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bitfield diagram - interpretation welcomed!

Hi all,

A workmate was recently bitching to me about an RFC.

(Apologies - the RFC number eludes me at present (it's related to the
DIAMETER protocol, that's all I can remember) but I will try to find
out and update the thread.)

He was moaning how the RFC laid out the description of an 8-bit
field. According to him, the diagram was (fixed-width font required,
but it won't really matter, and I've omitted the schematic-like use of
-,| and + that the RFCs usually use):

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
F F X X X Y Y Y P

The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?

We work with network protocol specfications, so suffice to say this
lack of precision was surprising to him (and on his relaying the
story, is surprising to me). He has already found products during
interop testing with the two different interpretations.

This is apparently an early draft of the RFC, and he will be
requesting clarification, but I was wondering what your people's take
on it was? How would you intepret this?

Thanks in advance,
Doug

May 18 '07 #1
13 1677
On 18 May, 21:08, Doug <DougTheS...@googlemail.comwrote:

<snip>
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
F F X X X Y Y Y P
Ahem, please ignore the 'P'. 'P'retend it isn't there.

Thanks,
Doug

May 18 '07 #2
Ahem,

Please ignore me completely. The bitfield diagram appears within a
PDU diagram, the bit numbering is completely normal for an RFC.

My apologies for wasting your time and bandwidth.

Doug

May 18 '07 #3
In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
Doug <Do*********@googlemail.comwrote:
Hi all,
A workmate was recently bitching to me about an RFC.
(Apologies - the RFC number eludes me at present (it's related to the
DIAMETER protocol, that's all I can remember) but I will try to find
out and update the thread.)
He was moaning how the RFC laid out the description of an 8-bit
field. According to him, the diagram was (fixed-width font required,
but it won't really matter, and I've omitted the schematic-like use of
-,| and + that the RFCs usually use):
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
F F X X X Y Y Y P
The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

HTH

--
Mitch

te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.uk
www.sand-hill.freeserve.co.uk/terminal_crazy

May 18 '07 #4
On 18 May, 21:43, Terminal Crazy <Terminal_Cr...@sand-
hill.freeserve.co.ukwrote:
In article <1179518886.836471.287...@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
Doug <DougTheS...@googlemail.comwrote:


Hi all,
A workmate was recently bitching to me about an RFC.
(Apologies - the RFC number eludes me at present (it's related to the
DIAMETER protocol, that's all I can remember) but I will try to find
out and update the thread.)
He was moaning how the RFC laid out the description of an 8-bit
field. According to him, the diagram was (fixed-width font required,
but it won't really matter, and I've omitted the schematic-like use of
-,| and + that the RFCs usually use):
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
F F X X X Y Y Y P
The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

HTH

--
Mitch
Hi Mitch,

Thanks for your reply.

Actually, in this case - and I thought the same as you when my
workmate described this to me - bit 0 in that diagram is actually the
MSB. The context I was missing (but have since found in a code
comment) is that it appears within an RFC digram of a PDU. These
diagrams assume 8 bit bytes, and are written left to right 0, 1,
2, ... usually to 32/64, so the diagram lines up nicely over multiple
rows. The numbering doesn't reflect the MSB/LSB ordering - the right-
most bit in each octet in the diagram is still the LSB.

Sorry for any confusion!

Thanks,
Doug

May 18 '07 #5
Terminal Crazy <Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
>The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.
Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.
--
Comp-sci PhD expected before end of 2007
Seeking industrial or academic position *outside California* in 2008
May 18 '07 #6
Ben Pfaff wrote, On 18/05/07 22:18:
Terminal Crazy <Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
>In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
>>The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?
It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.
It's not only IBM that use 0 as the MSB. To confuse things further I've
seen documents numbering bits from 1.

Moral of the story, always read the full specification and never assume
you know what it will say in advance.
--
Flash Gordon
May 18 '07 #7
Ben Pfaff wrote:
Terminal Crazy <Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
>In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
>>The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit
numbers in the diagram - increasing from left to right.
According to him, there was absolutely no description of what
this diagram meant. In other words, is the 0-bit in the diagram
the Most Significant Bit, or the Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.
Also the HP3000.

