l'impressione che Jon Postel fosse un grande personaggio con una forte personalità.

A nome dell'Associazione Padania in Europa, della Lega Nord e a titolo personale e dei miei colleghi Maurizio Gotta e Massimiliano Porta esprimo le più vive condoglianze alla famiglia, ai suoi amici e a tutta l'Internet Society.
I ask excuse if I write in Italian, but succeed to express my feelings better. I hope that someone succeeds in to understand.

I have known Mr. Jon Postel to Geneva the slid month of July. With some colleagues (Massimiliano Porta and Maurizio Gotta) we have spoken with he to along on relative issues to the allocation of the dominions. We have had all the impression that Jon Postel was a great personage with one strongly personality.

To name of the Padania Association in Europe, of the Alloy for a reason or purpose personal North and and of my colleagues Maurizio Gotta and Massimiliano Door I express the alive condolences to the family, its friends and all the Internet Society.

Mark Leighton, Fisher Thomson Consumer Electronics

My job has involved Internet protocols for 6 years now, and I quickly realized from reading RFCs that Mr. Postel was one of the guiding lights of the Internet. His presence will surely be missed.

Valentin Lacambre. (french isp)

John Postel is immortal.

John postel is and will remain in my heart.

Merce Molist

We loved you

You were authentic, incorruptible, a really cyberbrother

You will never die in our electric minds


Angela Garcia Cabrera, The Canary Islands of Spain

My deepest sympathy for the death of Jon Postel, great human being and great professional who contributed, with his knowledge, to make this world a little bit more human by means of helping create instruments of communications such as the INTERNET SOCIETY.

Dick Thoolen

I do not know you personally but there are some good people mourning now so I mourn with them.

Craig Simon

As an observer of global Internet administration I became an observer of Jon Postel. Though I didn't know him well, it was easy to recognize that he was a talented, dedicated, and highly principled person.

Something that I greatly admired and will always remember about him was his wonderfully succinct manner while making presentations at IETF meetings. He was a master at delivering his points neatly and effectively, line by line, in a straightforward low key. I came to believe that he epitomized the standard to which the other IETF members aspired. His audiences were very appreciative, of course.

Those presentations over many years were just one aspect of Jon Postel's interaction with his peer group, the Internet engineering community. It seems to me that those were among the times when he was living at his fullest capacity, doing what he most wanted and most enjoyed... contributing an intelligent mind, steady hands, and a devoted heart to the stable growth of the Internet.

Sam Lanfranco

Small Memories of Jon

I am one of the many who dealt with Jon solely over the internet. There was a disagreement on how the high level domain name had been reassigned in a particular country. Neither party, the old owners or the new, was wholly right or wholly wrong. The same held for the parties to the ensuing debate. The major outcome from the disagreement, and the discussion, was a deeper understanding of the need for good internet governance. When it was over Jon had said little but clearly listened with care.

I last saw him at the ISOC meetings this summer in Geneva. The session was debating the upcoming internet governance changes. Jon said little but said it with care. His presence will be missed by more than just his friends, but his presence will remain as a permanent part of the fabric of internet governance. Adios....

Greg Bailey | ATHENA Programming, Inc

When I undertook the task of implementing the TCP/IP protocols seven years ago, I expected to encounter a dauntingly complex, chaotic, nondeterministic mess. My relief after obtaining and reading the central documentation was extreme. Consistency and simplicity were not what I'd come to expect of committee

I deeply respect the success with which Jon, as central curmudgeon and gatekeeper, and most likely against all odds, has managed to maintain these properties of consistency and simplicity. Personally I respect the courtesy with which Jon interacted with bozos such as myself whom he'd never met and never would.

For your good work that has made working with TCP/IP a pleasure, thank you, Jon. May God give us someone *almost* as good to continue your task of discriminating between wheat and chaff

Bill Slater, Member of the Internet Society Chicago

Dear Fellow Internet Society Members:

I, too, am very saddened by the loss one of our founding fathers of the Internet and the Internet Society. I didn't know Jon personally, but I revered him for his contributions and his intellect. However I feel better knowing that our world and the Internet is much richer and further along because of Jon's vision and his hard work, among others who helped design and build the Internet.

Earlier this year, I included Jon and his work in IANA in my Intro to Internet class located at And I put up a Jon Postel Memorial Page this weekend at

I suppose that God Almighty was in need of an Internet Architect in Heaven and thought Jon was available. So Jon will be working on the Internet in Heaven, I guess.

God bless those close to Jon in your time of loss. We are grieving with you and lifting you up in our prayers.

Peter Peters, Enschede, Holland

Internet has lost a great person.

Met vriendelijke groet

Richard J. Sexton, Maitland House, Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada

As my car club friends meet on the California coast, and my fellow aquarists prepare for winter, we mourn the passing of Dr. Jonathan B. Postel, or as the net knows him, simply "Jon". An unsung hero who hid from the limelight, Jon has been performing Yoemans duty on and for the net for as long as it has been around and has contributed more than any one person to it's overall development.

The net has lost it's father.

As we go about the persuit of our interests, we should reflect on how our lives have changed, and how we are now doing things as part of our daily lives that would not have happened without the Internet, and as a result of the coordination of millions of computers around the globe, and think for a moment about one man helped get us here.

His untimely passing comes as a shock and a painful loss and will never be forgotten.

Kelly Talcott, Pennie & Edmonds LLP

I never had the privilege of meeting Jon Postel, but grew to respect his work as I began to explore and learn about how the Internet functions. I believe the world has lost one of its great treasures: a man of great intellect and integrity, who devoted himself to what he believed in. One measure of his life is the great void that remains in his absence. Is it too much to expect that those who will follow in Dr. Postel's footsteps will strive to emulate his technical rigor and concern for the
commonweal? I hope not.

I offer my sincere condolences to Dr. Postel's family.

Besim Karadeniz, Pforzheim/GER


wir werden es nie verstehen, aber

jeder Domain-Name,
jede IP-Adresse,
jedes Protokoll,
jeder Router,
jedes Kabel,

wird deinen Geist und Kreativitaet heraus in unsere Welt tragen - fuer immer.

we will never understand it, but

every domain-name,
every ip-address,
every protocol,
every router,
every cable,

will carry your spirit and creativity out into our world - for ever.

Urs Zuber

When I saw the first time a picture of Jon Postel I felt immediately the warmth of this person ...

And so I would like to say goodbye to a very wise man who has left us ... too early ... but his dreams and works will go on ...

Ron Fitzherbert

I was only able to exchange a few brief emails with Jon, and I had always looked forward to the day in which I could meet him in person.

However, I have always felt as if I had already met him. Jon Postel was one of the first names I heard mentioned back when I first started using the Internet, and everywhere one goes you can see his work and feel his presence.

I thank you for what you have given to the world -- you, and your gift to us shall not be forgotten.

Tony Rutkowski

ring the course of life, we all interact with people in different ways - affecting and being affected. Sometimes profoundly. Other times in quiet and subtle ways.

Jon was the latter, for he was perhaps above all else, a gentle and unassuming person. Yet he clearly had creative ideas, strong views and an intent to play a major role in matters that interested him and for which he was responsible, yet do it in a minimally adverse way. It was this combination of equitable resolve, thoughtfulness, hard work and disdain for flamboyance that were his hallmark.

Those strong views clearly included some 60s values such as taking people what they are, rather than how they appear; in a belief that work should be fun; in a resolve to change the world in some measure through open network technologies; in a dislike of bureaucracy; and avoidance of confrontation. It's a nice legacy and model for us all.

One has this feeling that we'll meet him one of these days in the High Sierras with a nod and a soft "hello."

Yannis Konstantopoulos

Thanks for changing the world! We'll miss you.

Mark Jacobs, Stratix

Sincere greetings to a man who scouts before us this final domain, where we all once belong to, and nevertheless it has no authority to assign in the cyberspace we know.

Mike Knell, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Nottingham, UK

I'm from what could be described as the "new generation" of Internet users, so my perspective may be a little different to those whose memories of Dr. Postel are more personal. Like most Internet users these days, I never met (or, indeed, spoke to) Jon, but still feel a great debt of gratitude, as his name was on virtually every RFC I read or referred to when I was teaching myself about the Internet as a student in the early 1990s. Virtually everywhere you turn in the mounds of RFCs and the rest of the Internet's technical background, you find his name, generally in connection with administrative work like assigned numbers, the kind of work which, though unglamourous and not usually a source of great praise or reward from the masses, holds an entity like the Internet together, maintaining order over the underlying chaos. This is thankless, albeit critical work, but again and again, you find Jon's name there, quietly registering and maintaining and editing all those critical names and numbers and RFCs that make the networked world go round.

This is why I knew, upon hearing the news, that the Internet community, although most of them may not know it, have lost someone without whom we would not have the Internet as we know it today. He leaves the greatest of legacies behind him.

Greg Finn

I have had the pleasure of working for Jon Postel for nearly twenty years. Jon was a very private individual, but he was also avuncular.Pleasant to virtually anyone who he came into contact with, willing both to encourage and to advise.

Jon was a reliable constant in a changing world, a 60's radical who still looked it, still fighting the good fight. What was the early networking community anyway, if it wasn't a commune? He was also a brilliant researcher with an encyclopedic mind concerning all things packet.

It was distressing to see Jon involved the hurly burly that seems to have characterized much of the last year or two. It can't have been comfortable for him. But as one of the Internet's parents he felt a keen responsibility to see that the net reached its adulthood healthy and strong. That is quite an epitaph.

To call Jon laid back is truly an understatement. To have succeeded in visibly irritating him was a perverse accomplishment. But Jon did have one button that you just plain didn't want to push: The one labeled 'reliable datagram'. Push it and you risked an immediate charge of heresy.

So in future, as you sit in a quiet corner, reflecting on the Internet and its history, generate a few datagrams, attach a sequence number and send them Jon's way. One of them is bound to get there.

David Fiedler, Editor-in-Chief,®

Anyone who has an IP address or who has ever read an RFC owes a debt to Jon Postel. He will be greatly missed!

Laurent Kochenburger Jr

Tthanks for internet....and I'm with your family.......for the tuff and last act.

Emad Fanous

You will be missed by many. You have done so much for all of us without our knowledge. I know you're in a better place now.

To Jon's family: My deepest condolences to you. I understand this must be a great loss as I have known the man and know how good-natured he was.

Leonard Kleinrock, Professor, Computer Science Department, UCLA

I would like to express my deep sadness over Jon's passing. You may know that I was Jon's supervisor at UCLA when he first began to work on the ARPANET project that I led. I joined the faculty of UCLA in 1963 and became the ARPA Principal Investigator in April 1969 at which time I hired Jon along with Steve Crocker, Vint Cerf and Charley Kline, as my key programming team on what was to become the Internet. Jon's key contributions to our work during those critical formative days of the ARPANET is largely unrecognized. As we broke new ground at the birthplace of the Internet in 1969, I remember Jon as a deeply dedicated, brilliant young programmer on our team. It was a frontier at that time, and Jon was truly a pioneer with a vision. Jon's dedication to the growth and health of the Internet continued from those heady times throughout the rest of his life. And for this, he sought neither recognition nor praise. Jon's passing is a tragic loss which will be felt by all those whose lives have been touched by the Internet, but especially by those of us who traveled
the road with this quiet gentle man these many many years.

Jonathan Berman, Halberstam Elias & Co, Solicitors, London England

As a lawyer, presenter and writer on Internet issues I always used to say about John Postel that if God was on the Internet, he would look like John Postel. The Internet itself and and a rationale restructuring of the Domain Name system will be a living memorial to a great man.

Morgan Fairlamb, Denver, Colorado

I would like to add my condolences. Even though newer, 1989, I acknowledge the loss to our community. Jon Postel will not be forgotten.

Bobby Nazief, Computer Science Center, University of Indonesia

Thank you Jon for making it possible for us to share information and more via this Internet that you have helped to design & maintain.

Hamish MacEwan

It's not often the end of a man is the end of an era, but I think in Jon's case this may well be true. I never had the privilege of meeting, seeing or speaking with him, but I know that my life, every single day, owes an unimaginable debt to him and the selfless dedication that he always, and the Internet once, represented.

I guess he must have had a sense of humour, how else to explain RFC1300, or the irony of Postel the author of RFC821 (Simple Mail Transport Protocol)?

Goodbye Jon, and thanks so very very much.

Adailton Silva, Brazilian Research Network, Campinas - São Paulo - Brasil

Some times ago I had the oportunnity and the hapiness to know Jon at Munich and Washington IETF meetings. Now we have a lamentable news about his death. He is gone, but he is here, in everywhere in the worldwide Internet.

I would like to express my sincere condolences.

Per Weisteen

I can still remember, having read my first article describing ARPANET and Internet, this strange feeling I had of having discovered a hidden treasure, something very important, something I knew was the "right way".

This was back in 1987. I had majored in CS at University of Oslo on ISO/OSI protocols some years ago and was working as a consultant for a large Norwegian company at that time. They were struggling trying to get an IBM mainframe running VM/CMS and a DEC/VAX system running VMS to communicate. The suggestions from different sales personell and technical support from DEC and IBM were as noumerous as they were expensive and of course based on incompatible DECNET or SNA protocols. The article I had read also described a software package written by
University of Wisconsin implementing TCP/IP on an IBM mainframe running VM/CMS.

So my suggestion was that we try using this TCP/IP protocol. The software was almost free and that it might be worth a try. Since the project didn't have a high profile I was given a go - to the dismay of IBM and DEC salespersonell. Working with an IBM system engineer we were able to get hold of a special Ethernet interface called 8282 and had
that box imported to IBM Norway under the pretence of needing a test lab. At the same time I discovered an Australian company called Wollongong that made TCP/IP software for VAX/VMS and got hold of a test version of their package. Remember that this was several years before U*X were considered appropriate within large corporations. As you might
have guessed - the project was successful.

A couple of years later the company were connected to the Net as the first Norwegian company under .com. The number of hosts on the net at that time were about 90,000 and the rest is history.

Those IBM and DEC systems are long gone, replaced by U*X systems and others - but the small flame that was lit by the ideas and work of Jon Postel and his likes has blazed across the industry and the rest of the society. Internet has become the Information Infrastructure on which we all depend, it has given us an open global society in which our children shall learn to live together in peace.

Thanks Jon.

Hajime Ozaki, Kyodo News New York

I do not have a word to express my gravest sorrow. I made a telephone interview to Mr. Postel in July, regarding the
internet address issue. He was very kind and helpful, and I was very much impressed that a person who was called "a GOD" could be that kind.

I sent a obituary story through my channel (Kyodo News), and that article was carried on to most of major Japanese newspapers. I only wish his soul rest in peace.

Mike Todd, Internet Society Los Angeles Chapter

Jon Postel has given us a living example of how a global community is developed and maintained.

Representing the newest Chapter of the Internet Society, and from Jon's "back yard", we offer our greatest condolences and show our respect for Jon by making a commitment to continue our development in the spirit of the net that Jon spent the greatest part of his life building. He has shown us all the many ways we may ensure that the Internet continues to grow and improve while remaining public and neutral.

The greatest compliment we can all pay Jon is to continue to support his vision of an Internet that is accessible by all.

Let's do!

Dennis de Poorter, Philips International B.V.

I wish, especially all directly related to Jon, lots of strength for the period to come.

Tom Verkerk

Thanks Jon, for being a pioneer in developing and creating a new way of life, in which we hope brotherhood will get a real global impact.

Johan Eriksson

I would like to add to the list of people expressing their sorrow at the news of Jon Postel´s passing. I never knew him, and I had hardly ever heard of him until Slashdot posted an article about his demise. All I (vaguely) knew was that he was one of those dedicated people who kept the Internet going, so that I could send my email, publish my homepage and
download my Linux... Now I know that if not for Jon Postel, the Net I know and love may not have come to be at all. He was a truly grand Engineer, and as I am currently studying to one day become an engineer myself, I will always remember Jon Postel as an example of good engineering sense and human compassion.

Farewell, Jon Postel. May you rest in peace.

John Robert BEHRMAN

In this world of vanity and greed, Jon has been a true aristocrat, a champion of shared craft rather than monopoly power.

