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RFC 8140

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The Arte of ASCII: Or, An True and Accurate Representation of an Menagerie of Thynges Fabulous and Wonderful in Ye Forme of Character

 


Top       ToC       Page 1 
Independent Submission                                         A. Farrel
Request for Comments: 8140                            Old Dog Consulting
Category: Informational                                     1 April 2017
ISSN: 2070-1721


    The Arte of ASCII: Or, An True and Accurate Representation of an
  Menagerie of Thynges Fabulous and Wonderful in Ye Forme of Character

Abstract

   Ever since Gutenberg discovered and patented ASCII and the
   corresponding "Courier New" font with its now-famous "ten" point
   size, artisans and artificers have striven to represent their views
   of the world in print.

   Similarly, starting from Darwin's discovery of the hippogriff and his
   subsequent registration of the creature as an International Trade
   Mark, men (and some women) have struggled to catalog the fabulous
   variety that is called "nature".

   This document supplies a number of representations of all manner of
   things (both elemental and hypothetical) supplied by some of our best
   collectors of curios and delivered in a manner that may well be
   reused by the cunning document author.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently of any other
   RFC stream.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at
   its discretion and makes no statement about its value for
   implementation or deployment.  Documents approved for publication by
   the RFC Editor are not a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8140.

[Page 2] 
Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Beasts of the Land  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  The Troll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  The Unicorn Rampant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Creatures of the Deep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.1.  The Loch Ness Monster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.2.  The Marlynne or Sword Fishe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   4.  Spirits of the Air  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.1.  Ze Vompyre  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.2.  Avian Carriers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  Man-Made Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.1.  Bauhaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.2.  The Gingerbread House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     7.1.  A Private Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     7.2.  A Security Mechanism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     7.3.  Backdoors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   8.  Manageability Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
   9.  Morality Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     9.1.  Likelihood of Misuse by the Depraved  . . . . . . . . . .  14
     9.2.  Likelihood of Misuse by the Misguided . . . . . . . . . .  15
     9.3.  Likelihood of Misuse by Corporations  . . . . . . . . . .  15
     9.4.  Oversight Facilities  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     9.5.  Other Ways of Doing Things  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     9.6.  Concern for Wildlife  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   10. References That May Be Informative to Those Who Know How To
       Read Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16

Top      ToC       Page 3 
1.  Introduction

   Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, where princes were
   available to those who knew how to kiss, and frogs could be picked up
   by the handful and were sold in brown paper bags at the shop on the
   corner of your street, there was an impish discovery made by the
   appropriately named Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg.
   His name, it turned out, was coincidentally fortuitous for when he
   uncovered the Gutenberg Press he was able to claim it as his own.

   Amongst Gutenberg's better known discoveries were the ten point font,
   the Courier New Font (which he is supposed to have found growing in a
   hedgerow close to his cottage), and the ASCII character set.  All of
   these have been embraced as comforting and warm blankets by the
   engineers of the IETF as they embark on expeditions to plot the
   desolated wastes of the Internet.

   Although the RFC Editor has recently dragged the IETF kicking and
   screaming into the twentieth century [RFC7990] [RFC7996], there is a
   yearning among all right-thinking Internet architects to "keep it
   simple" and to return to the olden days when pigs could be given
   thrust without anyone taking undue offence [RFC1925].  This document
   attempts to address that yearning by demonstrating the full wonder of
   the natural world in vivid two-dimensional representation and a
   colour palette that would put even the august L. S. Lowry to shame.

   Readers of this document are encouraged to be familiar.

2.  Beasts of the Land

   "Many and wonderful are the beasts of the land" wrote the poet.  And
   he was right in some ways.

   Of these many beasts, the most fabulous are the Troll and the
   Unicorn.  Here are reproduced representations of sightings in the
   field.

Top      ToC       Page 4 
2.1.  The Troll

   The troll is an evil beast that frequently appears around the IETF.
   It feeds alternately on passing goats and cookies, but it prefers
   above all things the taste of distress, especially that expressed in
   email.

   Trolls should be shunned and never fed.  Stories about them being
   sensitive to water or light are unsubstantiated, but it may be true
   that they can be pacified with alcohol.

   The chief weapons of a Troll are its sharp tongue, its blunt
   phrasing, and its total disregard for doing useful work.

                                            .:\::::/:.
                +-------------------+      .:\:\::/:/:.
                |   PLEASE DO NOT   |     :.:\:\::/:/:.:
                |  FEED THE TROLLS  |    :=.`  -  -  '.=:
                |                   |    `=(\  0  0  /)='
                |  Thank you,       |       (  (__)  )
                |   The Management  |     .--`-vvvv-'--
                +-------------------+     |            |
                         | |             /  /(      )\  \
                         | |            /  / (  /\  ) \  \
                         | |           (  | /  /  \  \ |  )
                         | |            ^^ (  (    )  ) ^^
                         | |              __\  \  /  /__
                         | |            `(______||______)'
                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Figure 1: The Troll at Feeding Time

Top      ToC       Page 5 
2.2.  The Unicorn Rampant

   Many things in the IETF rely on majick.  Without pixie dust or other
   artful contributions from the world of faerie, it is unlikely that
   the Internet would work at all.

   Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a concept whereby complex and
   devious networks may be subjugated to the will of a sorcerer (or an
   opensourcerer as they are sometimes know).  Fundamental to the body
   of an SDN is the Path Computation Element (PCE) [RFC7399].  Essential
   to the proper function of the PCE is the Unicorn that roams the dark
   wood of the Traffic Engineering Database, rearing up and spearing
   unwitting paths on the horn of its intellect.

   Unicorns, it is claimed, can only be captured by the pure of heart
   who have never operated a real network.

                         .
                         |\
                          \\______
                          /    \  \_
                         /  O   \   \
                        /  __     \  |
                       (__/  /      \|
                            /         \____
                        __--               \__
                      --___/                  \   ___
                     ( (  __----               |--    \
                      || (     \___     /      /--.    \
                       -\_\        \___(      /   /  __/
                         \_\           \_     \_ |  /
                                       _/\__   _) \_\
                                      /  __/ _/
                                     |__/  _/
                                    /__\__/
                                       /__|

                   Figure 2: A Unicorn in Rampant State

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3.  Creatures of the Deep

   "Not all that crawls upon the land can rival the creatures of the
   deep," said the great ethnographer and philanderer.  And how often it
   has been observed that he was both wise and drunk.

   The things that slide below the surface of the water remain hidden to
   most of us, a mystery no less than the ways of the elliptic curve.
   Most elusive of all is the Loch Ness Monster; most peculiar is the
   Marlynne.

3.1.  The Loch Ness Monster

   So rare are the sightings of this beast that we must count ourselves
   lucky to have presented here a very real etching collected at great
   expense from a native Scott.

   The Loch Ness Monster appears most often on dark nights or in heavy
   storms when the only thing that parts the fog is the rain that lashes
   your face.  Thus, the creature is most often visible when it can be
   least well seen.  In this respect, it is most like clear text in an
   RFC, which is most easy to read and comprehend when it is least
   written.

                              .






                  _______________________________________








                              .

               Figure 3: The Loch Ness Monster On a Calm Day

Top      ToC       Page 7 
3.2.  The Marlynne or Sword Fishe

   Getting to the point is not always something that is practised in the
   IETF.  But there is one beast that Roams the Deeps and Never Sleeps:
   The Marlynne, when hauled from its roost by an unsuspecting fisherman
   for delivery to his equally unsuspecting fishwife has often been
   mistaken for a very angry mermaid [MTFTW].  Do not mistake its sharp
   wit for a valid argument.

   As can be seen from the rendition here presented, the Marlynne is
   happy in its work.

                                 __
                                 \ \
                         --     __) \_____
                         \ \   /          \
                          \ \./          o \
                          / ..            __=====---
                         / /  \           \
                         --    ------------

                Figure 4: The Sword Fishe - An Happy Fishe

4.  Spirits of the Air

   Cloud is the latest buzz for the trendy hipster, active in
   networking.  But be careful not to let your feet get off the crowd
   lest your head become implanted somewhere it shouldn't be.

4.1.  Ze Vompyre

   Most afeared of all of the creatures is surely the vampire, for it
   will drain the blood of any good idea until it withers or is
   completely changed into a problem statement I-D.  More scary than the
   dreaded Old Timer that will suck the air from a room with its hated
   Process Discussion.  More frightening than the RFC 2119 Usage Debate
   of Doom.

   The vampire bat is sometimes mistaken for its third cousin on its
   mother's side, the fruitbat.  That beast is equally evil and will
   remove whole plates of fruit from refreshment tables, leaving only
   celery sticks for latecomers.

   Data that is once nibbled by a vampire may find that some of its most
   precious bits become corrupted and drop off.  Sure protection may
   only be achieved by placing garlic in the metadata or overhead of a
   packet.

