The RPC call message has three unsigned integer fields -- remote program number, remote program version number, and remote procedure number -- which uniquely identify the procedure to be called. Program numbers are administered by a central authority (firstname.lastname@example.org). Once implementors have a program number, they can implement their remote program; the first implementation would most likely have the version number 1. Because most new protocols evolve, a version field of the call message identifies which version of the protocol the caller is using. Version numbers enable support of both old and new protocols through the same server process.
The procedure number identifies the procedure to be called. These numbers are documented in the specific program's protocol specification. For example, a file service's protocol specification may state that its procedure number 5 is "read" and procedure number 12 is "write".
Just as remote program protocols may change over several versions, the actual RPC message protocol could also change. Therefore, the call message also has in it the RPC version number, which is always equal to two for the version of RPC described here.
The reply message to a request message has enough information to distinguish the following error conditions: