A.1. General RFC Information
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) are the organizations that define the official specification documents of the Internet Protocol suite. These documents are recorded and published as standards track Request for Comment (RFC). If you want to understand the role of the IETF and the standardization process, if you need a list of all the organizations involved in the process and a description of what they do, or if you wish to attend an IETF meeting, there is an interesting and humorous RFC that describes the background, processes, and rules: RFC 3160, titled "The Tao of IETFA Novice's Guide to the Internet Engineering Task Force."
RFCs are written reports describing most of the information regarding TCP/IP and the architecture, protocols, and history of the Internet. There are many sites on the Internet where RFCs are electronically accessible. The sites are very different, but most of them support some form of search mechanism. Find the site that best suits your preferences.
A good starting point is http://www.rfc-editor.org. There is a tribute to Jon Postel, one of the fathers of the Internet, who died in October 1998. He was the RFC editor. Besides this information, there is also an overview of the RFC series and process.
On the search and retrieve page of this site, there are many ways to access the wealth of information. RFCs can be viewed by number or in an index; they can be in forward or reverse chronological order; and they can be searched by author, title, number, or keyword. Of course, there is also a link to alternative RFC repositories.
The first RFC, RFC 0001, was published by Steve Crocker on April 7, 1969. Today, the number of RFCs continues to rise quickly and has exceeded 4,000. RFCs can have different statuses, such as standard, informational, experimental, and historic. A good overview of the different statuses and current level of standardization can be found at http://www.rfc-editor.org. Here's a short list of some important basic RFCs of which you should be aware:
The RFCs ending in 99 are usually a summary of the previous 99 RFCs and their status. For instance, if you need a summary about the RFCs from 3000 to 3098, refer to RFC 3099.