Ancient history (was Re: 44/8)

David Conrad drc at
Wed Jul 24 19:43:29 UTC 2019


I have been staying out of this particular food fight, but speaking purely in a personal capacity as someone who had a small role in early addressing stuff ages ago, I did want to clarify a couple of things:

On Jul 23, 2019, at 11:05 AM, Jimmy Hess <mysidia at> wrote:
> People sought an
> allocation from IANA originally,  but that does not give IANA nor
> any contact listed by IANA "ownership" or  "management" authority
> over usage of this IP address space  outside of their registry which
> is supposed to accurately cover the internet: but the AMPRnet is Not
> a block of networks on the internet,  and not under the purview
> of IETF or IANA, anyways  ---  its just a community that uses
> TCP/IP mostly in isolated discrete networks which can be neither
> allocated,  nor managed,  nor get their individual assignments
> within 44/8 from any central authority.

Yes and no.

There were actually a number of “class As” that Postel directed to be assigned based on layer 2 technology, e.g., 14/8 for X.25, 24/8 (I believe) for IP over CATV, 44/8 for IP over amateur radio, maybe a block assigned for IP over satellite (4/8? I don’t remember).  In some cases, there was a ‘caretaker’ assigned (ARRL for 44/8 and @Home for 24/8) who acted as a pseudo-registry: they did (or at least were supposed to do) sub-assignments for entities that met (IANA- and pseudo-registry-) defined criteria.  However, the informal assignments were, like all assignments of the day, based on the assumption that the addresses were supposed to be used to provide IP networking and if the addresses weren’t so used, they were to be returned to IANA. This was actually put in practice with 14/8 (which unfortunately didn’t have a ‘caretaker’ so we at IANA had to try to track down the remaining IP over X.25 users starting around 2007 or so IIRC — a bit challenging, but ultimately accomplished). I have vague memories of asking Brian Kantor (as the assignee in the IANA registry) about returning 44/8 back when we were cleaning up 14/8 but my recollection was that I was informed it would be too hard given the number, distribution, and global nature of the sub-assignments.

In any event, this is largely irrelevant: there weren’t any contracts or other written agreements, it was all informal and based on folks doing the right thing, without fully agreed upon terms of what the “right thing” was (other than “for the good of the Internet” I suppose).

> In a way; it just means the IANA registry data became
> corrupted/Less accurate  Due to IANA's failure to clearly
> state a policy for the maintenance of the allocations and/or
> ARDC  "converting"  ownership or  being allowed to take
> up a false pretense of ownership of the registry allocation.

Err, no.

It’s inappropriate to blame IANA here. IANA has a clear policy: management of IP addresses was delegated on a regional basis starting with RFC 1366/1466 around 1990, then RFC 2050 and finally RFC 7020. The existing IANA IPv4 registry largely consists of pointers to the RIRs as the delegatees of responsibility for the address space. If you have concerns with address policy, the proper place to raise those concerns is with the RIRs (and in the case of 44/8, ARIN).


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