--
<http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt>
<http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/423>
<http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit043.html>
<http://kadaitcha.cx/vista/dogsbreakfast/index.html>
cbfalconer at maineline dot net

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

May 19 '07 #8

"CBFalconer" <cb********@yahoo.comwrote in message
news:46***************@yahoo.com...
Ben Pfaff wrote:
>Terminal Crazy <Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
>>In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,

The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit
numbers in the diagram - increasing from left to right.
According to him, there was absolutely no description of what
this diagram meant. In other words, is the 0-bit in the diagram
the Most Significant Bit, or the Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.

Also the HP3000.
Of course C was not the language of choice on the HP3000. :-)
May 19 '07 #9

"Ben Pfaff" <bl*@cs.stanford.eduwrote in message
news:87************@blp.benpfaff.org...
Terminal Crazy <Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
>In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
>>The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.
Which is precisely why the protocols are not defined based upon
the architecture of the transceivers. CBFalconer has stated below
that the HP3000 was "backward", but the network devices
connected to its system bus were not necessarily :-).
May 19 '07 #10
Barry wrote:
"Ben Pfaff" <bl*@cs.stanford.eduwrote in message
><Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
>><11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegrou ps.com>,

The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit
numbers in the diagram - increasing from left to right.
According to him, there was absolutely no description of what
this diagram meant. In other words, is the 0-bit in the
diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the Least Significant Bit?

It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.

Which is precisely why the protocols are not defined based upon
the architecture of the transceivers. CBFalconer has stated below
that the HP3000 was "backward", but the network devices
connected to its system bus were not necessarily :-).
This exchange illustrates NOT assuming message visibility. My
message hasn't even appeared here yet. I assume it will in a day
or two. :-(

--
<http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt>
<http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/423>
<http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit043.html>
<http://kadaitcha.cx/vista/dogsbreakfast/index.html>
cbfalconer at maineline dot net

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

May 19 '07 #11
Barry wrote:
>
"CBFalconer" <cb********@yahoo.comwrote in message
news:46***************@yahoo.com...
Ben Pfaff wrote:
[...]
>It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.

Most of the world agrees, but IBM mainframers number their bits
"backward", so that bit 0 is the MSB.
Also the HP3000.

Of course C was not the language of choice on the HP3000. :-)
My first exposure to computers was, I believe, an HP-3000. I forget
the exact model number. I never actually saw the machine, either,
as it was in some other city at the other end of a telephone line.
The only language we had access to was some primitive form of BASIC.

On the other hand, I still recall the login:

HELLO-B669,<password>

(I still use that password on some systems.)

--
+-------------------------+--------------------+-----------------------+
| Kenneth J. Brody | www.hvcomputer.com | #include |
| kenbrody/at\spamcop.net | www.fptech.com | <std_disclaimer.h|
+-------------------------+--------------------+-----------------------+
Don't e-mail me at: <mailto:Th*************@gmail.com>
May 21 '07 #12
Terminal Crazy <Te************@sand-hill.freeserve.co.ukwrites:
In article <11**********************@k79g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
Doug <Do*********@googlemail.comwrote:
>Hi all,
>A workmate was recently bitching to me about an RFC.
>(Apologies - the RFC number eludes me at present (it's related to the
DIAMETER protocol, that's all I can remember) but I will try to find
out and update the thread.)
>He was moaning how the RFC laid out the description of an 8-bit
field. According to him, the diagram was (fixed-width font required,
but it won't really matter, and I've omitted the schematic-like use of
-,| and + that the RFCs usually use):
>0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
F F X X X Y Y Y P
>The odd thing for him (and me) was the ordering of the bit numbers in
the diagram - increasing from left to right. According to him, there
was absolutely no description of what this diagram meant. In other
words, is the 0-bit in the diagram the Most Significant Bit, or the
Least Significant Bit?


It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.
Did you mean the least significant? Not so.

I came across some IBM stuff recently where bit 0 was the MSB. Really. I
was shocked.
May 21 '07 #13
Terminal Crazy wrote:
>
.... snip ...
>
It doesn't matter, bit 0 is always the lowest.
Except on machines where it isn't.

--
<http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt>
<http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/423>
<http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit043.html>
<http://kadaitcha.cx/vista/dogsbreakfast/index.html>
cbfalconer at maineline dot net

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

May 22 '07 #14

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