Back to top

John Day

John Day

When the International Standards Organization (ISO) passed the Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model (OSI Model) as a standard in late 1979, it gave a shot of credibility to the OSI protocols. No longer were the ARPA funded TCP/IP protocols the only networking protocols of choice for the future. It was thus essential to interview a number of knowledgeable “OSI” insiders to present a balanced history of events up through 1988. Thus, interested readers of these events will want to read not only this interview but also those with: Charles Bachman, Hubert Zimmerman, John Heafner, Jerry Mulvenna and James White.

When John Day began working towards his MSEE at the University of Illinois in 1971, he also became involved with the Arpanet Network Working Group (NWG). He then began going to the INWG meetings in 1975. After receiving his MSc. in 1976, he joined the local firm, Digital Technology Inc., and continued his participation in international and national standards organizations. In 1978, Day became a leader in the evolution of the OSI standards. In 1982, he joined Charlie Bachman at Cullinane Database Systems in Westwood, MA. In 1984, when Bachman left to start a new company, Day decided to join Motorola, Inc./Codex Corp., where he continues to be employed. This interview reviews Day’s initial experiences with the Arpanet, his views of the history of networking protocols, early involvement with the creation of the OSI protocols and views on standards making.

John suggested we meet at Codex’s headquarters to conduct his interview, since he was going to be there the day I requested. (I then learned that the engineers were located in the company’s other facility, not the luxurious “Farm.”) As I drove towards the stunning headquarters, I thought of the interview I had with John Pugh and hoped that this interview would be as helpful as that one had been. Soon I was standing before the receptionist and asking her to page John. As I heard his name over the intercom, I returned to a guest seat and occupied myself with guessing which man in the busy traffic of employees coming to greet their guests was John. I was wrong, but smiles and a firm handshake broke the ice between strangers. I rose and followed John to the equally grand cafeteria where we bought coffees and proceeded to find a quiet location for our conversation. While not nearly as long as Pugh’s interview had been, John soon informed me about the world of networking standards, and particularly of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) protocols. He was, luckily for me, a perfect person to interview. So my education began, as did a relationship that I imagine I will always have. John had become an excellent writer and volunteered to serve as a valued editor and resource for my project.

Keywords: OSI reference model, Arpanet, NWG, INWG

John Day Interviewed by James Pelkey 7/11/88