Top      ToC       Page 8 
                                 /\     /\
                                /  \---/  \
                    /\    /\   |           |   /\    /\
                   /  \  /  \  |   -   -   |  /  \  /  \
                  /    \/    \/   (.) (.)   \/    \/    \
                 /                 -   -                 \
                /                  _ _ _                  \
               /    ------\         V V         /------    \
              /    /       \                   /       \    \
              -----         \                 /         -----
                             \               /
                              \             /
                               |           |
                               |     ^     |
                                \   / \   /
                                 vvv   vvv

                 Figure 5: The Cursed Vampire or Fruitbat

                          _______________________
                         |  ___________________  |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |                   | |
                         | |___________________| |
                         |_______________________|
                      ___(_______________________)___
                     (_______________________________)

      Figure 6: A Fine Mirror Showing The Reflection of a Vampire Bat

Top      ToC       Page 9 
4.2.  Avian Carriers

   More famous than the Thrusted Pig [RFC1925] and more celebrated than
   the Infinite Monkey [RFC2795] is the Avian Carrier [RFC1149].

   This scavenger of the sky comes in a variety of bright colors,
   perhaps an evolutionary trait enabling a hunter to distinguish the
   carriers and drop those it considers weakest, or maybe acting as a
   warning to predatory Buphyres so that they do not attack the carriers
   deemed most important by the flock.

                            _   _           _   _
                             \o/             \o/
                                 /\o/\ /\o/\

                              /\o/\       /\o/\

                                   /\o/\    _   _
                                             \o/


                           ---------    ---------
                          |       | |  |       | |
                      ---------   | |------    | |---
                     |       | |----     | |-----  | |
                     |       | | |       | |---    | |
                      ---------   ---------  | |-----
                                     |       | |
                                      ---------

        Figure 7: A Flock of Avian Carriers with a Nest of Packets

Top      ToC       Page 10 
5.  Man-Made Structures

   "Man has become God and shapes the world at will" said the slightly
   disgruntled theologian.  And who would dare argue this point that
   wanted to escape the conversation in time to get home for dinner?

5.1.  Bauhaus

   When Laura Ingalls Wilder was just starting out on her cover designs,
   she agonized about what shade her little house should be.  She
   narrowly avoided madness thanks to the timely intervention of
   Professor Kandinsky, a prominent Moscow lawyer.

   It has often been asserted that new art forms are needed to allow the
   inclusion of colors in IETF publications.  Figure 8 clearly
   demonstrates this to be a fallacy.

                           ---------            /\
                          |         |          /  \
                          |         |         /    \
                          |   Red   |        /      \
                          |         |       / Yellow \
                          |         |      /          \
                           ---------       ------------

                           __----__
                         .'        `.
                        /            \
                       /              \
                      /                \
                     |                  |
                     |       Blue       |
                     |                  |
                      \                /
                       \              /
                        \            /
                         `.__    __.'
                             ----


                    Figure 8: The Fundaments of Bauhaus

Top      ToC       Page 11 
5.2.  The Gingerbread House

   Many stories have been told of how young Hans and his sister, the
   equally young Gretha, came to be abandoned in the woods [TFTW].
   However, it may have been Herr Grimm and his eponymous brother, Herr
   Grimm, who first recorded the existence of a house made of
   gingerbread (with all the trimmings).

   Note that attempts to perform packet tracing using breadcrumbs will
   usually fail owing to avian carriers who like to keep the forest
   floor tidy (Section 4.2.

                                            (  )
                                           ( )
                                    /^\   ()
                                   /   \  -
                                  /     \| |
                                 /       \ |
                                /         \|
                               /           \
                              /             \
                             /               \
                            /-^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^-\
                             |               |
                             |  ---     ---  |
                             | | | |   | | | |
                             | |-+-|   |-+-| |
                             | | | |   | | | |
                             |  ---     ---  |
                             |_              |
                               )        ---  |
                                )      |   | |
                               )       |o  | |
                              )        |   | |
                             |_______ _|...|_|
                                        \  \
                                         \  \
                                          \  \
                                           \  \

     Figure 9: A Deserted and Partially Nibbled (or Byted) Gingerbread
                                   House

Top      ToC       Page 12 
6.  IANA Considerations

   IANA might consider introducing a registry for Figure 8 to track the
   assignment of colours to shapes.

7.  Security Considerations

   Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage: but they do
   help.  And with this in mind, our elders encourage us always to be
   mindful of the security and privacy of our eternal souls.

7.1.  A Private Key

   Keys that are shared are keys that other people have.  If someone
   else has a key, they will use it.  If you have a key, you will
   probably leave it in the lock or drop it in the street.  Hence we
   conclude that keys are a security vulnerability.

            ---
           / _ \
          | / \ |
         / /   \ \
        | |     | -------------------------------------------------
        | |     | ------------------------------------             )
         \ \   / /                                    |           |
          | \_/ |                                     |    _      |
           \   /                                      |  _| |  _  |
            ---                                       | |   | | | |
                                                      |_|   |_| |_|

                         Figure 10: A Security Key

Top      ToC       Page 13 
7.2.  A Security Mechanism

   Locks, on the other hand, are good.  They can become rusted solid,
   meaning that no one can open them.  What could be more secure?

