Internetworking with TCP/IP Vol.1: Principles, Protocols, and Architecture

This is the fourth edition of a landmark book, the book that signaled the coming of age of the Internet. Development of the protocols for the Internet started around 1974, and they had been in limited but real use starting in the early 80's, but as of 1987, there was still no good introduction to how they worked or how to code them. The standards documents for TCP, IP and the other protocols existed, of course, but the true truth - the collection of knowledge and wisdom necessary to implement a protocol stack and actually expect it to work - that was a mystery, known only to a small band of the initiated. That was not a good thing, and the initiated knew it. But it takes a lot of effort to pull all the right stuff together and write it down. We waited, knowing that a good book explaining TCP/IP would be an important step towards the broad acceptance of our protocols.

And Doug wrote the book.
We told jokes, waiting for the book. We looked to see how many books there were in mature fields, and speculated that the number of books was a metric of success. I actually went and looked to see how many books there were on "how to build a compiler" (a post-mature field by now, perhaps - time to count the books again). The compiler community was well off, and even "how to build a database" was available. But nothing on "how to build a TCP/IP." And then we got our book.

Of course, knowing that back then this was a landmark book is not enough to make you buy it. Collectors might want to find the fist edition, but that gives the true truth as of 12 years ago, a long time in Internet years. And that is why this is the fourth edition. A lot has changed over that time. We have learned a lot more, the field has grown up, whole new protocols have emerged, and Doug has rewritten the book three times. That is a measure both of how much and how fast the field changes, and how much work must go into keeping this book current. It has all the new stuff, and our best current knowledge about all the old stuff.

Other things have changed in 12 years. Not only has the Internet grown up, but some of our heroes have grown old, and some have died. The foreword to the first edition was written by Jon Postel, one of the true Internet pioneers, who died in the fall of 1998. Below, we have reprinted the foreword he wrote for the first edition. Much is the same, but much has changed. This is still a very readable book both for details on TCP/IP and for an introduction to communications protocols in general. But in 1987, Jon wrote "Computer communication systems and networks are currently separated and fragmented. The goal of interconnection and internetworking, to have a single powerful computer communication network, is fundamental to the design of TCP/IP." Only 12 years ago networks were fragmented; today the Internet unites the world. And TCPD is still the glue, at the core of the Internet, that makes all this work. And this is still the book to read to learn about it.

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