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Citation needed[edit]

There's been a minor revert skirmish going on regarding the citation tag for why RS-232 has died out on the desktop. While I agree with User:Andy Dingley that it is indeed self-evident that USB has replaced RS-232, I also think it's fair for somebody to ask for a citation. Citing reliable, authoritative sources is one of the WP:FIVEPILLARS we work under. To blow off a citation request with it is self-evident gets us perilously close to WP:OR: I don't have to prove this because everybody knows it's true.

In addition, there are a number of things being asserted in that paragraph. Not just that USB has pushed RS-232 off the desktop, but a specific list of reasons why. Those are worth validating. Moving somewhat further away from the original topic, I also think a discussion of the RS-232 -> USB evolution should also include mention of other technologies that were tried along the way, such as Apple Desktop Bus.

-- RoySmith (talk) 13:47, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi everyone, I'm the editor who first added the citation tag yesterday. User:RoySmith echoed my thoughts exactly. While I think that User:RoySmith's justification is sufficient on its own, I should also divulge that I added the citation tag because after reading why RS-232 has disappeared, I simply wanted another link to follow. In essence, I want us to find a reference that substantiates the claims we make on the wiki page, and also provides an avenue for the interested in order to continue researching.
-- Mmpozulp (talk) 16:38, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Drs. Horowitz and Hill discuss this even in the 2nd edition and I imagine the lnog awaited 3rd ed. of "Art of Electronics" will describe it in detail. But by all means let's leave the useless tag in there because someone is bound to document it some day. --Wtshymanski (talk) 22:06, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
A (completely cited) discussion of the evoloution of computer serial ports is off-topic for this article, whcih is about one standard. --Wtshymanski (talk) 22:07, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

The main problem here is that there seems to be a disparrity between what is being challenged and what some users think is being challenged and possible even reality! That the RS-232 is not found on modern PCs but that USB is is not in doubt and such a statement would not require a citation (See WP:BLUE). Even Andy Dingley stated in his edit summary that: the disappearance of the RS-232 is self evident - I don't think any of us can argue with that. But that is not what the section of the article says. It states that the slow speed, (relatively) high voltages and size of connector of RS-232 motivated the development of USB. As a claim, that requires a citation. But one will not be found because it is not true. It is true that those characteristics motivated the development of faster interfaces which eventually resulted in the USB, but the developmental route was not a direct one.

The motivation behind the development of USB was to develop a much lower cost version of the (then) up and coming Firewire (which became IEEE-1394) serial interface. Firewire had (and still has) a few problems. It is limited to just 64 devices on any bus (including any host port); only one of the (then) 3 available speeds can be used on any bus system; the communicating speeds were considered excessive for most real applications of the time and (the biggest motivator) the licensing cost of producing port chips was considered excessive (at well over 50 USD per chip set) - this last part is no longer as true as it used to be. USB was developed as a low cost version of Firewire that addressed all of the above points to a greater or lesser extent.

USB was never developed as a replacement for RS-232. Indeed, for a surprisingly long time, the two co-existed on computer motherboards side by side. Few owners of one of the original Pentium series based PCs would have been aware that there was a fully functional USB port on the motherboard along with the RS-232 ports. It was by now a standard port on the Northbridge chips, but at this stage, the header on the motherboard was seldom (if ever) connected to a physical port on the outside of the box. This was not an issue because the version of Windows that shipped with these machines (usually 3.1 or 3.11) did not have any support for USB. It was the Pentium II motherboards that first had an externally accesible USB port, and most now had a root hub to make 2 accesible ports (and they still had a pair of RS-232 ports). Windows 95 was the first version of Windows that provided support for USB - for one device only and then only if you could find a W95 driver.

The Pentium III motherboards were the first to feature fully useable USB ports as they were fully supported by Windows 98. Those RS-232 ports were still there though but mainly because there were still hardly any peripheral devices equipped with USB ports. There was a surge of peripheral devices once operating system support was available and Pentium 4 based motherboards finally dropped RS-232 ports (though they still could be added as expansion cards or even using RS-232 to USB converters - the later still an option today). These last motherboards started to implement the high speed USB standard.