   And remember, a smile is the key that fits the lock to everybody's
   heart.  So don't trust people who smile.

                                   _____
                                  /     \
                                 /  ___  \
                                /  /   \  \
                               |  /     \  |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                            -------------------
                           |                   |
                           |                   |
                           |                   |
                           |         _         |
                           |        / \        |
                           |       /   \       |
                           |       \   /       |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |         -         |
                           |                   |
                            -------------------

              Figure 11: A General Purpose Security Mechanism

Top      ToC       Page 14 
7.3.  Backdoors

   If you have a door, you are admitting (sic) a weakness.  A closed
   door invites opening, and an open door invites ingress.  Security
   lies in bricks and mortar.

                                ____________
                               /            \
                              /  __________  \
                             /  /        _/\  \
                            |  /       _/   \  |
                            | |      _/      | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     | O      | |
                            | |     | .      | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |___     | |
                            | |         \____| |

               Figure 12: A Backdoor Left Conveniently Open

8.  Manageability Considerations

   Some of the wild beasts depicted in this tome are best confined to a
   managerie.

9.  Morality Considerations

   In accordance with advice offered in [RFC4041], this section
   considers the impact of this document on the public morals.

   It is still the view of popular opinion and can be verified by
   reliable metrics that moral values are declining and that degeneracy
   is on the rise.  One has only to look at the apostasy surrounding the
   True Use of Language as set forth in RFC 2119 [RFC2119] to know that
   the populace has become truly debauched.

9.1.  Likelihood of Misuse by the Depraved

   Care must be taken lest ASCII fall into the hands of disreputable
   characters.

Top      ToC       Page 15 
9.2.  Likelihood of Misuse by the Misguided

   We should warn our children against engraving self-portraits in
   ASCII-art and sharing them with their friends as woodcuts or in other
   modern media.  Recall that a picture, once made, lasts forever.

9.3.  Likelihood of Misuse by Corporations

   The very idea that someone might patent unicorn DNA is, of course,
   unthinkable.  Large companies only have our best interests at heart.

9.4.  Oversight Facilities

   Adequate oversight of all things is performed by the RFC Editor.  Who
   has a higher moral compass or a better sense of directional values?

9.5.  Other Ways of Doing Things

   Radical and subversive cliques, such as that established by the
   heretics, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, may also be represented in
   ASCII art.  However, doing so will, in almost every case, exceed the
   72 character width limit used by all right-thinking people and must,
   therefore, be avoided by all who do not wish to be doomed to spend
   eternity in a dark corner with only dial-up access.

9.6.  Concern for Wildlife

   Never was a truer word spoken than when it was said that a duck may
   be somebody's mother.  See also Section 4.2

10.  References That May Be Informative to Those Who Know How To
     Read Them

   [MTFTW]    Farrel, A., "More Tales From The Wood", 2016.

   [RFC1149]  Waitzman, D., "Standard for the transmission of IP
              datagrams on avian carriers", RFC 1149,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC1149, April 1990,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1149>.

   [RFC1925]  Callon, R., "The Twelve Networking Truths", RFC 1925,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC1925, April 1996,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1925>.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

Top      ToC       Page 16 
   [RFC2795]  Christey, S., "The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)",
              RFC 2795, DOI 10.17487/RFC2795, April 2000,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2795>.

   [RFC4041]  Farrel, A., "Requirements for Morality Sections in Routing
              Area Drafts", RFC 4041, DOI 10.17487/RFC4041, April 2005,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4041>.

   [RFC7399]  Farrel, A. and D. King, "Unanswered Questions in the Path
              Computation Element Architecture", RFC 7399,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7399, October 2014,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7399>.

   [RFC7990]  Flanagan, H., "RFC Format Framework", RFC 7990,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7990, December 2016,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7990>.

   [RFC7996]  Brownlee, N., "SVG Drawings for RFCs: SVG 1.2 RFC",
              RFC 7996, DOI 10.17487/RFC7996, December 2016,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7996>.

   [TFTW]     Farrel, A., "Tales From The Wood", 2015.

Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Wassily Kandinsky, Martin Luther, and Johannes Gutenberg
   for their help with this work.

   L. S. Lowry was not harmed in the production of this document.

   The work in Section 2.1 is based on an original lithograph by John De
   Scudder.

   Without the very existence of Madame Flanagan, it would not have been
   possible or necessary to compile this volume.

Author's Address

   Adrian Farrel
   Old Dog Consulting

   Email: adrian@olddog.co.uk