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Manual Reference Pages  -  RFC (1)


rfc - search rfc-index for specified RFC and list topic


Known Issues
See Also


rfc [ RFC-number ] [ -dhiklmnoprsuw ]


RFC Is a utility that allows you to quickly find RFCs (Proposed or current Internet standards specifications). It can be used to find which RFCs contain information relevent to your search and then optionally display, dump to file, or mail them.


  search rfc-index for the specified RFC and list its topic
-d rfc-number [ /path/ ]
  Dumps plain text RFC. default is current dir
-h displays summarized help
-i Updates the $indexpath via the $viewer
-k Keyword; same as -s
-l rfc-number
  Spawns $viewer to the specified RFC
-m rfc-number [opt subject]
  Emails the RFC to given address
-n port/daemon
  Local search for non-standard service/port nums (BO, Netbus, etc) This is essentially the same as a grep on /etc/services but with the additional info from NMAP’s large known-ports database. This will have entries that INI’s assigned numbers database will not.
-o rfc-number
  Dumps RFC to STDOUT
-p Connect to INI’s assigned numbers database for protocol numbers or services/ports association. This is the standards based well known ports and protocols reference. Very handy if you are setting up firewalls or looking at logged output.
-r Go wild with your own regexp on rfc-index
-s string
  Search the index for specific string
-u server-number
  Sets the base URL to the number listed with -w
-w Lists the available webservers to display


rfc will obey the $RFCVIEWER environment variable if it is set. If undefined it will look in your $PATH for w3m and then lynx. You can hard-code which one you want in the top portion of the script.
Under the @URLS array you can now have a URl start with an ! to have it be treated as html rather than text. Add as many URLs as you please. This is also where you would add your local repository of rfcs, like /home/user/rfcs/.
In order to make this utility available to all system users the default $indexpath and $servpath is set to /usr/local/etc/. If you do not have root abilities on this box then you can manually edit the script to specify an area that you do have permissions to write to.


$ rfc -k mpls.*ldp
The Result:
3035 MPLS using LDP and ATM VC Switching. B. Davie, J.
Lawrence, K. McCloghrie, E. Rosen, G. Swallow, Y.
Rekhter, P. Doolan. January 2001. (Format:
TXT=46463 bytes) (Status: US:) (Status: PROPOSED

$ rfc -l 3035 would then use w3m or lynx to view the
discovered RFC

$ rfc 822
The Result:
0822 Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text
messages. D. Crocker. Aug-13-1982. (Format:
TXT=109200 bytes) (Obsoletes RFC0733) (Obsoleted
by RFC2822) (Updated by RFC1123, RFC1138, RFC1148,
RFC1327, RFC2156) (Also STD0011) (Status: US:)
(Status: STANDARD)

$ rfc -p ip 8
Making connection to server....

8 EGP Exterior Gateway Protocol [RFC888,DLM1]

[RFC888] Seamonson, L., and E. Rosen, "STUB"
Exterior Gateway Protocol", RFC 888, BBN
Communications Corporation, January 1984.
[DLM1] David Mills <Mills@HUEY.UDEL.EDU>

$ netstat -an
tcp 0 0* LISTEN
We see port 7100 listening, what is it?

$ rfc -n 7100
Looking up service...
font-service 7100/tcp # X Font Service
font-service 7100/udp # X Font Service


  This is the default $indexpath with all of the RFC numbers and brief descriptions of content. Installed with the rfc -i option.
  Initialization file with your BaseURL for grabbing RFCs (set with -u)
  This is the default $servpath for the non-standard ports/services database from NMAP. This is installed with the rfc -n -i option.


The default base URL is
By default, the program will search your path for w3m or lynx and use the first one found as the viewer; if you want to change this, edit the source.
Please send comments/bugfixes mailto:


Some sites have leading 0’s on RFCs < 1000, ie, RFC0822 may be rfc822.txt or rfc0822.txt. I have yet to implement a feature to work around this. Most of the sub 1k RFCs have newer counter parts. Look for "obsoleted by" in the output from -k -s or -r to find the more up to date RFC. The real bug is the non-standardized rfc distibution. has them with leading zeros, so I’m sticking with that.


Let me know if you find any. This is a work in progress but I’m really happy with how easy it’s made my life.


Derrick D. Daugherty <>
Send bug reports or comments to <>


LYNX(1), W3M(1), SENDMAIL(1)
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