Having said all of that: Wtshymanski is correct that a history of evolution of serial communication is off topic for this article, but a brief discussion of the demise of the RS-232 port and the reasons behind it is quite acceptable. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 12:48, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Just to make it quite plain here, I removed your tag solely because it was a tag that Wtshymanski had first removed and I saw your action (for an article where you had no recent edits) as being more about Wtshymanski and less about RS-232.
Now, as is very well known, my idea of a fun day out with the kids is dancing around the flayed corpse of Wtshymanski as some sort of grisly wiki-maypole, but let's reserve that sort of fun for when he actually deserves it. Neither RS-232 no longer being around on the desktop, nor cos phi>1, are justifiable reasons for kicking off yet another edit war with the same parties. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:12, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Nope. I restored the tag because the statement that it was requesting a citation for was patently false given how long the USB and RS-232 ports survived along side each other. And in case you missed it: I actually agreed with Wtshymanski in my last paragraph above. It does happen from time to time. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 13:32, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Nominated for WP:LAME. <Rolls eyes> CombatWombat42 (talk) 15:29, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I just checked again and no you have not. What is so lame about challenging a statement that just is not true? You may also want to find out what edit warring is before throwing mallicious allegations around. Since I only made 1 (one) edit reverting the tag, it doesn't remotely qualify as edit warring. (My second edit where I merely added the reason to an already existing {cn} tag is not edit warring either). DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 17:03, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
As no actual nomination has been made, it is hard to understand why you regard this as lame. What has been posted above seems a reasonable argument (admittedly very long - but reasonable). I have no idea if the USB port was developed to replace the RS-232, but now it has been mentioned, the two certainly coexisted for some time so it is a logical conclusion (in fact my older laptop has two of each). Now we just need that all important reference to settle this either way. (talk) 17:44, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Here is one: [1]. It makes no mention of a design goal to replace the RS-232 port, but says that, "[The USB] was originally developed in 1995, to minimize the number of ports in the back of the PC." and, "The major goal of USB was to define an external expansion bus which makes adding peripherals to a PC low cost and as easy as hooking up a telephone to a wall-jack" (my emphasis). It also says that seven industry leading companies were "Frustrated by Apples (sic) royalty fees on firewire devices" so at least that bit was right (I might have guessed it was Apple). On this basis I propose deletion of the offending claim or at least a reword to bring it line with reality.
How about something along the lines of, "The difficulty of configuring an RS-232 interface motivated development of faster serial interfaces that were easy to use and were also able to interface with more than one peripheral device on the same port. This culminated in the development of the USB port which slowly displaced the RS-232 port from personal computers." [Cite the above for the less obvious bits. No one seems to be challenging that the RS-232 was displaced, but if anyone wants to be pedantic, I'm certain a citation exists.]. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 18:29, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I think you have established your argument. Since you are deleting a contentious claim (unsupported by cite and not mentioned in your cite) and substituting material with more citable provenance, I would say go for it. It has to be an improvement. Another editor has already conceded that the fact that the RS-232 port has been displaced is established enough not to require a cite, but you never know, there are pedants around. (talk) 18:47, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I was mostly making a sarcastic comment so people would take a step back and really look at what you are arguing about. Take a fresh look at it. Certanly as you say " What has been posted above seems a reasonable argument" and it the original statment does deserve citation. Is it really worth caring about whether USB was a direct descendant of RS-232 or more of a generic evolution of pheriferal busses? It certanly dosn't matter to me so I consider arguing about it in any way WP:LAME. CombatWombat42 (talk) 18:32, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Real world RS-232 image.[edit]

I added back the RS-232 scope capture back into the image. I consider it important because it show the real world effect of thinks like noise, rise time and ringing. As far as I remember RS-232 does not define voltage or timing characteristics so this image could be considered misleading, but I consider it a valuble addition to the article. CombatWombat42 (talk) 15:12, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

OK fair comment, I only picked the one I left because it was simpler, but no matter. I have therefore deleted the other image, because they are dual redundant and it shows nothing of substance not contained in the other. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 16:50, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I apologies for my dual revert, but I truly beleive providing two views of the waveform is important. Having the ability to side by side compare the optimal to the actual is what I was asking for, I wasn't particularly clear on that. If you feel strongly the other way please revert one of my reverts, but when I was learning electronics it was very important to have them side by side. CombatWombat42 (talk) 16:53, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, I take your second point. I don't quite understand the point about a software engineer needing the first image. A software engineer will just write the code for K to the appropriate register of the UART, and if anything else comes out, it is not his problem. I do, however, still feel that the two illustrations are just showing the waveform (ideal or real) that emerges when the letter 'K' is sent over an RS-232 line. Let's see if anyone else has any views. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 17:00, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think both views are necessary, and if we must have one of them, I would prefer to see the idealized one here. It's certainly true that when you're learning how to build or use interface chips you need to be aware that the signals on the real hardware won't be idealized, but that isn't the subject of this article; that's more in the signal processing realm, transmission lines, etc. For that matter, the only thing in either picture that's really covered by the TIA-232-F standard would be the voltage levels and (for the scope photo) the rise times. (The diagram is wrong when it comes to rise times; it shows them as very slow.) The standard does not and has never addressed start bits, stop bits, bit timing, etc. Maybe the diagram belongs better in the Asynchronous serial communication article? As for the scope photo, it's bordering on wp:OR. Jeh (talk) 20:28, 5 February 2014 (UTC)


