Fuzzball hosts -- the summary

Roy Smith (allegra!phri!roy@seismo.CSS.GOV)
Sun, 13 Jul 86 22:54:26 edt

        Some time ago I asked what a fuzzball host was. What follows is a
condensation of the responses I got. Thanks to everybody who took the time
to reply. Due to my eclectic filing system, this is not in any particular
order, chronological or otherwise.


Date: Wed, 18 Jun 86 13:46:28 EDT
From: Mike O'Connor <allegra!seismo!trantor.UMD.EDU!oconnor>

        Here is Dave's reply to the forwarding of my description of the
origin of the term Fuzzball. [...] BTW, the seismo people use one of
Dave's fuzzballs (dcn1) for clock synchronization.

        Date: 18 Jun 1986 12:52:28 EDT
        Subject: Re: Official Derivation of the term "Fuzzball"
        To: oconnor

        Fuzzball gateways are now in place in the NSF Backbone net, as well
        as the USAN (university consortium) net, both creatures of NSF. Add
        NASA, CMU and CNUCE (Italy) to your list. Mention that the fuzz
        were developed as research tools and intended for application in
        protocol development, prototype testing and performance evaluation,
        but have also found temporary application in specialized
        environments with unusually difficult network routing and
        management requirements, with the expectation that the vendor
        community will eventually develop commercial devices that satisfy
        these requirements.

        As an aside, the Ethernets of nine universities are now combined
        (you got it) on the USAN satellite channel. The rwhos are simply
        glorious. The fuzzies got very clever very quick



Date: Thu 19 Jun 86 23:49:44-EDT
From: "J. Noel Chiappa" <cmcl2!seismo!XX.LCS.MIT.EDU!JNC>
Subject: Re: Fuzzball hosts
To: phri!roy

        "Fuzzball" is the name of the software package for the DEC PDP11
written primarily by Dave Mills, written primarily by Dave Mills, MILLS@ISI. It evolved from the DEC RT-11
operating system, but is somewhat more complex by now. It contains a full
set of TCP/IP software, and can function as a user or server host and also
as a gateway.



Date: Wed, 18 Jun 86 21:23:23 edt
From: Henry Schaffer <cmcl2!seismo!mcnc.CSNET!ecsvax!hes>
To: phri!roy
Subject: Re: Fuzzball hosts

This is a tcp-ip router consisting of code written by Dave Mills?? at U.
Md. which runs on a PDP-11. I don't know the origin of the name.


Date: Thu, 19 Jun 86 19:37:36 CST
From: Stan Barber <cmcl2!seismo!drillsys!soma!sob>
To: To: roy@phri.uucp
Subject: Re: Fuzzball hosts

A "fuzzball" is a PDP-11/23 or PDP-11/73 running as a dedicated gateway or
providing a network (i.e. internet) service (like the correct time). Their
inventor gave them that name for an unknow reason. Currently, the TCP-IP
implementation guide sez that fuzzballs are available from M/A-COM
Link-a-bit. A friend of mine there never heard of them. Hope this helps.


Date: Mon, 16 Jun 86 13:29:44 EDT
From: Mike O'Connor <allegra!seismo!trantor.UMD.EDU!oconnor>
To: allegra!phri!roy
Subject: Re: Fuzzball hosts

        In case Dave Mills doesn't answer I'll give you some details.

        Dave Mills (currently with M/A-Com Linkabit) has a software package
(really an Operating System) that emulates Dec's Rt-11 but includes full
Arpanet protocol suite. It mostly runs on LSI-11's but some people have a
version running on some PDP-11s.

        A few years back ('80 | '81?) at a meeting at DARPA headquarters,
someone used the term "fuzzball" to describe Dave's system. Most of the
other people were TOPS-20 users with maybe one UNIX user. While intended
as a somewhat derogatory term Dave embraced it and has used it to describe
his system ever since. I'm not even sure he remembers the origin.

        A more detailed description of the Fuzzball system can be found at
the NIC in the file describing tcp-ip implementations. There were also a
couple of RFC's concerning Dave's system.

        BTW, the last I heard "Fuzzballs" were going to be used as gateways
on the NSFnet. They can be found at the University of Md., University of
Michigan, Ford-Aerospace, and quite a few places in Europe.

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