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Jon Postel

Jon Postel (Photo by Irene Fertik, USC News Service. Copyright 1994, USC)

Jonathan Bruce Postel (August 6, 1943 – October 16, 1998) made many significant contributions to Internet standards. He is principally known for being the Editor of the RFC document series from the IETF; he also initiated and ran the number assignment clearinghouse, the IANA, from its inception to his death. He wrote and edited many important RFCs, including RFCs 0791–0793, which define the basic protocols of the Internet protocol suite, and RFC 2223.

Postel earned a Ph.D. in computer science from UCLA in 1974. He was the first member of the Internet Society and he also served on the Internet Architecture Board and the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society.

His contributions to building the Internet were regarded by his peers as being so great that RFC 2468 was written in his memory. This is no trivial thing given that between 1969 and February 2002, only 3,240 RFCs were published. He himself co-authored more than 200 RFCs.

RFC 793 includes a robustness principle that is often quoted as "Postel's Law": "be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others."

Postel died of complications following heart surgery in Los Angeles, on October 16, 1998.

His last name is pronounced [pə.'stɛl] (IPA transcription).

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