Ave atque Vale

David Borman

I can't imagine what today must be like at ISI. I'm sure that Jon leaves a large void that will not be easily filled, if ever. Though I've not had much direct contact with Jon over the years, I do feel privilaged to have known him. It's always been reassuring to me to know that in his own quite, skilled way he was gently helping to guide so much of the development of the Internet. I'll miss that very much.

Please pass on my condolences to the rest of his friends and family.

Jodi-Ann Ito and Susan Calcari

Susan, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us... I was out of email contact this weekend as I was transitting back from a conference in Florida.... I was so very shocked and stunned to read of Jon's passing in the Sunday SF Examiner/Chronicle as I was waiting for my flight. All I could think of was how unfair life is sometimes.... that we've lost a very unique and special person... and what a difference he made in our world and in all of our lives! He was the epitome of diplomacy and reason
and was someone that the Internet community trusted to be fair and equitable. He will truly be missed but his lifelong efforts and
contributions will always be remembered.

Thanks again for providing an opportunity for me to share my sentiments....


On Mon, 19 Oct 1998, Susan Calcari wrote:

I don't know why I'm forwarding this to you all, since I know you've seen it. I guess I just need to post my own brief eulogy someplace where folks that knew him will see it. It seems we've evolved and Internet-style of mourning.

Klaus Birkenbihl, German Chapter of the Internet Society

The German Chapter of the Internet Society and myself mourn the death of Jon Postel. We all shall remember him gratefully for
everything he did for the Internet.

Too sad that we have to use it today to express our condolences together with the whole Internet community. But good
that we have Internet to do so.

Thanks Jon!

Richard Shu

Many of you already know this but I thought I'd post it for those who don't.

I heard on NPR that Jon Postel died today after undergoing heart surgery.

Most Internet users probably never heard of him and most will probably never even know that he has passed away.

I never met Jon nor do I know a lot about him. What I do know is that he made a great contribution to the growth of the Internet.

For whatever differences people may have had with his stance on domain name policy, I think we owe him a great debt of gratitude for shepherding the DNS system to this stage.

Carole Sumler

Please add my condolences to your list. I was one of his assistants at ISI for some years, sitting in the office next to his on the 11th floor. We shared camping stories, unique toy catalogs and jokes and kept in email touch after I moved on. I will miss him very much.

Jonathan M. Smith

A shame and I'm sad

Thalia Tsalkitzi, Individual member

I am very sorry of the sudden death of our first individual member, Jon Postel. Let's hope that all of us we keep on the good working just like Jon wanted to be that way.

Francisco Cesteros, HTC Miami - President & CEO

Please note that I am very surprised and in a deep sadness knowing the notice you reported us. Take a note from Spain to help wisdom and knowledge of the labor John gave us.

Cathy Petersen

I'm sorry I had never heard of Mr. Postel until this morning. I have always wondered who the group of people were that got the internet started. I have been using the internet since the late 80's and I don't know what I would do without it.

What I like most about the internet is the encouragement of free information, the sharing of ideas and the amazing reality - it's brought about a new kind of giving. A world wide giving! I receive a constant stream of free ideas, free software, free solutions from people I have never met from countries I have never seen. In a time when the world outside the internet feels so much like a fight for who can get the most material wealth and who can keep it, I am amazed by those individuals who have given so much
of themselves. The internet has always been an amazing sign of hope for me because people continue to give of themselves unconditionally. I know it's got it's share of material people, but it still comes from a place of freedom, kindness and giving. It only started this way because of the vision of the people who started it. And continued to hold that base because of their strength. After reading about Mr. Postel I want to thank him, his family and co-creators for the hope!

Paul Mansfield

I and my colleagues all depend or our livelihoods on the legacy of Jon Postel and his colleagues.

Never have so many people had their lives touched directly and indirectly by one person, and those born after his passing will probably be unable to comprehend what the world would be like if his work had never existed. Can you imagine a world without radio or television? One day the Internet will be seen just as much an intrinsic part of life, and perhaps Jon will be remembered as a pioneer just as much as Marconi!

The world is a lesser place for his passing. We need people of his stature, respectibility and credibility; history has shown that inspired individuals like Jon can play a key role in pivotal change in society for the better.

Jon cannot be replaced, despite his own efforts, and will not be forgotten.

Javier SOLA, Spanish Internet Users Association

The Spanish Internet Users Association joins the Internet Community in mourning Jon's death.

We will continue working on the success of the model that he created.


Dear RFC-Editor,

I think your all jobs are splendid. Especially at RFCs and Domain name region.

You ware very big,
but I am very very little.
So, although I might be able to do only a small job,
I will do my best
for you, for the Internet community, for me self.

How about a new gTLD name ".heaven" for your place?
If it will be created,
your *new* e-mail address will become postel@inet.heaven?
Please tell us your hope via e-mail.
Probably, any address will be acceptable. ;-)

Thank you very much for your many jobs.

# And, sorry if my poor English.

Tsuyoshi Hayashi, Maintainer of RFCJ, a web site for collecting/redistributing Japanese-translated-version of RFC

Ramateu 'Lefty' Monyokolo, Manager: Telecentre Project, Universal Service Agency: South Africa
Please accept my condelences on behalf of the Jonathan Postel's family. A person of his calibre has obviously left a hallow gap in this industry. One only hopes that we will build from where he left.

May His Soul Rest In Peace!

Joseph Bannister, Associate Director, Computer Networks Division, University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute

I will miss my friend Jon very much. Besides his insight, gentleness, and humor, I always remember his twinkling eyes, so full of intelligence and mischief.

When I think of Jon, there's nothing that sums up his life more succinctly than his oft-quoted maxim: "Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others."

Mark Laubach

I deeply mourn the loss of Jon. Over the past decade+ I've had the opportunity to interact with Jon both one-on-one and in groups. I've always respected his insight, wisdom, and manner of expressing things. He did so much for us all. I will miss him.

Hans Schnauber

Dr. Jon Postel:

Thanks for helping to shape the future for everyone. You may have left us in bodily form, but your creativity and insight will stay with us forever. Until we meet again - THANKS!

David Rhodes, City of Los Angeles - Information Technology Agency, Internet Society - Los Angeles Chapter

The face that linked a million networks and spurned everyone's imagination, it is said "a picture is worth a thousand words".
In Mr. Postels' case an under-estimate. Farewell to a friend of the of the world.

John W. Noerenberg

As so many were, I was deeply saddened by Jon's death. Particularly so, because I never took the time to get to know him personally, I knew him only through is work.

No, that's not true. I knew him through the dedication, commitment and careful work he inspired in others throughout the IETF. The Internet is a new land, sculpted from the ideas of many. But Jon's hands on the chisel have been ever-present, moving with confidence, and artful beyond measure. It is a land whose shape will thankfully bear his mark for many, many years. His technical work is substantial and a considerable monument to his brilliance as an engineer.

But a greater monument is his stature as a man of principle, as an inspiration to all who strive to make the Internet a place that welcomes every person, his selfless passion to call forth what is best in each of us, and as a quiet man who let his work speak for him.

Thank you, Jon. May we always keep the flame of your passion alive in our hearts.

Dinesh Nair, Director of Research & Development, WorldCare Health (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

goodbye jon !

this is a farewell note to the man without whom this note itself would not have been possible. so long jon and my heartfelt gratitude to a man who has made the internet possible as well as brought enjoyment and technical challenge to so many of us.

Thomas Mullaney

Thank you, my friend, for designing, building and supporting something so larger than life that has touched so many people in such a postive way and helped bring our planet together.

You will be missed by all, you were truly a great man. I wish your family, friends and co-workers love, support and comfort.

Erik Huizer,IAB and Internet Society Nederland

In memoriam: Jon Postel

Trefwoorden: Internet, IANA, Jon Postel

De Internetgemeenschap rouwt, afgelopen zaterdag is Jonathan B. Postel op 55-jarige lijftijd aan de gevolgen van een hartoperatie overleden. Eerder dit jaar bestempelde De Economist in een artikel Jon Postel nog als 'God on the Internet'.

Jon Postel heeft er - zolang het Internet bestaat - voor gezorgd dat alle Internet parameters (adressen, namen, en andere protocolparamters) keurig werden geregistreerd en dat ze wereldwijd uniek bleven. Jon Postel was ook verantwoordelijk voor de RFC's, waarin de technologie van het Internet wordt beschreven en gedocumenteerd.

In de vele discussies over de opvolging van de IANA, waar Jon Postel de scepter zwaaide, was hij de afgelopen maanden vaak het lijdend voorwerp. Jon's dood komt dan ook op een kritiek moment. Amper twee weken geleden presenteerde hij zijn plan voor de opvolger van de IANA, de ICANN (persbericht).

Jon Postel was het eerste lid van de Internet Society. Tijdens het laatste congres van de Internet Society in Geneve afgelopen juli, ontving hij de Zilveren Medaille van de Internationale Telecommunicatie Unie, een onderscheiding die normaliter alleen wordt uitgereikt aan staatshoofden. 'Niemand kwam die onderscheiding meer toe dan Jon', aldus Vint Cerf. Als voorzitter van de Internet Society heeft Vint Cerf alvast de instelling van de Jonathan B. Postel Service Award aangekondigd.

We mogen en zullen Jon Postel nooit vergeten.

Namens het hoofdbestuur van de Internet Society Vint Cerf en namens het bestuur van


I guess you know by now that Jon Postel, Mister Internet, has died. I was informed last week by telephone that he was in hospital and had undergone hart surgery, but as i was unable to picture an Internet without Jon, I did not worry. Now I logged on and learned that he has passed away last Friday. I cry, dry my tears, and in a spur write down a Dutch in memoriam, this is the approximate translation, done at a time when my emotions were back under control.

The man who made sure that all Internet parameters (addresses, names and protocol parameters) were registered and assigned in a globally unique way is gone. The man who, as Editor, took care of all RFCs, that describe and document the technological development of the Internet, is gone. The man who, more than any other human being, has made the Internet what it is today is gone.

Two months ago we worked together during the IETF week on the establishment of a new organization that would take over from "his" IANA. In Chicago we had meetings, we brainstormed, we drank, we ate en we laughed. He was optimistic about what the future would bring, and wanted to take part in the new IANA (ICANN), but not in the policy making part.

During the discussions about the new IANA in the last two years Jon has been called selfish and "out for his own glory" by some misinformed and people. The biggest insult was that some people claimed he wanted to take the power over the Internet. Anyone who knows Jon, knows that that is pure nonsense. Jon's primary goal was the good of the whole Internet, he was not interested in power.

Always on sandals and with his grey ponytail Jon was respected and valued by the Internet operational and technical community. He did not care that several of his former colleagues with whom he developed the IP-protocol and other parts of the Internet have become rich and famous. He was happy with his job at ISI in Marina del Rey. As IANA and RFC editor he felt like a fish in water, completely at ease.

I will miss him. He was more than a colleague, more than a fellow IAB-member, he was a friend. My sympathies go to his family and to the people who worked closely with him. Especially to Joyce Reynolds who was his close associate for a long time.

Last Friday the Internet suffered its biggest loss in its history.

Richard Chang

All I can say is, without him and his work, I would not have the great job I have right now. The world owes its preesnt financial and technological state to him.

Charles Oriez, National Legislative Chair, Association of Information Technology Professionals (formerly DPMA)
We have grown used to and somewhat jaded about the rapid advances in technology in recent years. We sometimes forget that a small group of people had to envision the sea change that leads to everything that comes later. Jon Postel and the rest of the pioneers at UCLA were such a group, and brought us the internet as we know it today. We mourn the loss of a giant this week.

David Williams, Integrator / Developer

I never knew Jon Postel. I have seen his name in RFCs and various other documents on the net. I am 21 years old and I have been using the internet for 5 years now, and making my living from consulting and development for 2 1/2 years. I feel greatly indebted because without people like Jon, the internet wouldn't and couldn't be what it is. From what I have read I am inspired by his ability to get consensus. I hope in the future I am able to give as much to the internet community as Jon did.

I add 2 verses from a song by Brain May (the guitarist from Queen), that I think are particularly appropriate.


I did not know you
Our lives never touched
'Til the say they gathered
To bid you farewell
And they painted your picture
And as I looked around
I felt I saw you
In the words and the sound

Your talent came flowing
Through the stories they tell
And through the the faces
Of those who loved you so well
Your life gave them a treasure
A piece of themselves
Something to carry
And still serves them well

ISOC Nigeria Chapter, The Executive Committee

Dear Vint,

on my and all other ISOC Nigeria chapter members' behalf we are sending our true condolences for the sudden death of the Internet pioneer Jon Postel. Even if we don't know him personally, we bear testimony to his high sense of value, principle, integrity and for his inestimable work for the development of Internet.

For this reason the ISOC Nigeria Chapter Executive Council decided to dedicate our Internet Conference ISOC Nigeria 99, that will be hold on 20,21,22 January, 1999 to his memory.


Words can not express the loss of Jon. I am, however, reminded of Jon in this Taoist philosopher's words:

"True men"...are strong willed, have dignity in their demeanor, serenity in their expression. They are cool like autumn, warm like spring. Their passions arise like the four seasons, in harmony with the ten thousand creatures, and no one knows their limits.

Veni Markovski

Dear Friends,

I've spent the last few days thinking about human nature, the way we live and think. Of course, it all came after the sad and sudden news about Jon Postel.

Sometimes words are not enough to describe our feelings, and I am still wondering if I should continiue writing. On the other hand, there are things which - and I don't know why! - we only share when we have lost someone dear.

I didn't know personally Jon Postel, but I feel guilty for not learning more about him while he was among us. I believe he will be with us until we all join him; watching the Internet grows and developing the way he saw it (and perhaps the way noone else could).

People are strange creatures - we only value other people when we lose them. I am very, very sorry for not being able to value Jon, as the only chances now will be to read what he's written and said.

Vint, what you wrote about him, is very touching. I wish we all knew it before this happened.

Wherever you are, Jon, I hope we won't disappoint you.

Most sincerely,

Ron Johnson, Network Engineer, Enron Communications

Jon, was a person I met only once, and I chided him for a autograph: Imagine my situation. A briefing about the Internet to be given to the CEO of Bechtel corporation and former secretary of state George Shultz. Then to learn that Jon Postel himself was in the entourage. With a quavering note, I began my presentation. Riley Bechtel asked many questions, and Jon came to my assistance. He backed up my statements, and clarified difficult issues for Mr. Bechtel who knew much, but little of the Internet and it's workings. Rather than a vengeful and arrogant God, Jon became a man in my eyes, a man of truth, a man of peace.

A place in history shall be reserved for Jon Postel, the Thomas Jefferson of the Internet.

Goodbye Jon, Good luck networking the afterlife.

Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan, Computer Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin

I am so sorry Vint to hear about the loss of your friend, highschool chum, and colleague. Although I only knew him from quick visits at SIGCOMM 97, when he was awarded the SIGCOMM Award, I've felt that the net is strangely empty yesterday/today. (the net can be quite isolating in times like these)

Although he was a private kind of person, I hope you all enjoy sharing your memories of Jon, and can feel soothed by them.

sorrowfully, Chris

R. Taggart Carpenter

REF: RFC 2468


As an IETF spectator of many years, I have marveled at the focus, simplicity, and just plain even-handedess of the materials. Over time, I came to know and recognize JP's hand in all this, and have tried to learn from and emulate his approach.

I fervently hope, as the member's memories of his direct presence fades, we can all continue to enjoy that same balance, basic rationality, and forward-looking open mindedness that stands out so clearly in the legacy of the IANA.

I'd like to offer my condolences for what is surely a grievous loss. Thank you for sharing your personal experience to put this in perspective.

Paul Thornton , London Internet Exchange

On the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren, in St Paul's Cathederal, London, it is written: "Reader, if you seek a monument, look around you".

How very true this is of Jon. Thank you for the legacy that you have left us - we will all miss you.


Without individuals like Dr. Postel, the human race would not be as "advanced" as we currently are. Thank you for a life's work which improved communication.

Alyson Behr, Technology Journalism, Behr Communications

Hello Vint;

When I heard of Jon's passing, I thought of the friends he left behind and the void they must surely feel at being robbed of his friendship prematurely and unexpectedly. The empty place he leaves in the Internet community can be judged more fully by those who worked with him, however as an aerobatic pilot, I have experienced the loss of young, vital talented friends way before their time. While I met Jon only recently at the Spectrum luncheon in Geneva, it was clear to me that he was a person who profoundly affected those in his sphere and that there was unanimous respect for his abilities and stewardship.

