Alex Tweedly alex at
Sun Dec 11 17:55:14 EST 2005

Graham Samuel wrote:

> I can't answer the question but I would very much like to be around  
> when it is answered. When I was younger (**much** younger), I used to  
> kind of absorb technical stuff without consciously learning about it,  
> but nowadays stuff suddenly comes up and bites me in the rear and I  
> wonder where it came from: for me, XML is like that, and so is most  
> Internet stuff.


> Sockets, do we need them and is the term just a token  or does it 
> carry some metaphorical meaning? 

It does carry some meaning - the idea was that you could "plug together" 
different programs. You make "connections" between "sockets"

> And that great forest of  non-mnemonic clusters of letters like say 
> DHCP - just look at the  Network Control Panel on a Mac or PC and 
> despair... I've tried to  read my way into the subject, but it hasn't 
> helped me much. For  example, I noticed the following in the RR 
> documentation for  'OpenSockets':
DHCP - Dynamic Host Config Protocol    Can't think of a more mnemonic 
acronym for it.

>> For technical information about the numbers used to designate  
>> standard ports, see the list of port numbers at <http:// 
>>>, in particular the section  
>> titled "Well Known Port Numbers".
> Following that link led to something surreal as far as I could see:  
> what are all those individuals doing in there? And who or what is  
> IANA? OK, I know I'm out of my depth.

IANA is the co-ordinating body for various numbers (protocol number, 
port numbers, etc.)

If you need, e.g. a port to be assigned, you need to apply to IANA, with 
a description of why you need a port, what it will be used for, where 
the appropriate documents can be found, etc. (the process is much more 
rigorous nowadays than it used to be). The individuals listed along with 
*some* of the assigned ports are the individuals who sent in the 

> Let's hope Andre can help us (on sockets, not the other stuff).

Alex Tweedly

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