The stand on toes was, to the best of my knowledge , attributable to Dick
Hamming who said roughly
Mathematician said he stood on the shoulders of the great mathematicians
that proceeded him, in Computer Science we stand of the toes of those who
Bob Hinden wrote:
as bernard pointed out a while ago, the lack of a review of, and
reference to, the [should be] known literature is notable in many
classes of ietf work and an embarrassing number of internet
... and email messages, to wit:
I think the expression that applies to parts of the IETF community is
something like, instead of standing on the shoulders of those who have
come before us, we stand on their toes....
p.s. I am not the originator of this phrase, but can't remember where I
heard it first.
Pygmies placed on the shoulders of giants see more than the giants themselves.
Roman poet Marcus Lucan, 63AD.
The "toes" part is implied (as an alternative) in the more
frequently-cited variant from Isaac Newton:
If I have seen further [than certain other men]
it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.
Letter to Robert Hooke, February 5, 1675.
(FWIW, the "toes" part doesn't have specific origin in any of the 'usual'
references, or even via Google. In the spirit of collaboration, I invite
others to help search for that more exact citation.)
An interesting variants, esp. in the context of the IETF, IMO:
If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on