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your longtime friend and colleague.

John Noerenberg


RFC 2468:

Author(s): V. Cerf

What a fitting way to memorialize Jon! I've read your piece on Jon several times, now. I regret I missed the opportunity to know him better.

Thank you for writing it, and thank you for suffering the slings and arrows with such grace that have been directed at you during this whole business. I shudder to think what the 'net might have become in the hands of lesser men than people like you and Jon.

budi rahardjo <TLD-ID> <IDNIC>

Our deepest respect to Dr. Postel.
We will miss you.

Sascha Ignjatovic, Internet Society Vienna

Dear Professor Doctor Jon Postel

Please accept our humble obeisances and many thanks for everything you have done and even more for what you will do further...

we all love you very much

Than the last and first time "we" saw you it was in Geneva at ISOC's inet98 you have intensely taken care on the direction and process of which evolution of the internet address and names administration will take place and so also the human society depending on this infrastructure

now you have successfully done this great service to God and us and give it to us as your gift before you left us heading the way of higher destinations and higher service it may be that you are a living being from some other planet traveling from planet to planet around the universe helping this planets to become interconnected within its self and between each other

before we have to leave the room and Geneva where the conference hase taken place in direction of Vienna i was a witness that you was thinking about in accordance with dr.Cerf's presented concept of interplanetary internet how it could be possible or needed to assign to every atom in the universe a unique IP address and make different levels in this system in accordance with the galaxys structures

now that you have "done your job" here on the planet earth you are heading to the next planet where you will help to wire it and in this way to make them suitable for joining the interplanetary network of planets and galaxies so that they would be able to understand that they are all belonging to a universal computing system which is guided by a incredible intelligence and knowledge ...

we understand you as a direct servant of this higher intelligence and offer you our respect and hope you will accept us as your humble

thank you and all your friends and assistants who worked with you

as we have come together in this life and this planet so i hope that we will come again all together in our next life and next planet until if one day this universe is properly internetworked we will leave this universe towards a higher antimaterial world with not now understandable propertys and happiness ... because there we will meet the source and origin of this wonderful material and spiritual creations ...face to face...

we have along journey to go together but at the end we will reach the ultimate goal of life..

to meet with the
supreme intelligence creator and all-loving supreme personality of

thank you so much dr.Postel and wish you and us all the best in our
further service...which i hope we will be able to continue again..

Ole J. Jacobsen, Editor and Publisher, The Internet Protocol Journal

The Internet lost one of its true pioneers when Jon Postel passed away last Friday.

Jon served on my editorial advisory board for ConneXions from its beginning in 1987 until we went out of print in 1996. Jon always had words of encouragement as well as constructive criticism of my work, and in more ways than one he helped improve the end product. He would have served on the advisory board for IPJ as well, but requested that we not list his name since he had suddenly become "famous" through the debate about the future of the Domain Name System and wanted to avoid any questions about why he was supporting a journal published by one vendor.

I saw Jon for the last time at SIGCOMM in Vancouver in early September. Since the negotiations about the "New IANA" were in their final stages, Jon carried a cell phone --- something I'd never seen him do before. Once or twice a day I would show him a couple of crucial e-mail messages on my laptop, and he admitted that perhaps it was time he get his own laptop.

Vancouver was at its most beautiful, and on the dinner cruise we joked about having to attend conferences in such terrible locations. Jon's companion Susan was at his side. Jon seemed happy and hopeful that the so-called DNS Wars would soon be over.

Those of us who knew Jon will remember him as a brilliant technical person, but above all a wonderful human being. He contributed greatly to the development and operation of the Internet. He will be sorely missed.

Marcelino Llano Gutiérrez

I'll remerber for ever the name and the facts of Jonnathan B. Postel, the Internet's "Cid"

You can read (in spanish)

Patrick Gilmore

As to what the future will bring with Postel gone, isn't really relative to Jon, in that the Internet will continue to grow and prosper as usual.

While I agree that the Internet will grow without Dr. Postel, the future *is* dampened - albeit unnoticeably to some - due to Dr. Postel's passing. He did work which will not be easily replicated, and he did it well.

No one person is irreplaceable, however there is a cost for losing someone as esteemed, as intelligent, as "cluefull" as Dr. Jonathan Postel. Hell, the stories he could tell alone account for a treasure I am loath to lose. Sure, you can say he was in the right place at the right time (and he was), but there are extremely few people who, if put in that same place at that same time, would have had nearly the positive impact Dr. Postel achieved.

I know that simply the knowledge of his death affected me, and I never spoke to the man in person. I feel like a soldier in an army who has fought and clawed and struggled when all others said it could not be done. Then, soon after the largest hurdles are passed, one of the revered, and (IMHO) the most influential leaders of the army has fallen. Someone who did not just lead, but fought and clawed and strived and suffered with you. Someone who has gone through every hardship every one of us had to endure and more, and for less reward than most who have achieved the tiniest fraction of what he has achieved. Someone who has lead by example. Someone who I, at least, wish to emulate.

Even though the march will go on and the army is no longer a rag-tag bunch of people with little to no respect from "the establishment" (just the opposite in fact), the loss of that leader has at a minimum a demoralizing affect on the soldiers.

I can only hope that any impact I have in my lifetime can be compared to Dr. Postel's by two or even three decimal places. I would consider that a most successful life.

Perhaps we should have a "moment of silence" on the 'Net for Dr. Postel? We could all reboot our routers at the same exact time, watch all the packet die, and see what the loss of Dr. Postel's work would have done had he not guaranteed his efforts would continue without him. It is a most drastic suggestion for a most drastic loss. And it might get people to at least begin to understand just how important Dr. Postel - and the Internet in general - is to their daily lives.

Hope your happiness in the world to come.

And, I hope that your passion and clean mind is spread in the worlld,
then, Internet will be more clean and beautiful things.

last summer, you came close to me with passion and open mind.
And I impressed by you, but it is first and last time with you.
In this time, you were halth, but....

Please help left members to follow your spirits and to make Internet
more clean and open, and beautiful people could speak beautiful
stories in there.

I don't know you well, but I miss you with Internet's beautiful.

Perry E. Metzger

Walt Whitman said it better than I can.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths-for you the shores
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces

Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won:

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

IPhil Communications

We at IPhil Communications, a Philippine-based Internet Service Provider and being a company the exists because of the
Internet and its technology would like to express our sincerest appreciation to Jon Postel for his continous help in the development and
growth of the Internet.

Sumalangit nawa ang iyong kaluluwa.

Deborah Hirshberg, Chair, Florida Chapter, On Behalf of the Florida Chapter

The Internet has opened up opportunties for a new world for all who have access. Men of Jon's stature and commitment to change for the benefit of mankind are few and far between. It takes dedication, as well as true vision, to bring about change in society. Jon's commitment to the Internet and its future will always be remembered as society prepares for the BIG changes that are ahead because of his work.

Victor M. Carranza G., ISOC Member and Internet Citizen

I have met Mr. Postel last july in Geneva, Switzerland, during INET'98. Despite the great contribution he made for the presemt and future of the human kind, he was a very nice, friendly and humble person. Everyone who uses the Net owes him so much. Personally, as a man whose life has been greatly impacted and brightened by the Internet, I feel great sorrow about his death. A great man is gone, but I know his work will last forever. Rest in peace, Mr. Jon B. Postel.

Andreas Preysing, Düsseldorf, Germany

Dear Jonathan,
rest in peace....

Scott Ophof, Editor of the RexxLA Newsletter


It's sad that it takes a shock like this one to realize how much so many wonderful people have accomplished in the world of the
Internet, and Mr. Postel as editor of the RFCs in particular. And that it's already 30 years later.

Subject: In Memoriam Jon Postel

Jonathan B. Postel passed away this October, 1998.

Much of what we nowadays find normal in the Internet world is for some part traceable to Mr. Postel's work as *the* editor of the RFCs (Request For Comments).

In tribute to Jon Postel, Vinton G. Cerf wrote RFC-2468 as an In Memoriam, entitled "I Remember IANA".

As a reader of RFCs, I had on my todo-list to thank Mr. Postel for the consistency of the RFCs, and especially for their availability in plain-text format. Now it's too late.

Moses Kholopah, University of Zambia, Computer Centre

I have come to know about hime just this morning. TOO BAD. I should have asked him, "After Internet, What next?". Its true, GREAT PEOPLE DO NOT TALK, THEY WORK.

May his SOUL rest in peace

Borka Jerman-Blazic, Chair, in the name of the ISOC Chapter of Slovenia

It is still unbelievable that John Postel has gone. We remember him from all meetings and events, deeply absorbed in thought and creating all these marvelous things we are using today on the Internet. We are all very depressed. Internet is young techology and
we always expected its creators to be young and stay young contributing marvelous things and caring for his good shape as John did. Now, one has gone and we are all very very sad.

B.Svante Eriksson, Ellemtel SWEDEN

My condolences regarding the death of Jon Postel

Felix Sim, Webmaster Of Net Web Community Online Singapore

Although I never met Jon Postel nor hear about great things from him in Singapore, I still it is right of me to send my condolences on behalf of my country and my Internet company. There are few reasons:

1) Since I know about the Internet five years ago, I was surprised by the huge mass of information to be able to retrieve from and learn about. There are so many thousands of web sites to surf around.

2) I am now surfing the Internet from the comfort of my home by loggin into one of the ISP I have signed with.

3) From the Internet, I was able to enjoy free web spaces, free email accounts, lots of entertainment and many more....

Well, if the IANA was not there to organise all the Internet, what will become of the future Internet. It will be a road without traffic
control. I won't able to know where I am and where should I be going!!

We all will miss you, Jon!!

Yousef Nusseir, President, NIC, Jordan.

Dear Mr. Vin Cerf

It was with great sadness we received the news of Jon's departure. We at NIC send our sincere condolences to you and all internauts.

Lionel Lee

Although a great man is lost, life must go on as usual.

The Internet will go on even after Jon's death.

I'm a student doing a diploma on Internet Computing in Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore.

I'm deeply saddened by the death of a great pioneer of the Internet. The Internet brought about so much changes in our everyday life. Just want to say a word of thank to Him, wherever he might be...


Although I don't know you, I thanx you for giving the world a new way of communication that is INTERNET.

Felicia Lim, Singapore

I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the family of Mr Postel. And also to express my appreciation of the Internet pioneering team's efforts.

The world certainly is a much better-connected place with the likes of Mr Postel and himself around. The Internet has actually brought together many people / friends who are separated geographically and enabled us to keep closely in touch. I have been able to keep my relationship and friendships alive due to the Internet.

Thank you.

May Mr Postel rest in everlasting peace and in the bosom of God Our Creator.

Jamie Dyer

I never met or talked to Jon. But I've read a lot of the RFCs he edited. He always had my admiration for his ability to stay focused to the task at hand, and to do it well, rather than to seek credit for what had been done. I came rather late to networking, and am constantly learning, but his concise and clear writings have always been a spur to education. My favorite Postel quote from an RFC is from 791: "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A route indicates how we get there." This is modern Zen. There are too few people like that in the world, much less on the net. It's only right to mourn the passing of someone like Jon. He'll be remembered along with Holland and others in the history of CS, and with Bell in the history of communications. What really blew me away is how long it took the net in general to wake up to his passing. Morons who make their little $.0000002 per web hit don't have a clue that the guy who made it possible for them is gone. They most likely wouldn't care anyway. I think this is the most earthshaking thing to hit the net since http, but sadly, the vast majority of the masses only notice if their WebTV connection is hosed. I really don't give a damn about the politics behind the man. What matters is what he's done for the net and for the world. IP has changed
the way we deal with each other, and which of us can say that we've developed a new method of transferring info about our lives and ourselves that's actually mattered? I can only think of a handful of people that have ever done that.

My band played a wedding Saturday night and I dedicated a song to him. It helped me feel a little better anyway.

Faith Tay Suan Koon

I'm a benefictor of the internet. It has given me the convenience in my research work and keeping in touch with friends. I would not have known some very good people on the other side of the globe if not for the internet. I hope that the internet will continue to be one of the greatest thing on earth.

My deepest condolence to Dr Postel's family.

Davide Consonni.

The memory of Jon Postel will always have a place in the heart of all Internet experts community.

Nirosh Wijayaratne

Condolences on the loss!

Ian H. Merritt

Having known Jon; known his gentle but ultimately firm way; having seen him almost bewildered by the enormous proliferation of the internet even as far back as the early interop shows, seemingly dwarfed by it all; yet a giant in his influence and stewardship of the vision, I feel a great sense of loss. Though Vint is certainly correct that Jon would
rather his life accomplishments be remembered and celebrated than his loss mourned, I find it hard not to think of the void he leaves behind. And though I seldom interacted with him in recent years, I will miss him and the knowledge that he still actively guided the network, its technologies and policies.

I suppose that the best tribute we can all pay to Jon is to remember his philosophy and see that his vision continues to be fulfilled to the benefit of network users, the world over.

Into the future

Anant Kumar

I had the opportunity to work with Jon, as a graduate student, in 1993. He was an inspiration, besides being a great manager, a mentor and a friend. I learned about the internet, about research methodology and about tolerance and patience, from him. I have longed for a supervisor like him ever since - and it came as a shock to hear the news that he passed away last friday. I feel a deep loss.

Tarek Kamel, Secretary of the Internet Society of Egypt

On behalf of the Internet Society of Egypt, Chapter of ISOC, we would like to express our deepest sadness about the loss of Jon Postel.

Jon was a symbol of dedication and knowledge and was always helpful to us at any time. He was fair and we were always sure that he works for a truly global Internet in the developed world but as equally also in our developing world. We will always remember his great achievements for the Internet community.

Eric Nay, CCNA, MCP, A+, Director of Special Projects

Richey SystemsI just wanted to assure you that Jon will be remembered fondly by many people. He served the world at large, for many, many years. We appreciate his sacrifices, and yours, and will always appreciate his efforts on behalf of others. Much sympathy to you on your loss. The world will be a smaller place without him.

Carsten Schiefner, on behalf of DENIC e.G. (ccTLD .de)

An era has come to an end. We'll always keep in memory Jon Postel as THE pillar of the Internet. It won't be easy to continue his trail.

Hans Pronk, Verdonck, Klooster & Associates

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Jon Postel.

Cliff deQuilettes, Senior Lan Wan Analyst

Through the hearts of many comes forth the power and wisdom of a single person's passion and insight. Tranformed into many new thoughts and ideas the North Star is not gone but it is brighter then ever and it will continue to live through us... and wherever a paper (compass) is written by Jonathon the paths will stay true.

I feel your sorrow.... I feel your sadness... rest assured becuase you have loved someone that much you will meet him again..

Adam Todd, AURCS, IRSC, AHNET (Director), Todd Corporation (CEO)

On behalf of the Australian Root Server Confederation and it's members, the International Root Server Confederation and it's International Members, AHNET and Todd Corporation and my family:

We wish to pass our sincere sympathy to the Family of the late Dr. Jon Postel with many warm regards and heart felt warmth.

The passing of anyone so young is tragic at any time. Especially of someone so well known globally and respected in many ways.

Words can not express how the Internet Community, who have grown to know Dr. Postel over many years will feel, even now, but certainly the loss in the future. Dr. Postel added colour and flare to a community that frequently needed a little humour or sensability.

DNS debates and strategies aside, Dr. Postel will be greatly missed for the excitement and knowledge and personal opinion he brought to our vastly growing community. There will be no person who can stand in Dr. Postels place in the now or the forever more. A loss that is historic and very heart breaking.

It is with tremendous sadness we receive this news.

Our deepest thoughts to all family and close associates.

Berislav Todorovic, B.Sc.E.E., Hostmaster of the YU TLD, Belgrade SERBIA, YUGOSLAVIA

Concerns about "rights" and "ownership" of domains are inappropriate. It is appropriate to be concerned about
"responsibilities" and "service" to the community. (Jon Postel, RFC 1591, March 1994)

Jon Postel once wrote these words. And everything Jon said or wrote - he really meant is and believed in it! Running a system, network or a domain name, even if they are used by a small community, requires us to make various decisions.
Sometimes that sweet, but dangerous illusion of our power make us forget Jon's words and run into mistakes. Don't let it happen! Don't let his words be forgotten! May he rest in peace!