The DE 9 pinout still isn't in the standard. It shouldn't be in this article, which is about the EIA/TIA standard. The article has lots of pointers to the IBM AT pinout. --Wtshymanski (talk) 15:11, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

The archived discussion is here. Consensus was to not have the DE-9 info in this article. DE-9 serial ports are certainly related to RS-232, accordingly, the DE-9 info is in the Serial port article, which is linked from here by an {{about}} at the top of the page. Jeh (talk) 15:44, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Two people does not make consensus. Since there are obviously at least two people that disagree with your assesment, (, That said, I was under the impression that the one with the DB-9 connector was the one that had been up for a while. It is not, so I was mistaken to restore it untill the discussion had been had.
I beleve that having the DB-9 info on this page is valuble as it is a defacto standard and it is not missleading to have it there. CombatWombat42 (talk) 15:56, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
What you would find valuable is an WP:ILIKEIT argument.
de facto standards are one thing. The Serial port article covers the ones that are relevant, including DE-9, in great detail. It's linked from here. This article covers the actual RS-232 standard. You can't possibly verify that the DE-9 connector is described in the RS-232 standard.
Regarding consensus, consensus on WP is not reached by voting, and a discussion does not have to have some minimum number of people in it for the result to be considered "consensus." Consensus is reached when valid arguments based on WP policies (like verifiability) are presented, and the other side stops arguing and the article edits on that point stop... which is what happened before. Ergo, consensus was established. You are not presenting any arguments here that were not presented before. Jeh (talk) 16:33, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Consensus does require people agreing on your intrprtation of wikipdeia policy, which they clearly do not. you want a wikipdia policy to support my point: WP:IAR, will wikipeida be better with the DB-9 connection listed, YES.
Jeh, you could stand to be less arrogant, it would make me more likely to listen to you. CombatWombat42 (talk)
The DE 9 serial port pinout may be useful and valuable information, but it's not part of the RS 232 standard. Articles should be about their topics. Any associated or peripheral facts are only a mouse click away. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:45, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
DE-9 is already mentioned in the connectors section, with a second WL to the Serial port article. Why is this not sufficient? Jeh (talk) 18:00, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
As for WP:IAR, please read the essays linked from there. IAR is not there so you can ignore consensus and other WP policies and get your way despite everything else. Consider that even if you invoke IAR, nobody else here is obligated to do so. Jeh (talk) 18:22, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
What a bloody stupid bunch of reasoning. You two aren't worth the typing to argue with. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:35, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Andy, an article title like RS-232 is extremely specific. It's the name (or the WP:COMMONNAME of a standard. The article lede says the article is about the standard. I see nothing wrong with constraining its content to be equally specific. (By my opinion it should really be called TIA-232-F, but WP:COMMONNAME overrules. Rather than invoke IAR, I simply make sure that such pages exist as redirects to here.) It would be misleading to have a description of the DE-9 serial port pinout in an article about the RS-232 standard, as that information is not in the standard. But that information is not being excluded from Wikipedia! Indeed, we already have the article CombatWombat42 wants; it's called Serial port. Again I ask: Why is that not sufficient? At one point this article had essentially the same table (except for edits since then) of "every serial port pinout ever invented that anyone can find a reference for, and some others too" that the Serial port article does. Was that really an improvement? Jeh (talk) 19:35, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to agree that the DE-9 information should not be in this article, — Preceding unsigned comment added by EE JRW (talkcontribs) 22:45, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
(Oops, pressed the save button instead of the preview above) I'm going to agree that the DE-9 information should not be in this article, RS-232 is for a D-sub, B sized shell 25-pin connector and an alternate 26-pin connector. Putting the 9-pin connector information in this article implies that the DE-9 is part of the standard. I have no problem with the DE-9 information being in the catch-all serial port article, but I think that the proper place for this information is the TIA-574 article, (which does not currently exist). That would document the information where it is actually defined, not in a place where it is not defined.
