The Best April Fool's RFCs - dummies

By Doug Lowe

An RFC, which stands for Request for Comments, is a document that’s published with the intent of becoming an Internet standard. Over the years, the Internet standards community has gotten into the habit of publishing interesting and humorous RFC documents on April Fool’s Day. Here are some of the best:

  • “ARPAWOCKY” (April 1, 1973): The very first April Fool’s Day RFC was a fun parody of the Lewis Carroll poem “Jabberwocky.” It begins:

    Twas brillig, and the Protocols
        Did USER-SERVER in the wabe.
    All mimsy was the FTP,
        And the RJE outgabe.

    Perhaps the funniest thing about this RFC is that FTP was around back in 1973.

  • “TELNET SUBLIMINAL-MESSAGE Option” (April 1, 1989): A protocol that provided a means by which Telnet clients could display subliminal messages to their users.

  • “Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers” (April 1, 1990): A standard for sending data via carrier pigeons.

  • “Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP/1.0)” (April 1, 1998): A proposed protocol for the control of coffee pots. The protocol includes commands such as BREW, which initiates the brewing process, and WHEN, which specifies when enough milk has been added. Possible error responses include “406 Not Acceptable” and “418 I’m a Teapot.”

  • “IP over Burrito Carriers” (April 1, 2005): The opening sentence of this RFC says it all: “IP over Burrito Carriers describes an experimental method for the creation of edible data packets.”

  • “TCP Option to Denote Packet Mood” (April 1, 2010): A protocol that allows for TCP data packets to carry an indication of their mood, such as “Angry,” “Bored,” “Confused,” or “Frustrated.”

  • “Scenic Routing for IPv6” (April 1, 2015): A “green” routing protocol that ensures that packets get as much clean air as possible by encouraging wireless and avian pathways so that packets can escape from the confines of “miles/kilometers of dark fibers that are in the ground and get as much fresh-air time and sunlight as possible.”