Shanthi Ranganathan

My heart felt condolences to Jon's family and friends. I worked under him on various projects at ISI over the last three years. I learnt a lot from him during that time. I will miss him.

Kenji Rikitake

Farewell to Dr. Jonathan B. Postel

Dr. Jon Postel, one of the first-generation leaders of the Internet, passed away on October 16th, 1998. I would like to express my sincere condolences and mourning by his death.

Let me show some brief but important contributions he made by writing RFCs (Request For Comments) to the Internet community.

He predicted SPAM in 1975. Recent O'Reilly's book called "Stopping Spam" quotes one of Jon's RFCs called "On the Junk Mail Problem" (RFC706).

He defined SMTP (RFC821) in 1982, still the core foundation of the Internet email.

He defined UDP (RFC768) in 1980 and TCP (RFC793) in 1981, the two major protocols which current Internet
application rely on;

He defined ICMP (RFC792) in 1981, which all the Internet hosts and routers speak;

and his last RFC is RFC2400, The Internet Official Protocol Standards, issued in September 1998. He wrote so many RFCs that I can't quote all of them, but the fact that he defined TCP, UDP, and ICMP proves he was the real pioneer. Without his documents no one would ever make machines working on the Internet.

The first and the last time I met him was at INET'95 ISOC open meeting. I remember that at that time he spoke calmly but clearly about the shortage of IP address resource. His death is a great loss to the Internet community, but all we can do to memorize him is to cooperate and establish the better protocols and the governance systems.

Good bye, Dr. Postel. We miss you a lot, but we'll proceed.

Ludwig Haeck

My condolences to Jon's family, but most of all, "Thank You" Jon for making life so much more interesting to so many of us.

Simon Rolfe, Senior Partner, Creative Genius Communications

Our deepest sympathy, from all of us at Creative Genius Communications.



Jon Postel has been the Director of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority which is the central coordinator for Internet address space, domain names, and the Internet protocol identifiers essential to the use and operation of the Internet. He has been a central and driving force both in the development and growth of the Internet. His guidance was instrumental in the formation of ARIN and in developing the Internet community's consensus and support for its formation.

Jon served as an ex-officio trustee of ARIN and was viewed by the Board of Trustees of ARIN as a friend and mentor and one whose actions were always aimed at achieving consensus. He was a man of vision and careful action.

The Board of Trustees is shocked and saddened by the death of its friend, Jon Postel.

The Board of Trustees hereby extends its sympathies to Jon's family and friends. We shall miss his guiding hand and remember him always with respect, admiration and warmth of heart.

John Curran, Chairman Scott O. Bradner, Trustee
Ken Fockler, Trustee Kim Hubbard, President
Doug Humphrey, Trustee Don Telage, Trustee
Ibrahim Can, Internetwork Support Engineer, Cisco Systems, Inc.

No one will ever know how many lives have been changed by the passion of a single soul. Many live their lives and are forgotten, but Jon Postel will live forever in the minds and hearts of those who knew him.

During my studies at USC, the works of Postel made a deep impression on me and although I have never had the opportunity to meet him, I feel like I have known him for years and lost a close friend.

Thank you, Jon, for spurring young minds as myself towards excellence and innovation. The world would not be the same without such minds as yourself. You will be sorely missed.

J Westerström

With most sincear sympathies.

Patrick van Zweden, Holland

This afternoon i read in the newsgroup that Jon Postel has died. In my opinion Internet has lost a great person.

Alan Sullivan - VoTiV Systems

I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jon Postel.

I can't forget my first personal contact with Jon. I had requested to help provide services to the .us Domain Registry. I was told that I must fill out a Delegation Request and send it to ISI. So I wrote a program that generated requests for a large number of cities. I was surprised when I received e-mail from Jon.


Your interface to our system is less than optimal. Could you please call ?


I thought, "Wow, this is the same Jon Postel whose RFCs I had been reading all these years!" With a sense of excitement, I called Jon. Jon was kind, polite, and very courteous. He had taken his time from a very busy schedule to talk to someone who wanted to help with the .us Domain.

Well, that was the beginning of a very enjoyable relationship with Jon. Over time we discussed issues related to top level domains and the .us domain. The USADNA was the new proposal Antony Van Couvering and I were working on
for the .us domain. Jon helped craft a lot of what was in the proposal. Jon was brilliant, and his advice and insights were amazing.

When recently, I asked him how things were going with IANA and more recently ICANN, and expressing my concern over some discouraging words that were being tossed about, he said:


More noise in the process.

The important thing is for people that support the IANA led effort to say so, publicly.

Thanks for your concern.


Sadly, the .us domain remained unfinished business, but who is to say when Internet business is ever finished. It is an evolving system built upon the effort of giants like Jon. I know that he spent a lot of time and energy dealing with domain name issues. I remember talking to him not long ago, and asking how he was doing, and he said, "Good, I haven't talked to any lawyers today." He was really looking forward to putting the IANA issue to rest, and moving on to more technical work.

Well Jon, I hope you have moved on to do more technical work. It looks like we now have ICANN. Thanks Jon. And I hope we can all support your work. You have left a great legacy, and I hope we can keep it going as a tribute to your tireless dedication and hard work. The Internet community and I will miss you. Peace...


To Vint Cerf, Chairman of the Internet Society

Mr Chairman,
Dear Vint,

It's the first time I'm to offer my sympathy and respect in English : I hope my words won't betray my thoughts.

We mourn the death of Dr. Jonathan B. Postel and posting this sad message through the Internet from another continent might be the very most simple tribute to what he did create.

Great men are few but somehow accomplish creating an essential plus for our democratic world. When we have the rare opportunity for seeing them living and working, we feel like active birds flying through their energy. When they go away, we strangely feel such a loss we didn't even imagine it before. Suddenly, we are responsible, having to fly again, without them, but trusted with the mission of keeping their deeds going on while writing their memory in words of space and time.

May I simply offer my attention and disponibility to help you doing that in Wallonia...


Live must go on ...

.... but I am really sorry about this.

Patrice Husson, official of the European Commission in ISPO, Brussels

Mes sincères condoleances à sa famille,

My sincere condolences with its family,

Joyce K. Reynolds, ISI

[This tribute was originally submitted to a reporter who requested comments from me about --jon.]


I received your voice mail and was going to contact you today to provide you with my thoughts on Jon from our "team work" efforts together as "Postel & Reynolds".

It is important to me that I get my words across to you. Lately, when I try to personally chat with people on how I felt working so closely with Jon all these years, I just end up in "babble" mode. So, I am doing this via email because I want to *get this right* for Jon.

I started working here at ISI in July 1979. In 1983, I went to work in this division, with Jon Postel as my Project Leader. We were together for 15 1/2 years as a team on the RFC Editor and IANA projects (March 1983 - October 1998). When teaming up on a project with Postel, you worked WITH the man, not FOR him. That's the kind of "boss" Jon was to me.

Through the years when we were both in the office, and not on business travel we met every day. We would sit side by side in his office working on various RFC Editor or IANA tasks of the day. He was also a person who was interruptible. If you needed to ask a question that may have come up, you didn't need to wait for your time slot the next day to settle the query.

We always had a "set" meeting time; 11:00am, but this was not absolute. I'd spend a lot of my time going to his office and say, "Is it 11, yet?" Sometimes my "11" ended up to be at 3:00pm, but we did eventually meet. Jon's Administrative Assistant used to say to me, "Now you know when you go into Jon's office he is in his own timezone, "JBP time"".

Jon was also supportive of my "volunteer" efforts in the IETF arena. I was the IETF User Services Area Director for a number of years. Jon let me do that work provided that I would be sure to get my "real work" of IANA/RFC Editor completed as tasked. He encouraged me and signed off on my time to travel all over the world to "get the word out" about Internet user services. I felt that while the engineers were so busy developing the protocols, they didn't pay attention to
what the user needed, until it was too late. So, a user had a technical specification but didn't have any clue on how to use it from their perspective.

While everyone has given you his enormous technical contributions, he was quite clever in other ways. Vint mentioned to you about his RFC number fun and the 1 April Fool RFCs. He also created the "legendary" nick name that most folks in the Internet know me by: "jkrey". It was the advent of UNIX, and us TOPS-20 folks had to switch to it. My login name then was "jkreynolds" (for Joyce K. Reynolds).

Weeeelllll...dear UNIX at the time could only handle eight characters in a login name. At first our computer center folks were just going to have my login be "reynolds", but I am known around here as "JK". So, I went whining to Jon that I didn't like "reynolds". He sat and pondered for few minutes, then wrote down on a piece of paper, "jkrey". "How about this?", he said. I took one look and thought, catchy! :-)

My fondest "story" about how the world looked at Postel & Reynolds as IANA and RFC Editor came from one of our Internet friends/colleagues. This person sent an email message to Jon and I one day stating, "Please don't take this as an insult, but you two work so seamlessly together I can't tell who is the IANA and who is the RFC Editor? So, who does what? Which one of you administers IANA? Who works on the RFCs?" Jon and I were sitting side by side as usual, reading this email together. Jon turned and looked at me with a big grin on his face, turned back to the keyboard and started typing a reply. It was one word, "Yes." To this day, I took his response as a wonderful compliment of how he felt about our work together.

On a personal note, Jon loved nature. Hiking and mountain climbing was his forte. He loved the ocean. Yet, he didn't like to be on a boat. He liked to watch the gray whales migrate. He would watch them from a bluff off of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I said to him one time, "Oh, you're missing so much not seeing the whales from a boat out in the ocean!" He replied, "I don't do boats."

Yet, at an INET Conference in San Francisco one year, the social was being held on a boat which went out and around the bay. I attended that function. While there, I stated to a colleague what a wonderful time Jon would have at this social, but he doesn't like to be on a boat. The colleague said he had seen Jon on the boat. I went looking for him and sure enough, Jon was there! I said to him, "I thought you never get on boats." He stated to me that this boat was okay, because it was staying inside the bay and not going out to sea!

While it is so hard for those of us left behind to get through the loss of Jon Postel, the person, it is even harder for me to let go. I have to come to grips that "Postel & Reynolds" will never be the same again.

Yet, I am so proud to have been able to know Jon. What I was able to see and experience while working with him was priceless.

Alan Emtage

Jon Postel always had a smile or a (softly spoken) kind word to say whenever we met.

During the early days of the "application revolution" on the 'Net at the dawn of the Web, Gopher and Archie, Jon was a gentle guiding force behind many of the decisions that shaped the Internet as we see it today. For those of us who had
not been down that road before, Jon provided insights and suggestions on how we should proceed and he warmly invited all of us into the playground which he had had such a large part in shaping.

I have been out of the standards circle for some time, but Jon and I still occasionally exchanged the short note from time to time, just to keep in touch.

I will remember him fondly and will miss him.

Siranjan Kulatilake

Subject: The Passing Of Jon Postel.


Gert Doering - Munich, Germany

I just wanted to say how shocked I was to hear about the loss of Jon Postel.

Being fairly new to the Internet, it's easy to take the easy and seamless communication between peoples of all nations for granted. But I know that it was hard work to build it, and I very much appreciate the work of those people that did it, just to make it work, not for personal profit.

In addition, being an engineer, I appreciate good documentation of protocols and standards. The first RFCs that I have read were number RFC 791 and RFC 793, edited by Jon Postel, and I was deeply impressed about the very high quality of that work.

I sincerely hope his person and his work will be remembered,

Joseph Friedman

You selflessly offered the Internet community your services for close to 30 years. You were the Director of IANA, the RFC editor, and served in many other positions for the benefit of the community. You will be sorely missed.

Miles Whitener

I have a small remembrance to share about Jon Postel. It was public knowledge, but I am not sure how many people ever noticed it. As one of many US Domain locality administrators, I often had occasion to check the list of such admins posted at ISI ( For a long time, the town of had listed as administrator. was always the last locality name on the list, which was alphabetically sorted. It was the only one Jon delegated directly to himself, and I always took this as his hint that he would have the "last word" on the US domain.

Toru Takahashi: Chairman, Internet Association of Japan, Chairman of Executive Council, APNIC

I remember Jon first in Interop San Jose. Susan Estrada introduced him to mee. It was long long ago. I could talk with him in Geneva INET 98 when I entered the room where ISOC Advisory Council was held. I had been asked by him for attending APccTLD inaugural meeting and I invited him to have speech. His speech hit people to be aware of Internet Governance issues. It was very good speech. I respect him as his selfless passionate contribution. He gave me email when I was ill in hospital by cerebral infraction in last August. I was amazed to see his warmest wards which suggeted me to work with him for making new IANA. Then I have been getting well and he passed away. I would thank him to have same days of the growing Internet with many colleagues.

Fernando Lichtschein, Buenos Aires - ARGENTINA

Looking for information for my classes, I was sad to find that Jon Postel passed away last Friday. I understand you worked together many years. His name appears everywhere in the documents, I hope that by appreciating his lifetime work we can pay due respect to his memory.

Ines Joekes
(in e-mail to Vint Cerf)

I am not an internaut, just a teacher. To see that there are real heroes, as you depicted Jon, left me more hopeful about mankind. Thank you.

Blair P. Houghton

Subject: Comments on RFC 2468 (who do we appreciate?)

Amen, brother.

I came to the net rather late, in December of 1987, but since then it's occupied probably a third of my waking hours, and
sometimes 30 or 40 hours at a stretch. I owe a lot of my creativity, purpose, and productivity to Jon Postel's effect.

Thanks for coming up with the idea for an award named after him. It's a brilliant tribute to the man who put the robustness
into the new means of human communication.


"Q: Does heaven have a domain name?
A: If it didn't, it does now..."

Paul Kirton, Melbourne, Australia, ex ISI, 1982-84

It was with great sadness that I read of the recent death of Jon Postel. I learned a great deal from Jon when I was at ISI and really appreciated his encouragement and leadership. I have very good memories of my time in his internet networking team. Jon's death is a big loss to ISI and the internet community. The internet itself is a great tribute to Jon's foresight and

I offer my condolences to his family.

Olivier Perret, Paris, France


Haruhisa Ishida, ASCII Labs., ISOC Trustee-emeritus

The news of Jon Postel's death came to us on the very day when a thick book entitled "the Great Internet RFC dictionary" was published by the ASCII company, a big publisher of computer books and magazines in Tokyo. When the editing of the 1061-page book reached the final stage, the editors wanted a preface, naturally, from Jon Postel. So I sent him a mail and requested him to write up a short preface (to be translated into Japanese) for the book. I knew he was extremely
busy with new IANA and gTLD issues and expected NO from him.

But to our delight, he did write the preface as shown below and sent it to us just in time for the printing of the book. The editors also wanted his picture and signature, which came by FAX shortly before his death, apparently from his hospital bed. So his preface is probably one of the very last official writing of Jon Postel. And I like you to read it as his memorial. You might publish it in the OnTheInternet.

The last time I talked with Jon was at the ISOC trustees meeting in Geneva last September. At that time, I asked him "Do you remember how many RFCs you have written?". He said no, so I told him "You have written 163 RFCs so far, a great number. This is of course more than anyone else." His answer was "I thought I have done more". I noted this episode in my preface to the big book. I knew the number because I did some research for the book.

We were planning to send him a copy of the book to show him how Japanese digests and analysis of some 2500 RFCs look like. We feel very sad that we cannot get his response to the book any more, to which our writers and editors took painstaking cares and they worked many days and overnight. Now they are proud that this is the world's very first comprehensive book on RFCs complete with Jon Postel's preface. Other contributors are Jun Murai (a trustee) and Tohru
Takahashi(Tokyo Internet). I think only Japanese editors have patience to complete the voluminous book. To pay respect to the US internet community, we are sending a copy to ISI-USC (where Jon worked, expecting the book is to be placed in the IANA library) and another copy to our chair Vint Cerf, though the content is mostly in Japanese but because there are lists of English titles of RFCs.

This is the preface to a Japanese book (1061-page thick) entitled the great Internet RFC dictionary) with a preface
written by Jon Postel shortly before his death. I believe this is one of the last of his official writing. We feel very sad that we could not show him the completed book which was published (with his preface translated into Japanese) just the next day of his death.


Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 22:24:41 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Jon Postel <postel@ISI.EDU>
Subject: Re: Preface to our RFC dictionary

Hello Takayuki Hirano.

I am very sorry for the delay. I've been on travel from 22-Aug-98 thru 06-Sep-98, and i am only now beginning to catch up with my email.

I have done some work on a preface for your book of RFCs, though i am not completely satisfied that i have done all i should for this topic.

I attach below what i have done as of this date, and ask you for suggestions on which aspects should be added or further discussed.

I wonder if the picture on my web page would be sufficient for your purposes?

Please check it at:


The Requests for Comments series of notes was started in April 1969 as the ARPANET was beginning to take shape. The purpose was to share information between the software developers that were responsible for connecting the computers to the network.

In those days, the computers were mainframes and many of these in the research community use timesharing operating systems, and there were a great variety of these computers with different machine architectures and systems designs.

The first RFCs were rather informal memos discussing possible protocol designs, asking and answering questions about the details of the operation of the ARPANET node computers (called IMPs for Interface Message Processors), or the structure of the various operating system.

Many of the early RFCs were prepared with typewriters and distributed via the postal mail service, a few were even prepared in longhand. Very few of these early RFCs are of more than historical interest today, though there is some interest in having them all made available online.

In August of 1987, Steve Crocker recounted the early days of the ARPANET and the creation of the RFC note series. The following comments on the beginnings of the RFCs are extracted from Steve's report.

"While much of the development [of the ARPANET] proceeded according to a grand plan, the design of the protocols and the creation of the RFCs was largely accidental.

The precise usage of the ARPANET was not spelled out in advance, and the research community could be counted on to take some initiative.

The first few meetings were quite tenuous. We had no official charter. Most of us were graduate students and we expected that a professional crew would show up eventually to take over the problems we were dealing with.

We envisioned the possibility of application specific protocols, with code down loaded to user sites, and we took a crack at designing a language to support this.

[...] it became clear to us that we had better start writing down our discussions. We had accumulated a few notes [...], and we decided to put them together in a set of notes.

I remember having great fear that we would offend whomever the official protocol designers were, and I spent a sleepless night composing humble words for our notes. The basic ground rules were that anyone could say anything and that nothing was official. And to emphasize the point, I labeled the notes "Request for Comments." I never dreamed these notes would distributed through the very medium we were discussing in these notes. Talk about Sorcerer's Apprentice!

Over time, the actual specifications of the communication protocols of the ARPANET computers were issued as RFCs, and the informality of those early days gave way to expectations of a bit more formal presentation of the information.

The development of the Internet protocols was begun as a separate activity with a distinct series on memos, but this soon attracted enough interest that the more popular RFC notes became the venue for the publication of the Internet protocol specifications.

Since that time the RFC note series has grown to include many specifications, descriptions, and suggestions. The RFCs have become more specialized with distinct identifications for standards versus informational, experimental, and best current practices; and within the standards a separation based the maturity of the specification into the proposed, draft, and standard levels.

These days the RFCs are all made available online in a simple format for ease of distribution and access by people with minimal facilities, and sometime also in another fancy text style.

All the RFCs are prepared in English, but since the goal of the RFCs is to share information about networking protocols as widely as possible, translation of the RFCs into other languages is very desirable. The publication of this book making these key documents available in Japanese is a very helpful step in then dissemination of the knowledge captured in these RFCs.

Andy Poggio (e-mail to Vint Cerf)
I saw your "I remember IANA" and was touched by it. I thought you would appreciate my memory of Jon:

I went for a job interview at Doug Engelbart's Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute when I finished my degree in 1975. I had compromised appearancewise by wearing a suit but keeping my shoulderlength hair. I was met at the SRI lobby by a guy who was barefoot, in shorts, bearded, and had hair longer than mine. I didn't need to get very far into the interview before I recognized that Jon was very, very smart and was thinking about and working on things that were important rather than things that were merely urgent.

I knew this was where I wanted to work and Jon was the kind of person that I wanted to work with/for. I turned down another job I had already accepted and went to work for ARC.

I last saw Jon when we accidently met on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Well, not entirely accidently as this was the weekend after Las Vegas Interop, so we were both in the area. He was full of ideas about the Internet and we sat out in nature with a glorious view talking about network technology. This is how I'll remember him.

Jim Finfera, Member

I got the general posting on Jonathan B. Postel's death. Please accept my deepest condolence. I wish I had the good fortune of knowing him. It is so very obvious from Vint Cerf's comments, he was one special person. It is also apparent that Vint is of the same stock. One special person. We can be assured that Mr. Postel will be watching over and protecting our society and its great work. I am honored to be a member. When my time comes to cross over to the next life, I will look forward to meeting him.

Charlie Brooks

Many years ago, when I set up my first Internet domain, I dealt directly with Dr. Postel rather than with the current maze of drones and intermediaries required by the vast growth of the net. Despite my own massive ignorance of networking at the time, it was a very positive experience; mostly due to Jon's clear, straightforward and personal way of dealing with the allotment of addresses and domain names.

Please convey my sincere condolences to Dr. Postel's friends and family. He will be greatly missed, but his influence will always be present in the net.

Andrew O. Smith, Sysadmin, Insync Internet Services, Houston, Texas, USA

Just wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for writing up "I REMEMBER IANA". It was very touching to read, and your remarks have helped make a difficult loss easier to digest.

I'm sure Jon would have been pleased.

Ted Gavin, Member - ISOC, IETF
(e-mail to Vint Cerf)

I've just completed my second reading of this document. As a young member of the Internet Society, and the 'Net community in general, I found it to be of the utmost importance as I look forward toward my own path with ISOC and the IETF, among other things.

My own passion led me to work for a greater sense of ethics and standards, which is what carried me initially to IETF-RUN, and having had, only once, and for the barest moment, the opportunity to meet Jon was as lasting and gratifying a moment as I have known in my I.T. career.

It is unfortunate that more of us could not have known Jon as you and your colleagues did. But, through your Remembrance, we will all see and appreciate more than we would have if afforded just one brief meeting.

Were I to say anything other than the following words, it would merely detract...

Thank you, and please accept my deepest personal sympathies for your personal loss.

Chris Bulow, Shearman & Sterling - Lawyers, London, England.
(e-mail to Vint Cerf)

We've never met (doubt we ever will), nor was I ever lucky enough to meet Jon but I felt I just had to write a brief note and say "Thank You" for such a moving and personal memorial text that you wrote for him.

He will be missed by *many* more people than he ever knew and his legacy underpins everything that I do and a day by day basis.

No reply necessary - I imagine you'll be snowed under.

Sheila Coyazo, USC/Information Sciences Institute

I met Jon only a few days after I began working at ISI, in October 1980. I find it hard to believe that 18 years have passed since then. Of course we'd all gotten greyer, and Jon had become famous (to his dismay), but somehow he was always Jon: quiet, funny, subtly countercultural, never seeming to hurry but accomplishing amazing things. In the past few years I didn't have the opportunity to work with him, and my recent interactions with him were short hallway conversations. I'm very sorry that I took it for granted that Jon would always be there. He seemed so solid, so durable.

In my capacity as technical editor and publications specialist for ISI in the 1980's, I had the immense privilege to work with Jon on some of the techreports he published. He was a wonderful writer and editor, and we had some good conversations about language. I loved working on his reports, because he put so much thought into what he wrote. He didn't use unnecessary words--every one counted.

Jon wasn't interested in personal recognition--it seemed to embarrass him. This is not to say that he wasn't very proud of his work, or that he didn't have a feeling of ownership for the Internet! But I think it made him very uncomfortable when he became famous, even though he handled the onslaught of publicity with a lot of grace. He wanted control because he knew how he wanted things handled, and he knew that he could do it to his own high standards.

Looking back, I'd say that Jon's many talents were about community-building, on a scale that ranged from the very small to the immense. In addition to his brilliant technical and administrative work with the Internet and his skills as a writer and editor, Jon was always a voice for communication and cooperation. He volunteered his talents to ISI as Ombudsman, and over the years he helped many of us resolve personal and work-related conflicts. As a project leader and then a division director, Jon took wonderful care of his employees and always encouraged them to make the most of their talents. He was especially supportive of the women who worked for him. In a lot of different ways, he offered people a step up to a place where they could shine.

James R. Vernon
(e-mail to Vint Cerf)

I doubt that you know me, but I want to thank you for your fitting tribute to Jon. I worked for Jon very briefly (Jul-Dec 1982) as a programmer/assistant. I have grown to appreciate him in many ways. His brilliance was apparent to me at the time. His basic good nature was, too, though I took it for granted until well into my "corporate" years. In the almost 16 years since I worked for him, I've met very few people with his combination of both "smart" and "nice".

I've always taken special pleasure in pointing out that I worked for Jon -- a sort of "star quality" that I attach to the association, I suppose. (In those days, I suppose I was the administrative assistant for the IANA, since I picked the IP addresses when universities -- mostly, with a few labs -- would request them from Jon. It's possible that you and I might have met during that time, though I don't recall it.) I can only imagine that those who knew him better than I, especially those who shared his vision and his work, must feel a great sense of loss.

I learned of his passing in the WSJ op/ed section on the 22nd. I was very distressed when I saw nothing about Jon in my regular news feeds, since I had noticed several highly critical articles in recent years and months. I had even been mulling some sort of "rant" to one or more publications. Your tribute (which I just read in Wired) at least lessens my urge to do so.

Ironically, I had planned to email Jon just this week to ask if he would be interested in writing for an internet publication that I'm trying to establish (Carpe Web -- so far, just a domain with no content, and a corporate grunt trying to find time for it). We exchanged a few brief email messages last year, but I had no idea that Jon's health was at such great risk.

I hope to send a contribution to the memorial award you've established very soon. As I am unlikely to be able to travel to California for the memorial service in November, I will be there in spirit. I hope you will post as much of the content of that service as you can on the site.

Thanks for "listening", I hope it's relevant.

Markus Hanny

Actually I am quite young (21), so I did not realize much of Jon Postels activities at the moment he was doing them. But all my interst in the Internet started with reading Jon Postels RFCs and papers. From all beginnig I was feeling a certain affinity to him. Now he is gone, with so much parts of his dream still left open.

It is too early, it was not the right time now. And it hurts me badly.

Francesco Dalla Libera

When, some year ago, I started the study in the computer networks field, I found very often documents and references to a researcher named "Jon Postel". I was thinking Jon was not a real researcher but a fictious name for a team of researcher (like Bourbaki name in Mathematics), because was so large the studies and protocol's design Jon Postel was doing: and Postel seemed to me a good name for a researcher in network field! (Posta in italian means Mail).

After some months I realized Jon was a real man and an exceptional researcher!

Nashwa Abdel-Baki, on behalf of The Egyptian Universities Network, and the ccTLD EG

We were deeply grieved by the news that Dr. Jonathan Postel passed away. This represents a great loss to the Internet community all over the world. We present our deep condolences to his family, friends, and the Internet


Por este medio envio mis mas sinceras condolencias a la familia y amigos de la persona que concidere un maestro Jon Postel.

lamento la perdida de este gran hombre que le dio un sentido a la vida de varios internautas en los cuales me incluyo.

descanse en paz.
By this means envio my but sincere condolencias to the family and friends of the person who concidere a teacher Jon Postel.

moan the lost one of this great man who gave a sense him to the life of several internauts in who I include.

rest peacefully.

Mmarjo Verzantvoort

As one of the miliions of people who benefit from the internet, I am moved by the tribute to Jon Postel. I hope his work and dedication live on and internet remains as he intended it to be. I also hope dat many people realise that scientific work is not the presentation of spectacular inventions, but society benefits mainly from years and years of solid work and dedication. We need such men and women.

Pierre Bellanger

I have heard about the work of Jon Postel, he was a great pionner. This message in cyberspace is a minute tribute to him.

Nii Quaynor, President, Internet Society of Ghana.

On behalf of the Internet Society of Ghana we wish to express our deepest sadness on the loss of our friend and mentor Jon Postel.

Jon always encouraged us and showed us the way amidst the difficulties of bringing internetworking into developing countries, particularly Africa. His specific support for AfriNIC and related organizations goes to show the deep understanding you had for the problems we face. Your dedication and calmness in addressing our issues will be a guiding light for us to carry on what you started. Ghana and African Internauts will fondly remember you with respect.

I will personally remember our numerous discussions on protocol verifications, especially that famous thesis that inroduced graph theoretic modelling of protocols.

Michel Elie, Montpellier (France)
(e-mail to Vint Cerf)

I was so glad to see Jon again in Geneva 29 years after sharing his office during one year in UCLA in the early days of ARPAnet. We talked as if we had seen each other the day before. After the conference he
sent me a very friendly e-mail.

I want to express my deepest sympathy to you, to his relatives, to his friends and to all these who feel, as I do, that not only we lost a pioneer but also a man endowed with a great human quality.

Scott Bradner

The Internet is not dead

Jon Postel died the other day.

These are very hard words to write. The reality behind them is even harder. Jon was a friend, teacher, co-trustee, sage, and guide. We mourn his passing and celebrate his having been. He left us far before his time having accomplished far more than most people can know.

Jon was one of the fundamental reasons that the Internet works. He did not invent all the technology but as the editor and arbiter of the IETF's RFC publication series he made sure that the descriptions of technology were clear and precise. He did not invent the process of Internet standards but he was a guide to those of us trying to understand and then document it. But these contributions, which would have formed a full legacy by themselves, are not the reason that it is hard to imagine the Internet of today developing without Jon.

Jon created the Internet technical management structure. He invented and then became the IANA. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority is the Internet's technical bookkeeper. The IANA kept the lists and created the processes which ensure that IP addresses are unique, that domain names can be resolved and that Internet applications can communicate. This is mundane work but it is just the sort of thing that can cause a system to collapse if not done correctly.

Jon was the IANA for many years but, as it became clear that the Internet was growing too fast for any one person to support on their own, Jon started to build an organization to perform these functions. The IANA has been for some years an organization not an individual.

Over the last few years Jon has been working out what he called an exit strategy. He felt that the organization that is now the IANA and the IP address, protocol number, and domain name allocation processes that the IANA supported needed to wean themselves from the US government support and authority and become stand alone, public-interest, non-governmental organizations.

Using the same type of process of producing a series of draft proposals, with each succeeding draft modified in response to comments received that is used by the IETF standards process, Jon produced a specific proposal to accomplish this separation. This proposal is known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and was submitted to the US government shortly before Jon died.

During this process Jon was subjected to some of the most vitriolic personal attacks I've seen on any individual and there many times that it would have been rational for Jon to just walk away. But Jon's strong sense of responsibility would not let him do that. This was not ego, Jon had built the Internet support functions and it would have been irresponsible
not to ensure their continuation.

The ICANN plan is not Jon's legacy, though we must work to complete its realization, not to honor him but because it is the right organization for our future.

Jon's legacy is an Internet whose support systems just work. Nevertheless, I shall miss him greatly.

disclaimer: I knew Jon, Harvard did not, these are my remembrances.

This text is copyright 1998 by Network World, permission is hearby given for reproduction, as long as attribution is given and this notice is included.

, Trademarks In Cyberspace Forum, Toronto, Canada

October 19, 1998

While I had other, more upbeat remarks prepared to open this Forum, unfortunately I must open things in a most unusual way... with a eulogy.

Jon Postel, the father of the Internet domain name system died Friday night of complications following heart surgery. He was 55. Those of you have been involved in or have monitored the domain name wars knew Dr. Postel - who only wanted to be called Jon. Jon was IANA -- and had been for 30 years. He was also a founding member of the IAB, Trustee of ISOC and custodian of the .us domain. A true internet pioneer.

I often thought of Jon as the Wizard of Oz - not because he couldn't deliver what he promised - Jon did - but because he was the sole player behind the curtain, who selflessly and tirelessly devoted his energy to making this thing called the internet work.

People would ask: What is IANA? IANA was Jon, with flowing gray hair to his shoulders, Berkenstocks and a calm demeanor - an aging hippie quietly and without fanfare moving the whole world to a new age.

And now I'd like to share with you a bit of Vint Cerf, another internet pioneer's email eulogy: "If Jon were here, I am sure he would urge us not mourn his passing but to celebrate his life and his contributions. He would remind us that there is still much work to be done and that we now have the responsibility and the opportunity to do our part."