A couple of my personal peeves (and yes, I know that these make me an anal retentive personality) are calling the DE-9 connector a DB-9 connector. While you'll find references to the DB-9 all over, the DB-9 is actually a mythical creation. (some day, just for fun, I'm going to generate an image of what a DB-9 would really look like) No manufacturer makes such a screw balled contraption. The second peeve is calling the 9-pin serial port of the IBM PC-AT an "RS-232" port. The voltage levels are typically interchangeable and the connector can be adapted to work with an RS-232 port, but they are not the same thing. A third peeve is the assumption that a "RS-232" port has to use async start-stop ASCII (AKA a UART). The bit protocol is not part of the standard regardless of how many people think it is. A consensus is meaningless for this. Get a copy of the standard and tell me where it talks about the 9-pin connector or bit protocols and I will humbly apologize, but I've read the standard numerous times and have never seen either. Having information in the RS-232 article implying an incorrect assumption simply furthers the folklore surrounding RS-232. EE JRW (talk) 23:15, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I do have a copy of the standard. I made the point about async character framing, bit ordering, etc., let alone details of character encoding like ASCII, not being in the standard, here. Re connectors, I think there is nothing wrong with mentioning that alternate connectors exist (indeed, the standard only "recommends" DB-25, it is not mandatory), and we already do that. But as that is the only connector whose pinout can be referenced to the standard, that is the only one whose pinout should be listed here. Jeh (talk) 23:23, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not surprised that you have a copy of the standard since you're arguing to keep the article based on what's in the standard. While I don't chip in very often, I've been following several of these "RS" standards pages for a while. I realize that most of this has already been discussed.
I goofed and clicked the save button instead of the show preview button, then madly typed the rest of wanted to say instead of taking my time and making what I wanted to say clear. My apologies if I implied that no one else had made the point about the bit protocol. Actually my apologies to anyone who did not like what I wrote. I am not looking to start a fight, I was just adding my opinion. In hindsight, I should have reverted and taken my time re-typing my 2 cents worth, but I didn't and what's done is done. I also note that you are using the term DE-9 and not triggering one of my pet peeves. I also have the same problem as you with the title of RS-232 instead of TIA-232, but I've had that discussion on another "RS" talk page. I'm basically agreeing with you and Wtshymanski about the DE-9 connector. The main point I was trying to make is that the DE-9 connector is a standard (TIA-574, which I do not have). The connector should be documented under TIA-574. This would require someone (preferably one of those wanting to add the "DB-9" connector to the RS-232 article) to create a TIA-574 page. Then, they can add whatever they desired to that page instead of adding it to a page where it does not belong. For any one interested in creating this page, finding information about this standard from TIA can be difficult. Try going to and searching for TIA-574. There is a description which would be a good starting point.
Finally, the connector. You say that standard only recommends the DB-25 connector. Again, I'm not looking for a fight, but I don't see this. Section 3.1 states "A 25-position connector is the normal connector specified for all interchange circuits. An alternative 26-position connector (ALT A) is specified for use when a smaller physical connector is required." Can you tell me where the standard says the DB-25 connector is only recommended? EE JRW (talk) 01:59, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Re DE-9, I was one of the chief arguers who got these articles to stop using the "DB-9" term, with several cites to manufacturers' and suppliers' catalogs. (I think it was in the talk page for D-subminiature but it's not important enough to go check right now.)
Re "recommended", I confess I didn't look that up when I wrote that. Can't remember where I got it.
I doubt we really need an entire page just for TIA-574. That standard is referenced from Serial port, I think that is sufficient.
Would you mind using conventional paragraph formatting? br's create a wall-of-text effect. Your post here was very difficult to read because of that. Jeh (talk) 02:36, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
A page for TIA-574 may not be needed, but my opinion is that the standard for a "9-Position Non-Synchronous Interface Between Data Terminal Equipment and Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment Employing Serial Binary Data Interchange" is the proper place to document the 9-pin serial port connector. On the other hand, I'm not going to create another page until I purchase the standard and get enough free time to work on it. That's not likely to be soon.
Using your post as an example, I'm using multiple colons instead of br's. I don't see the difference with Firefox, but if that's the convention then that's what I'll do. I'm still learning this whole Wikipedia thing :). Thanks for the pointer. EE JRW (talk) 14:41, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

"Recommended Standard" 232[edit]

I've heard that the RS stands for Recommended Standard but didn't see anything about that in the article. If this is true, it'd be neat to provide a little background on why it's still only "recommended". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Niedzielski (talkcontribs) 05:23, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

The standard is not simply "Recommended". RS-232 was obsoleted many years ago. The proper name for this article is TIA-232-F, but as is discussed above by Jeh, WP:COMMONNAME overrules. What it comes down to is that everyone calls it "RS-232" even though that title isn't correct. This has been discussed in other RS articles Talk:RS-485#RS_vs._EIA_vs._TIA and the agreement has been to keep the RS name as the title.
RS does stand for Recommended Standard, and the EIA link has this information. Other RS articles discuss this in the article. RS-485, RS-485 Technical Manual This RS-232 article does not.
So the question becomes, should this information be added to every RS article? That answer I don't have.
EE JRW (talk) 14:35, 8 August 2015 (UTC)