SUPDUP protocol


Barry Shein (bzs@bu-cs.bu.edu)
Mon, 5 Oct 87 18:09:25 EDT


[Wednesday is the tenth anniversary for RFC736, TELNET SUPDUP Option]

I am certainly not casting aspersions at the SUPDUP protocol, in fact
it should be useful in any environment where the mode of interaction
models an intelligent ASCII terminal (that is, intelligent for an
ASCII terminal.) Whether SUPDUP is what I would sit down at my tabula
rasa and write today is yet another question, let's at least
distinguish between software lying on the shelf vs new efforts and
their costs. RFC's tend to represent and encourage both.

More importantly, if one generalizes to the point that all host-host
interactive interactions are made to appear similar in nature (gee,
it's only keystrokes and indices for their graphic representations
passing back and forth) then I believe the spirit of the thing is
lost.

That is, SUPDUP is a very specific protocol with very specific
definitons for interactions and a model of the world most closely
resembling a relatively fixed (generalized) ASCII terminal utilizing
telnet to speak to a remote host. It is very clever within it's model,
but ten years have passed and some things have changed.

My point is that window protocols like X and NeWS almost certainly
-ARE- (plus or minus a little intention) SUPDUP for current times.
They perform nearly the same services and much, much more. My only
comment really was that if I were king of the universe (good start)
I would like to see people working on thinking about how these window
systems might be standardized and accepted and just leave SUPDUP more
or less alone as a standing standard (I have nothing against
interested parties sorting out changes that may be desired in SUPDUP
but I do think we as a community need to get on with other things.)

It goes something like this: If we don't lead, we surely will follow.

I would agree it might be early to standardize given the current
competition of proposed standards out there, but it's almost too late
for this community to begin talking about what they would like in a
standard (eg. subset support for ascii terminals has already been
rejected, it's not impossible to put into these windowing standards
but I don't believe either of them even entertains the possibility.
Should they? That's a question, and another good start.)

Nothing earth-shattering or shibboleth-violating here, mostly just
trying to open a discussion. If you find any *answers* in anything
I've said you've misunderstood me.

        -Barry Shein, Boston University



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