In that spirit I dedicate this conference - Trademarks in Cyberspace to the memory of Jon Postel.

Lamia Chaffai, Agence Tunisienne Internet

It's with great sadness that we learned the loss of one of the major figures in the Internet Community: Jon Postel. On behalf of all the staff of the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI), I would like to present my sincere condolences to Jon Postel's family and friends.

Igor Ostrovsky, OstroSoft

I am shocked by death of my idol.
God of The Internet - he was only a human.
He will be forever remembered by internet developers.

Steve Stock

Subject: *Sniff*

It's amazing that you can miss someone you've never met, or even seen in person. His life effected the entire net and everyone on it.

A true Net Hero of the highest order.

Franco Denoth, President of the Committee for Information Science and Technologies of National Council for Research of Italy

Dear Vint,

I was deeply moved both to hear of the sad demise of Jon and also by your warm message to which I would like to associate my own expression of deep loss. Jon was certainly one of those people who have opened up a path for us all. Despite his enormous contribution to the global information society, one Jon's most notable and memorable qualities was his extreme modesty. However, his legacy to all of us will not be forgotten.

Dr Richard Muntz

I remember coming to UCLA in 1969 as a fresh Ph.D. and a brand new assistant professor ... going from a senior grad student to a new professor is something akin to being "promoted" from a top sargent to a 2nd leutenant. The group had recently been formed that was to contribute so much to networking ... they were an awesume bunch and somewhat intimidating in their knowledge and ardor for what they were doing. This included, among others, Vint Cerf, Steve Crocker, Charley Kline, and of course Jon. It was an exciting time and I am glad to have been there.

What Jon wanted to do for his thesis research best fit with Dave Farber's expertise ... but Dave was at Irvine. The university regulations require that at least a co-chair of a dissertation committee has to be from the student's department. For some reason Len and Jerry were not available and I acted as co-chair ... but Dave Farber was in every sense Jon's real research advisor. Over the years when Jon's name comes up I like to say that I was Jon's advisor. Invariably the reaction is "Oh wow, really?" I then have to admit that it was in name only ... but I enjoy it for the moment.

I remember those times both for the great accomplishments and the wonderful people involved. It is with great pleasure
that we dedicate our distinguished lecturer series to Jon in his memory ... a small tribute to his professional contributions
as well as his personal touch on our lives.

Hugh Irvine

Hello -

One of the very influential people in my life has disappeared and I just wanted to express my deep appreciation for everything that Jon did and everything he represented. It distresses me greatly to think that I will never see him again nor share a glass or a meal or a friendly word.

Hu Qiheng, CNNIC Committee Mao Wei, China Internet Network Information Center

Condolence For Dr. Jonathan Postel

We are very shocked and sanddened after we heared the death of Dr. Jon Postel. We visited Dr. Postel in the U.S. this Arpil. We nearly can't believe he had passed away.

We know Dr. Poestel devotes his all to the career of Internet and had excellent achievements in many aspects. On behalf of China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and all members of CNNIC committee, we only wish to express our sincere condolences and mournings on Dr. Jon Poestel.

Pongrac BACHO
, Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, 27 October 1998

Dear Vint,

I wish to send to you my warm personal regards for your note to all Internauts regarding the tragic departure of our dear old friend Jon Postel from our Surfing Territory to The Higher Level One. It is a privilege to belong to a Society where members have such a close relationship to each other.

Joseph J. Januszewski, III, National Institutes of Health

In Godspeed, Jon Postel

I came along as the World Wide Web was just taking its first, tentative steps - Mosaic had yet to be written. The Internet was this great and wonderful resource that it seemed that very few people understood, and it was just techies like me who used it. Soon, it seemed that everywhere I turned, when I mentioned the Internet people would ask about it. It was then that I decided to design the first course for the Department of Health and Human Services to train researchers to access remote databases and applications across the Internet.

As an electrical engineering major in school, I had taken a number of communications courses, read a few books on TCP/IP, and learned to configure routers on the nation-wide HHS network. All of the RFC editing, and assigned numbers, and addressing that I had learned back then was part of an odd-looking accounting system maintained by Jon Postel.

I was amazed, while researching for my class and a number of papers I'd given, that these pioneers would take the time to answer questions regarding concepts that must seemed obsolete to them by then. I, probably one of the youngest members of the new ISOC, was trying to gain a more coherent understanding of concepts that escaped me - and actually was able to reach two of the founders of this network - Jon and Vint. They made themselves very accessible despite busy
schedules. Imagine being able to pick up the phone and call Neil Armstrong to ask what it must have been like to step on the moon! Yet, here were the men who contributed so much just offering more assistance and guidance in order to make
my presentation to classes as technically correct as possible. I remember Jon being quite patient in an Email exchange when I just couldn't quite grasp multicasting, he explained it until I got it right.

The two things that I learned from these experiences were that Jon Postel was technically astute and a very patient human being who must have loved his work. Please don't think that I knew him personally, I didn't. But I do know of the
immense body of work that he left behind for us.

To those of you who did know Jon personally, please accept my condolences. You know much more than I how he will be missed.

To those of us who didn't, we must have been deprived of quite an opportunity.

Patrick McManus

My own postel story dates to summer 1995 when trying to register the domain. We made that unusual choice because the government project we were going to run out of it paralleled an existing project that we had inherited the administration of a domain of for.

My application had hung in limbo for over a week without a response. So I called ISI for assistance on the processing for US domain requests. The polite woman whom I first talked to said, "oh we didn't know what to do with DNI so we put it on Jon's desk".. Now, I'm still basically wet behind the ears at this point when it comes to anything that isn't bits and bytes style implementations. I admit to having no idea who "jon" might be.. I figure it's just another clerk. They transfer me right away. Can't be that important if I don't even have to wait for a callback, right?

He graciously spends several hours spread over 3 phone calls with me as I try and lobby him for this domain. Remember, this is the grandfather of the net debating with some kid who hasn't even quite graduated yet! When I figured out who he was later, I was suitably humbled.

Never for a moment was he patronizing or terse. Nor did he ever waiver; you'll note that to this day we run that product out of ;).

He patiently explained to me that was not one of his better ideas and was really meant for local level entities that didn't belong to any single state ("Distributed National Institutes"). Specifically, it was a compromise for the new york/new jersey port authority and didn't really scale in practice. He wasn't sure how slipped by him the first time, but he sure wasn't going to let me compound the problem by adding another one! So as a result I do believe is still one of only 4 * domains in the world..

Jean-Marc Dufour

I never knew Jon. But sure his death is a great loss for all the Internet.
All my condolences to his family and friends.


Don Heath, President and CIO, Internet Society

To the family of Jon, I want to express my deepest sympathy for your loss. I would hope you might find some comfort in knowing that so many people, from every part of the world, are also grieving. Jon was unique in enjoying virtually universal admiration and respect from an increasingly diverse and rapidly growing population of Internet users. He was at the center of a marathon effort to resolve issues surrounding the Internet Domain Name System that were both complex and controversial. Yet, his wisdom and sound judgment, along with his deep seated commitment to do only what was best for the Internet, kept Jon in the highest regard by all factions involved in the fray.

It was at the IETF meeting in LA, March of 1996, where I first gained some insight into the way that Jon worked. I was looking for ways to establish a more consistent funding base for the support of ISOC programs and initiatives. I talked to Jon about the possibility of somehow using gTLD registries to be a modest source of income for us. Without going to detail, he just said, "Be careful. This is a very touchy area and there are some very emotional feelings about charging for such things." He spent quite a bit of time just trying to give me a feel for the culture that had been predominant to that date in the evolution of the Internet. He had an open mind and always looked for the new perspective, weighing how that may affect the Internet. He never tried to dictate his views; instead, he wanted to make sure you understood the process of getting consensus and doing it right.

Jon's sense of what made the Internet tick was unerring and he worked his entire career to perpetuate it. Take away cooperation and the Internet will cease to exist, as we know it. His personal commitment has stood the test of time - he was the Cal Ripkin of the Internet world! Jon's consistent and fair administration of his creation, IANA, has stood the test of time - a time spanning the entire history of the Internet! We could all do well to copy his gentle, unassuming, and humble manner.

I will miss Jon's wise counsel and his friendship. IANA is dead. Long live IANA (Jon).

With sadness in his passing and joy in having the pleasure of knowing him,


Paul M. Kane

With much sadness

Michael McCulley

The Net Will Miss Your Vision...

Thanks to Jon for his tireless and creative leadership.. he will be missed.

Josh \"cyber\" Humphries

The Internet has lost ibe if its greatest founders...
My thoughts and prayers are with Jon and his family...
We thank Jon for all of his great work, and we're grateful without him, we'd probably be typing IP numbers....

Pierre Dandjinou, Coordinator, Africa Internet Group

On behalf of the Steering Committee of the Africa Internet Group and the Africa Internet community at large, I wish to extend our sincere condolences to the Internet community and the family of Jon Postel.

We In Africa cannot forget Jon Postel's dedication to the spread of networking in the dark continent. Neither could we ignore his assistance for the painful crafting of the AfriNIC, a process that is still on-going. Indeed, he has always been among those advocating an African representation in the overall governance of the Internet.

May he rest in peace!!

Michael Seven (e-mail to Vint Cerf)

Your "I REMEMBER IANA" was quite reflective of your inner space. I was just starting to recognize what Jon had accomplished when he died. The two of you helped to create something that will be greater and encompass more than mankind has ever known.

Eric Stevance, MaliNet manager

All my condolences to the familly of Jon Postel, to his memory and all the work he did for Internet. Here in Mali, West Africa, we have just started to be linked to Internet (year 97), and we can realise the work that has been achieved by Jon. We had the opportunity to meet him at INET'98, it has been a chocked to learn his disparition.

God bless you,

Johnson Nkuuhe, Parliament of Uganda (e-mail to Vint Ceft)

It is really a sad day for the Internet fraternity to hear of the sudden death of Jon Pastel, a man who worked tirelessly to promote Internet use world-wide.

Vint, please convey the condolences of the Uganda Internet Society members and the Ugandan Internet fraternity to the Postel family and to all those who held Jon in such esteem.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Michael N. Pocalyko (e-mail to Don Heath)

I thought to take a moment to express my condolences to you and through you to the larger administrative Internet community on the death of Jon Postel. During those months a few years ago when I was interested in expanding the domain system commercially, he and I spent many, many engaging hours on the phone. A phenomenal man, a top-rate intellect,
and one who in Shakespeare's words "had greatness thrust upon him" by the one-time default assignment of the IANA responsibilities, before anyone knew what that stewardship would eventually mean to the nation and the world. Everthing he ever did since that moment, it seems to me, was cultivated to accrue to all of our benefit.

Ruben Martinez (Spain)

The Internet is changing our lives almost as fast as it changes itself from year to year. In the midst of this turmoil, whenever we needed a solid point of reference, there was the rock steady presence of Jon Postel. For us newcomers, he'd been there from before the start and it felt like he would be there until the end, bringing order and good sense when everything else failed.

We're living the day after, Jon, and you're already sorely missed.

Francisco Cesteros, HTC Miami - President & CEO

Please note that I am very surprised and in a deep sadness knowing the notice you reported us. Take a note from Spain to help wisdom and knowledge of the labor John gave us.

Mark Crispin

Subject: rest in peace

I sent a card to Joyce when I first heard of Jon's untimely passing. The Internet has lost a great man. I've known and worked with Jon for over 20 years; Jon was high on my list of "most admired".

If there's a heaven, then Jon is there, editing celestial RFCs and serving as the elysium assigned numbers authority. We'll have to continue without him, but he'll never be forgotten.

Pierre Dandjinou, Coordinator, Steering Committee, Africa Internet Group (e-mail to Vint Cerf)

Dear Vint,

On behalf of the Steering Committee of the Africa Internet Group and the Africa Internet community at large, I wish to extend our sincere condolences to you, the Internet community and the family of Jon Postel.

We In Africa cannot forget Jon Postel's dedication to the spread of networking in the dark continent. Neither could we
ignore his assistance for the painful crafting of the AfriNIC, a process that is still on-going. Indeed, he has always been among those advocating an African representation in the overall governance of the Internet.

May he rest in peace!!

Mario Gambetta

Farewell Jon Postel;
Your memory will be forever.
Peace is with you.

John Mullee, brussels

Subject: Thank you

To those who grieve a close friend or relative, may I add what I hope to be some small comfort by expressing my gratitude to Jon for his life's work; his imagination and dedication was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all dedicated to enriching our lives and societies with the magic of communications technology.

Just now, I emailed a dear friend on the other side of the world. Thanks to the Internet.

Thanks Jon.

Prasad Wimalasiri, University of Southern Cal

Subject: My deepset condolences

We have heard of your name from a-far,

and the great work you've done which has changed many lives near and far.

You will always be remembered where ever you are.

My deepset condolences,

Gasperoni Stefano

Dietro all' Autore c'e` l'Uomo. All'uomo che ho conosciuto attraverso le sue pubblicazioni il mio ringraziamento ed affetto.

Thank you, Jon.


Dietro to the Author there e` the Man. To the man that I have known through its banns my thanks and affection.

John Curran
, CTO, GTE Internetworking/BBN

For over three decades, Jon served as a voice of reason in the development and administration of Internet protocols. His contributions are far too numerous to list, but the role I will remember him for most was that of friend and teacher.

I miss Jon.

Oliver B. Popov

History remembers great words and great deeds, either about people or by people, but humans evoke memories by little and simple fragments that
forever stay with us. I will always carry the picture of Mr. Postel, during the final reception party given for the participants and the lectures of the INET'95 Workshop in Honolulu. He set quietly on a chair, when I approached him, introducing myself and trying to explain all the problems of a small country in rather hostile environment, trying to build an independent state and in the same time an academic and research network that will provide Internet access for the first time. He listened patiently and carefully for more than a half an hour.

He gave the best of him for the best in us, a possibility to communicate without any language, political or social barriers, and thus a hope that through this medium may be some day we will understand each other better.

Oliver B. Popov
MK-Internet Community

Youssef El Aoufir

Subject: Condolences from Morocco

Deepest condolences to Dr Postel's family and friends from Morocco, North Africa.

I never had a chance to know Dr Postel personally but i'm feeling like if i lost a big brother.

May the history honor his memory as one of the major contributors to humanity development in the 20th century.

My hopes that he is running now the fastest network he would ever have dreamed of.

Youssef El Aoufir.
Network engineer.
(1st permanent Internet connection in Morocco).

Djon Kleine

In Memory Of Internet Pioneer Jon Postel

Ann Westine-Cooper
I would like to offer my condolence to Jon's family. I had the honor of working closely with Jon Postel at ISI for 14 years, during the Arpanet days;
publishing the first Internet Monthly report and managing the US Domain with him. Jon was a mentor to me and taught me so much. I will always be grateful
to Jon for what he has done for me.

I was heartbroken when I heard of Jon's death. I will miss him a lot. There will always be a smile on my face and a warm sigh in my heart whenever I think
of Jon. I offer you my prayers for strength and courage to help you get through this difficult time.

Fabrizio Fioretti

Goodbye Dr. Postel!

To remember a man who give us a new way to see the world!

Danny Cohen, Myricom

Working with Jon

In 1973, after doing interactive flight simulation over the ARPAnet, I joined ISI and applied that experience to interactive speech over the ARPAnet.

The communication requirements for realtime speech were unique (more like UDP than like TCP). This got me involved in the Network Working Group, and I started another project at ISI called "Internet Concepts".

In 1977 Steve Crocker, who was then at ISI, told me that Jon was willing to join us, and that Jon will be a great addition to my Internet Concepts project. Steve was right on both accounts.

Jon and I worked together from March-1977 until 1993 when I left ISI. According to ISI's management Jon worked for me for several years, and I worked for him for several years. In reality we never worked for each other, we always worked together, to advance the technology that we believed in. Over most of those 16 years we had our offices together, and always worked with each other, even when we worked on totally different projects.

Jon was always most pleasant to work with. He was most caring both about the project, and about the individuals on the team. He was always full of
great intentions and humor. Jon was always ready for mischiefs, one way or another. He was always game to hack something.

When I worked on the MOSIS project, in 1980, users submitted their VLSI designs to us by e-mail. For several defense contractors, getting access to
the ARPAnet was too complex. We suggested that they would use a commercial e-mail service, like TELEmail, instead.

Then we had the problem of getting all these e-mail systems to interoperate, since none of them was willing to interoperate with the others. Jon and I solved this problem during one long night of hacking. This hack later became the mail-tunnel that provided the service known as "InterMail", for passing e-mail between various non-cooperating systems, including systems like MCImail and IEEE's COMPmail.

I'm sure that Jon was so enthusiastic to work with me on it for two reasons:

  • Such interoperability among heterogeneous e-mail systems was our religion, with no tolerance for separatism;
  • We definitely were not supposed to do it.
Jon hated bureaucracy and silly rules, as Cary Thomas so well described. Too bad that we lived in an environment with so many rules.

We started Los-Nettos without lawyers and without formal contracts. Handshakes were good enough. At that time several other regional networks started around the country. Most of them were interested in glory, in expansion, and in fortune. Jon was interested only in getting the problem solved.

This was Jon's priority, both at work, and in his life.

I found it funny to read in the papers that Jon was the director of IANA. Jon was IANA. Much more important, Jon was the corporate memory of the
Internet, and also the corporate style, and technical taste of the internet.

Jon was an authority without bureaucracy. No silly rules! Jon's authority was not derived from any management structure. It was due to his personality, his dedication, deep understanding, and demanding technical taste and style.

Jon set the standards for both the Internet standards and for the Internet standardization process. Jon turned the RFCs into a central piece of the
standardization process.

One can also read that Jon was the editor of the RFC, and may think that Jon checked only the grammar or the format of the RFCs. Nothing could be
further from the truth, not that he did not check it, but in addition, being the corporate memory, Jon had indicated many times to authors that earlier work had treated the same subject, and that their work would be improved by learning about that earlier work.

For the benefits of those in the audience who are either to young or too old to remember let me recall some recent history:

The Internet protocols (mainly IP, TCP, UDP, FTP, Telnet, FTP, and even SNMP) were defined and documented in their RFCs. DoD adopted them and
announced a date by which all of DoD units would have to use TCP/IP. They even translated RFC791 from Jon's English to proper Militarese.

However, all the other countries (i.e., their governments and PTTs) joined the ISO wagon, the X25 based suite of OSI protocols. The US government
joined them and defined GOSIP. All the large computer companies (from IBM and DEC down) announced their future plans to join the GOSIP bandwagon.
DoD totally capitulated and denounced the "DoD unique protocols" and was seeking ways to forget all about them, spending million of dollars on GOSIP
and X500.

Against them, on the Internet side, there was a very small group of young Davids. The OSI camp had its prestige, but we had working systems, a large
community of devotees, and properly documented protocols that allowed integration of the TCP/IP suite into every UNIX system, such as in every
SUN workstation.

Against the strict laws in Europe, their universities developed an underground of Internet connections. One could get from California to the university in Rome by going first over the Internet across the US to the east coast, then to the UK, then using some private lines to France, then to CERN in Switzerland, and from there to Rome - while breaking the laws of all those countries with every packet.

Meanwhile, in the states, Academia, and the research communities, never knew about GOSIP.

The Internet, against all the conventional wisdom, grew without anyone being in charge, without central control, and without any central planning.

The war between the ISO and the TCP/IP camps never took place. One camp turned out to be a no show.

What made it all possible was the wise selection of what to standardize and what not to, and the high quality of the standards in the series of living

Our foundation and infrastructure of standards was the secret weapon that won the war. Jon created it, using the RFC mechanism initiated by Steve Crocker. It was Jon who immediately realized their importance, and the need for someone to act as the curator, and volunteered.

The lightning speed with which Microsoft joined the Internet was not possible without the quality of the existing standards that were so well documented.

During the transition from ARPA, through the NSF, to the commercial world there was a point in which the trivial funding required for the smooth
operation of editing and distributing the RFCs was in doubt. At that time the prospect of not having funds to run this operation was very real. Finally the problem was solved and the process suffered no interruption.

What most of the involved agencies and managers did not know is that there was never a danger of any interruption. Jon would have done it even with
no external funding. If they did not pay him to do it, he would have paid them to let him do it. For him it was not a job, it was labor of love.

Jon never joined the PowerPoint generation. Jon always believed that the content was the only thing that matters. Hand written slides were good enough. Color and logos were distractions, a necessary evil in certain occasions, not the style of choice.

Jon defined quality by counting interesting ideas, not points per inch.

When fancy formatting creeped into the Internet community, Jon resisted the temptation to allow fancy formats for RFCs. Instead, he insisted on them being in ASCII, easy to e-mail, guaranteed to be readable anywhere in the world. The instant availability and usability of RFCs was much more important to him than how fancy they looked.

The Internet was not just a job for Jon. It was his hobby and his mission in life.

We will miss Jon, who was for the Internet its corporate memory, its corporate style, and its corporate taste.

I will miss him even more as a colleague and a friend.

In Summary:
  • Jon was pleasant, fun/funny, and unselfish.
  • He was full of mischief, adventure, humor, and caring.
  • He was devoted to his work, to the Internet, and to the people that worked with him.
  • It was great working together and having neighboring offices for 16 years.
  • Jon set the standards for the Internet standards.
  • Jon was the Internet's corporate memory, the corporate taste, and the corporate style.
  • Jon was an authority without bureaucracy.
  • Jon was an Internet Missionary.
  • Jon was a great friend that I will miss forever.
Vinod Parmar

Heartfelt condolences to Jon Postel's family and friends.

We are someone he never knew - but are very grateful to him for creating a vehicle for us to be able to supply a service and also earn a living
off it.

May he rest in peace.

Nam Nguyen, Condolence re Jon Postel from the Vietnamese boatpeople

Just wanted to let you know the Internet founded by Jon Postel (among others) had contributed immensely in the struggle for the legal rights of Vietnamese boatpeople interned in Hong Kong and other South East Asia camps.

Boatpeople SOS, based in Fairfax, VA, started using the Internet since 1992-93 to launch international campaigns.

In 1994 when Internet usage was allowed in Hong Kong, I was one of the first users; it allowed our financially-limited and semi-guerilla group to alert friends and supporters all over the world the governments' anti-refugee operations. The Internet literally changed the lives of thousands of Vietnamese refugees for the better.

We used the Internet to coordinate the activities of pro-bono lawyers and refugee activists in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Little Saigon, Sydney, London which culminated in our victory in the highest court of England in 1996.

Since then I often wonder who founded the Internet. Now that I know, I would like to come to say farewell to Jon Postel on behalf of the Vietnamese boatpeople... We owe you a great debt of gratitude...

Joseph Luhukay e-mail to Dave Farber)

Dear Dave,

Truly sorry to hear about Jon Postel. From among the multitude of people who bow their head in sorrow with our loss, I just like to pass our condolences through you. My fellow Indonesian netters join me in paying tribute to the one who helped made distance disappear.

With personal regards,

Carlos Armas

he was a hard working man, an outstanding engineer, and a trailblazer.

Leonard Kleinrock

Jon Postel Remembered

Today we have come together to remember Jon. The picture of Jon you see before you is striking. The first thing one is likely to notice about Jon is his beard. But for me, what stands out among everything else is the twinkle in his eyes! His personality is summed up in the wonder, excitement, mystery and challenge of those eyes.

Whenever I introduce a speaker in our Distinguished Lecturer Series, which we have now renamed, the Jon Postel Distinguished Lecturer Series, I spend an hour "interviewing" the speaker. I ask what it was in their childhood or youth that made them what they are today. Who was their role model, what were their early lives and family like, was there a family history of science, did they build scientific toys, did they have a teacher that influenced them, did they happen upon science by chance and how; in other words, what were the personal things in their life that brought them to the greatness they have achieved. This is not a difficult interview, by the way; all I usually have to do is to ask them a leading question or two, and the floodgates open. Then, when we come to the lecture hall for their presentation, they get 45 minutes to lecture, but first I get 15 minutes to tell the audience about the real person they are about to meet. Well, Jon is not here for me to interview in that way. He cannot speak for himself today. So I did the next best thing. I brought together his family, colleagues and friends to speak for him and to tell us about the Jon they knew, and about the stuff of which he was made.

Jon first came to work for me in early 1969 when I was in charge of the Birth of the Internet, which took place in September of that year when we became the first node on the ARPANET (forerunner of the Internet). He was a member of those wild-eyed young programmers who made up the software team in this project. Indeed, it was Jon who took it upon himself to "just do the right thing" and create a written log of all activities that took place as they occurred. I would like to show you a few clippings from Jon's notation in that log, demonstrating his approach to documentation and his deep sense of commitment and professionalism.

First, here is what the log itself looked like; certainly not a glossy Madison Avenue document:

Picture of Log

The very first entry in this log (penned by Jon) is shown below with an exploded portion to the right describing the first computer-to-switch transmission:

Picture of first entry

The next two excerpts show Jon's frustration at various failures of the system; the entries state " but it didn't work" and "Nothing worked" and "But messages from our IMP to Host (S7) get garbled".

Below we see examples of Jon disciplining the rest of the team to be orderly and to follow the rules. The excerpts read "The above is unreadable and not signed. Please try harder." And "Lots of people played without logging.".



Next, let's look at an entry that records the occurrence of the very first message ever transmitted between two computers on the Internet (one at UCLA and the other at SRI). I had one of my software team, Charley Kline, conduct the experiment and you will see his initials (CSK) next to the entry below. However, that entry would never have been recorded had it not been for Jon's care in setting up this logging procedure. The entry reads, "Talked to SRI Host to Host".


Lastly, I would like to show you an entry that captured Jon's total enjoyment and pleasure at participating in the wonderful fun experiment, which would become the Internet we know today. There he was, and he "…pushed the little Red Button"!

Jon was often tasked (blessed) with the job of running demonstrations for visitors of all sorts (he was most acquainted with the real operational issues of the early ‘Net). Three years after the birth took place at UCLA, we decided to hold a public demonstration of the ARPANET since it had already grown to about 35 nodes and spanned the USA many times. This event was held in October, 1972, in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the International Conference on Computer Communications. There were dozens of demonstrations from as many sites. Lots of these sites had brought prepared demos there: chess playing programs, artificial intelligence demos, distributed simulation experiments, and more. MIT brought "Turtle", a small robot that ran around the floor learning to avoid objects it ran into. Jon was in charge of the UCLA demo whereby he would sit in the demo room in the hotel in Washington, log onto the PDP10 computer at BBN in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from there cause a program across the country at UCLA to compile and execute, and then have the results of that computation sent back to a printer sitting next to Jon in Washington. The night before, Jon tried it out. He logged onto BBN, compiled and executed at UCLA, and sent the output to the local printer – but nothing came out of the printer. Instead, Turtle started jumping up and down and rolling around in a drunken stupor – the output had been misdirected to Turtle! Jon quickly fixed the problem and ran a stunning, though less hilarious, demo the next day!

As so many of you know, Jon had a quiet, unassuming, and understated style. That was, except, when he got together with the rest of the "mafia" software team (Steve Crocker, Vint Cerf, Charley Kline)! They would come into my office, these 4 software types, and ask me for excessive travel funds to meet with other grad students in the community around the country to do their thing. And, believe it or not, they usually convinced me to abuse the budget and allocate the money, aggressive and determined bunch that they were!

So there we have my memories of Jon, the person. I would like to thank Jon's family for joining us this day to remember and honor Jon. I wish we had met under happier circumstances. My heart goes out to the family, and especially to you, Lois Postel, for I can only imagine how difficult it must be to lose a son in his prime. It now seems to me that we should have honored Jon years ago. But who could possibly have guessed that we would run out of time so soon.

Jon, you were the beacon that lit the way for so many to follow. To an environment of disorder, shoot-from-the-hip, ad-hoc activity, you brought order, discipline, vision, maturity and calm. Without that foresight, the Internet would have had great difficulty providing its wonders to the 100 million people who use it today, and to the billions who will use it in the future. For this I thank you. The Internet community will always owe you a debt of gratitude.

Jon, you did it all with grace, dignity and humility.

We will miss you dearly.

Prof. Juan Carlos Cervellera, Universidad Catolica de Salta, Republica Argentina.

Please accept our condolences for the passing
of Dr. Jon Postel.

Mark G. Toohey

Thank you Jon, for what you have been instrumental in creating... what is now the called the "internet." A true world community is evolving because of the tireless, unselfish efforts that you put in while gracing our presence. -- Thank You

Michael Inguillo

I've never met Jon, nor talked to him. In fact, the only place I've ever even had the most remote contact with him was by reading about him and his work...the way numerous others have probably learned about the Internet.

As I was on the Washington Metro, I ran across an article about Jon's passing. Shocked to discover that he passed on Oct. 18th, I felt sad that I had been so wrapped up in my own work to neither hear nor notice that one of the Internet's pioneer died.

Thank you, Jon. You will missed dearly.

Ulf Kieber NACAMAR Data Communications

When I started using the Net end of 80's in Dresden, Germany, I always wondered about how this all worked and who the people running it are.

Later, in 91, I moved to Washington University, St. Louis, and I very vividly remember the first assignment I got in a class on computer networks:

Q: Who is Jon Postel?

It was only later, that I realised the answer wasn't as easy as using whois(1). And it came slowly, piece after piece, with each reference to IANA, and with each document that had this one particular name tagged to it--Jon Postel.

Thanks Jon.

Gerard Peeters

Thank you for your making the internet work.


Paul M. Kane. Director, nic.AC and nic.SH

Jon was a softly spoken, relaxed and astutely intelligent Chief Technical Officer. He was not a politician yet since 1969 he managed to mould a virtual networking dream into a globally distributed communications reality, used by tens of millions of people daily.

As Captain of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, he steered a course that many envy. Jon was a very private man, quietly making sure every Internet protocol has a unique identifier, not a glamorous job though an indispensable one, and he accomplished his duties remarkably well. He sought neither fame nor fortune, but Postel, who was a researcher at the University of Southern California's (USC) Information Sciences Institute (ISI), has indeed played a seminal role in the development of the Internet.

Jon's passing marks the end of the early days of the 'net, a period in which the operation of the Internet has depended in large part upon the moral authority and integrity of one man. Jon Postel's staff at IANA are similarly dedicated professionals, moulded by Jon to shoulder responsibility and institutionalise his legacy. I am confident the Internet is resilient enough to withstand the loss of its leader, provided the trust and co-operative spirit of the Internet does not die with him.

He is gone, and all plans so intricately constructed around the fact of his presence, must be considered carefully. As the Admirals come aboard the new institution, it is they who will do well to emulate the trust and hidden authority that was earnt by this internationally respected gentleman.

Years ago, Jon mentioned he had a "defective" heart, but jokingly said `the medics, had the technology to rebuild it' .... it is a such shame....

Jon was one of the great men of our time. Some luminaries need people's attention, others who are naturally brilliant, shine to enlighten our lives. Jon's visions will guide us all, well into the next millennium.

We will miss him.

Rik Willems

My sincere condolences to all his relatives and other close friends.

Jon: May the Internet become just like you wanted it.

Swanda Groenewegen van der Weijden

Datgene wat hij achterlaat, maak ik elke dag intensief en met veel plezier gebruik van. Zijn inspanning maakt dit mogelijk.

Robert Kahn

The Internet has lost one of its most faithful and enlightened leaders. For more than two decades, Jon Postel remained the ever constant conscience of its protocols. In the most intellectually forceful way, presented in muted tones of pastoral wisdom, he quietly helped to guide the Internet in becoming the foundation of today's information infrastructure. With his keen knowledge of protocols and an accompanying taste for excellence in protocol design, he kept his hand firmly on the tiller of protocol evolution. He was the first professional recorder of network names and numbers, and he carried out as well as managed the delegation of responsibilities in the critical area of assigned numbers. His remarkable penchant for and commitment to accurate record keeping, so important to the orderly functioning of the Internet, was truly its linchpin.

I worked as a colleague with Jon for almost as much time as I have worked on networking itself. From his early days at UCLA, to his long tenure at USC/ISI, he has been one of the few constants in the network world. During that entire period he assumed these responsibilities with great professionalism. He never let us down. To the very end, he strived for the very best for the Internet and for its citizens all over the world, often, in recent years, against increasing resistance to change. I will miss him as a colleague, miss his steadfast support and his insights, and long remember and appreciate how much he has done to make the Internet the reality it is for us all.

Prasad Wimalasiri, University of Southern Cal

It is with great regret we heard of this untimely sad news. Your great work was taught to us, everytime we read your documents, from the other corner of the globe.

The great work you've done has changed many lives near and far. bringing this globe one step closer, to understanding the common ways we think.

You will always be remembered where ever you are.

My deepset condolences,

Hans de Vreught
My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of Jon Postel, father of the Internet.

Although I have never met Jon, I have had some email correspondence with him. At our site we mirror the RFCs and we noted that STD 39 was "missing"; it is the only Internet standard which isn't online. I asked Jon if some sort of placeholder could be made for STD 39: Standard 39 is obsolete and not online.

0039 Interface Message Processor: Specifications for the Interconnection of a Host and an IMP (Revised). BBN. December 1981. (Not online)

Thanks Jon, without you the world would have been completely different and even now without you the world will be completely different...

Ahmed Salem Ould Cheikh

It's not often the end of a man is the end of an era.

Goodbye Jon, and thanks so very very much.

My sincere condolences for the familly and for the internet.

Goncalo Costa

Jon Postel will be remembered in the future as one of the men who made it possible for mankind to reach its next stage in evolution: one day we will all be one people, sharing one planet, living and working together, with no religious, political or geographical barriers.

Thank you Jon, for the future you made possible for mankind.

Aref Damati, Germany

I`m sad about reading about death of an open and brillant mind like you, Jon Postel -

who took care about things going on...

Me as a tiny little user, I'm afraid of human future plans.

If you can, don't let them A B U S E the UNBELIEVABLE POWER

of scientific Intelligence to steer things they better shouldn't will

surely know what I mean....

but ... you are not god , aren't you?

is it the end or just the BEGINNING....?!?

Good Luck , Jon

Denis Yaro

I have two strong images of Jon Postel:

1. I met Jon the first time when Carl Sunshine and I went to visit him at ISI around the time Los Nettos was forming. I remember we were talking about "virtual circuits," and Jon admonished us jokingly that "no, shhhh, we can't say circuits around here!" Here was this giant of the Internet - entirely approachable, easygoing, funny and playful. It's an image I've carried with me ever since.

2. As Dan Lynch's TCP/IP Interoperability Conference evolved into Interop, attendance grew, the typical attendee became less like Jon and more like a mere mortal. At one of the first real Interop tradeshows (I believe it was the one in San Jose in 1989), I remember walking into the hall just before the doors were opened to the general public, and there was Jon sitting cross-legged in an open area, surrounded by a dozen or so younger people, talking about some issue. It looked to me like the master lecturing to his students.

A few years later, at a larger, even more Comdex-like Interop, I remember seeing Jon walking through the enormous exhibition hall, in a daze. I walked up to greet him, and he was literally speechless. He could not believe that the Internet phenomenom (and this was pre-WWW) had grown to that level. His reaction was a combination of totally shock and complete giddiness. After chatting a bit, Jon walked off still gazing around him - eyes wide, mouth open, occasionally shaking his head.

I did not know Jon well at all. I had the good fortune to interact with him on several occasions. All who did surely share the sense I do that we were incredibly fortunate for the opportunity. And certainly all of us who toil in the fields of the Internet owe a great debt to Jon and his pioneering efforts.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will all miss him.

Christian de Larrinaga, Clearing House for Advancing Networking Techniques

Jon Postel was Internet Society member Number One. He lived in a world of make believe. He made and we believed.

The Internet creators have lost somebody who will be impossible to replace. For those of us who are following them we only have to read his fellow pioneer Vint Cerf's eulogy in RFC 2468 to reflect on the technology triumphs of Jon's life. Yet important as technology was to Jon and his colleagues, Vint also reveals the importance of deeply seated long term personal relationships between this group of pioneers. Many, over the years have invented and developed networking and content based technologies often in solitary isolation. But it was their combined vision, discussions, agreements, disagreements, that fostered the innovations that made the Internet possible.

This leaves me wondering about the Internet we have today and how it is so inextricably linked with the personalities, abilities, ambitions, drive and moral force of these people. Without doubt Jon was a key member of that loose knit community of visionaries and engineers and his loss must be keenly felt by them as it inevitably is now by the rest of us.

Reading the tributes from around the world is deeply moving and I have been challenged by the ability of the Internet to forge emotionally charged as well as intellectual links between people who may never physically meet. The Internet was forged out of community and so it is now a vital energiser for communities everywhere.

In creating so many core technologies and in extending his technological leadership into social and political leadership at the end of his life Jon's legacy is as much a spirtual legacy to mankind as it is a considerable legacy of achievement for 20th Century science and technology. An achievement whose dimensions we can really only guess at the consequences of today.

Managing DNS has been seen as the Internet's first hard meeting point between technological solution and political and commercial interests. A technology not intended to manage trademarks DNS became forced to work with them. Jon accepted and assumed the huge responsibility for his invention that this entailed. He chose to manage its consequences in IANA which is now forging its responsibilities into an independent global authority called ICANN. This type of personal assumption of management responsibility has been rare in the history of significant 20th Century science and technology. Inventors have almost always not been dominant in the management of their technology's adoption. Jon and a few others in our community have shown a way forward which those in the next century can learn from.

I also speculate that the ICANN articles of assocation which he was so involved in negotiating can be seen as a precursor to a new type of hybrid "socio-technical" protocol standard. They are in essence preserving a vision of technology and social philosophy of Internet governance into the management of the Intenet's future. The question of how well ICANN reflects Jon's presence in its Articles is a test as to the usefulness and validity of the "protocol" of its Articles of Association.

As a community we still have to discuss how we can bring new technologies to prominence even ones that can supercede DNS. The ultimate test for ICANN is can it adopt new technologies on merit rather than allow technical ossification through political expedience. The challenge will come to its constituent bodies and the technologies they hold such a vested interest in. How will they respond?

The immense effort Jon made in bridging the gap between technology and political management is indicated by his taking crash courses in trademark law. Jon's determination was to keep the Internet as an open and progressive medium. A medium that is inclusive and run on behalf of and for the benefit of its users. He has been an example to us all. It is a philosophy upon which the Internet Society is built and it is why I am a member. And so I salute number One and mourn his passing. Lets continue the make believe and remember Jon in what we make.

Chris M.W. Daft

The man was a giant, and humble about his genius. What a loss!

Joseph Friedman

Finding someone as humble as Jon, is a difficult task. I have always greatly admired Jon. I used to read the old RFCs and the archives of many mailing lists Jon participated in, dating back to the early 80's.

About two years ago I had some questions about the issues surrounding the future of certain aspects of the Internet, as well as policies on certain functions Jon handled. I was a bit hesitant, knowing what Jons schedule must have been like considering all that he handled, but I finally mustered enough courage to send Jon an E-Mail with my questions. To my great surprise and delight, Jon not only responded, but he did so quickly (I believe I got my answer literally a couple minutes after I sent the E-Mail) and courteously. This led to an E-Mail discussion over a period of weeks. When I finally had the audacity to call him at his office, he not only took my call promptly, he spent considerable time with me.

I think it should be noted that what one man, Jon Postel, did alone, must now be handled by many groups of people. He was more than the Internet Assigned Number Authority. He was the Request For Comments editor, he served the Internet Society, the Internet Engineering Task Force, and the Internet Architectures Board. And all of these function were a side job (at least it was supposed to be most of the time) to his primary function as Director of the Computer Networks Division at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute.

In living memory of Jonathan B. Postel.

John F. Schott, Chicago, IL

I am a fledging college student ( not your typical one either 34 yr.. old) and after 12 years in a "dead end job" I have made the choice to become a Telecommunication manager. After lots of research I have done on ARPANET and the history of the Internet; I am amazed how far technology has come in ten years. I did not know this man but I know his work. It is hard to fathom that one all will encounter the enviable at time when one is not ready. However, it is the enviable and we must accept it. Please forward my condolences to his family and carry out Jon's work because as you know the Internet is immortal. Thank you.

David M. Piscitello, Core Competence, Inc

In memory of … Jon Postel

Jon Postel, co-inventor of TCP/IP and one of the most influential citizens of the global Internet, died this weekend from complications following heart surgery. I find it most poignant that Jon's sudden and unexpected death coincided with Interop weekend. I met Jon Postel in 1986 at the first TCP/IP Implementor's Workshop, the pre-cursor to what we know today as Networld+Interop. Jon gave several scheduled and "spontaneous" presentations during that first conference. I vividly recall Jon meandering to the speaker podium, dressed in jeans, T-shirt, and sandals, applying last-minute remarks to hand written transparencies with a china marker. Jon's hair and beard were long and gray even then. I recall how he reminded me of my favorite Tolkein character, Gandalf the Gray. Jon's laconic style and breadth of knowledge established a level of expectation for conference education that I continue to apply even today.

I was and remain in awe of Jon Postel. I will remember him as an enormously intelligent academician, a patient and pensive visionary, and an individual wholly devoted to the advance of computing and network technology. I will also remember him as someone who distinguished himself by asserting authority and influence through reason and logic in circumstances where others relied on volume, bravado, and bluster.

You don't eulogize Jon Postel by enumerating his accomplishments the way one might aggrandize the records set by a professional ballplayer. Jon didn't care a whit for that sort of recognition. Visit Jon's personal web page and you'll quickly appreciate how entirely unimportant accolades and recognition were to Jon. The man describes himself as being "involved in the beginnings of the ARPANET". As steward of some of the most critical projects of what is arguably the most profound technological undertaking of the 20th Century, Jon provided tireless leadership and in my opinion, unerring direction.

Involved says so little, yet in Jon's case, it says so much. Jon was unrelentingly modest about his contributions to the Internet, so few who acknowledge the enormity of the Internet phenomenon appreciate how much he has accomplished, how much he meant to the Internet community, and how desperately he will be missed.

How does one pay respect to a Jon Postel? I imagine that if we were to arrange five minutes of Internet "silence", tens of millions of Internet users might pause to consider the profound impact Jon Postel had on our lives, and will forever have on the lives of millions to come. But if Jon were alive, he would heartily disapprove of any such plan. Honor Jon by working to assure that the IANA, his IANA, and his many equally important efforts to provide unbiased and tractable infrastructure for the Internet do not perish with him. In this way, we preserve his life's work, and keep him involved and with us forever.

As I mourn the loss of Jon Postel, my image of Jon as Gandalf persists. He is no longer Gandalf the Gray, but Gandalf the White, departing Middle Earth with the elf lords. Like Gandalf, he leaves the future in the hands of mortal men. I pray we learned enough from Jon while he was with us to live up to the task.

S.Gopinath, India.

Dear Family Members of Jon Postel,

I'm an Internet user and gone through the RFC documents authored by Jon Postel.

I really shocked on the news about his pass.

Kindly accept my condolence. I thank to Jon Postel's soul for his contribution to Internet.

Tim Berners-Lee, Organization: W3C

Those of us who came into the Internet after its beginning inherited not only a wonderful idea and technology, but also a wonderful society, sets of values and ways of working which are only too rare elsewhere. Jon Postel stood at the center of this, not only in his work - the service he performed as a public trust, but also for the things which, in doing that, he stood for. The concept that some things belong to everybody. Doing things because they are the right thing to do. Tolerance of different opinions - and so on - now known as the Internet culture. His death leaves us with a heavy responsibility to continue that tradition.

I too wish that I had met Jon for more than seconds at IETF meetings, and known him personally. I can only speak of the loss to the global community - and offer my condolences to his family and friends whose loss must be immense.

Tim Berners-Lee
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Susan Rediske, Ukiah, California

To the family and friends of Mr. Postel,

I have to admit I was unaware of John Postel's role in the development of the Internet until I found my way to the web page after a recommendation from a radio talk show about computers. I read some news stories posted at this website about this man's untimely death and his contributions to the technology that affords me so many conveniences I couldn't have dreamt of five years ago, much less back when he was pioneering the system and I was in tenth grade. I can only tell you how grateful I am that this man who was dear to you has left these gifts behind for the rest of us to enjoy.

I know something about untimely deaths and my heart goes out to all you who loved John. He had the good fortune to spend his life working at things he loved and to leave behind a legacy that, even though many people will never know he was responsible for it, will enrich the lives of millions of people, and guide those seek to advance that which he started.

Thank you for allowing us to share a small part of who he was.

Mohd Roslan Haron

Subject: Dateline : Inet 97, Kuala Lumpur

During Q & A, a question raised by one of the audience, "What if Jon dies ?"

No body onstage could answer.

Freddie Quek, Editorial Director, Connect-World

The fact that we are posting condolences from all over the world reveals the extend the pioneering spirits of Jon and others have spread to everyone. We are all a global citizen of this networked world of ours.

May his spirit and vision continue to guide us.

Girish Deshmukh

Dear Sir,

I read the RFC you wrote for Sir Jon. I am very young and new to this world to understand the depth of his monumental work. His gift to our generation will not be understood or valued by many. But your remembrance gave me a insight into what we have lost. I am very sorry and pray to the master that may his soul rest in peace.

Thought of the day.....

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
Kahlil Gibran

Brian P Millett

Subject: rfc2468

The single best RFC I've read.. Ever.

Thanks, and yes,

2 4 6 8 Who do we appriciate, Jon, Jon, Yea!!!

Harish Venkataraman, Intel Corporation

I was deeply moved when I heard of Jon's death. I was a graduate student at USC in 1995, and I was interviewed by him for the USDomain project, which he used to manage at the time. I was prepared for a lot of technical questions, but after a couple of simple questions like "Do you know Perl"? and " do you know C" he talked for most part, almost 45 mins, while I nodded in awe, knowing of course that I'd got the job.

After joining ISI as a research assistant, we used to have meetings every Monday in the afternoon which Jon would preside over, and that's where I got to admire his amazing intellectual prowess. A few months later, I was in danger of losing my scholarship because of some poor grades. Jon summoned me to his office. I dreaded the worst, but as it turned out, Jon was satisfied with my truthful explanation, and it was over in 3 minutes. Not only that, but he renewed my graduate scholarship for the next semester. It probably saved my life & career in the United States....

There are few words that can be used to eulogize him. I used to brag to my friends that I "work with the inventor of the Internet", and I used to love watching their envious reactions. His calm countenance, soft-spoken voice and technical brilliance made me want to be like him.

I offer my condolences, and pray for his soul.

Colin Gan Webworks Pte Ltd, Singapore

Dear Postel family, i understand the pain u are going through with the lost of Jon Postel, one of the greatest pioneer of the Internet. Indeed, u should be very happy and honoured to be associated with this man of great achievement and contributions to society.

Dan Geer, on behalf of the Board of Directors, USENIX Association

The USENIX Association notes with sadness the passing of Jon Postel. As a collection of individuals in a position to know, we say without reservation that the growing good of the electronic world is in no small measure dependent on unhistoric acts and that things are not so ill as they might have been is half owing to numbers who lived faithfully a hidden life. While Jon himself would characteristically demur any representation that he was essential, we ask all readers to learn or recall the dedication that led Jon to give himself to his IANA and RFC roles and, in tribute to his memory, consider where we would now be had he not done so. We are all his direct, unarguable beneficiaries and we salute his memory by saluting the enduring value of his unenumerable contributions. Thank you, Jon, you will be missed but not forgotten.

Ronald Hass, University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, Germany

Again one of the pioneers has gone...

Thank you for the great work you have done. The internet will breathe your spirit forever.

Vincent Valdez, Microsoft Corp.
It would have been nice to have known you. At 6:00PM, yesterday I started a paper on SMTP, as I read I came across your name. It is 4:45AM and I cannot believe all that you have done. I hope that I may somehow follow in your footsteps of integrity, knowledge and kindness. Your life reminds me of Ben Franklin, the person who practically setup the America but never got the credit for it. Thanks for your hard work!

Maite Mijares, General Manager,, Internet Solution Provider, Quito Ecuador

We heard about John´s death at the Internet World Conference in Caracas were we participated as speakers. It was a very sad new to all of us who daily work on the Internet. Please let John´s family know that his work is very much appreciated in a developing country like Ecuador and we will always remember him and follow his love for the tecnology.