Re: email-arch intro
On 5/14/09 at 3:11 PM -0700, David MacQuigg wrote:
On 5/14/09 Pete Resnick wrote:
We want the architecture to be prescriptive insofar as *any* IETF
document is prescriptive in that it helps interoperability.
My first reaction to Pete's intro was - Yea, that's great, says it
all. Now I'm not sure what it means. Upon careful reading, it
looks like it is intending to protect protocols and implementations
(but not anything else) from anyone wanting to wield this document
as a "club". Why not just say "This document is intended to
describe a complex real-world system, and provide a model and
terminology that will improve our understanding of that system. It
is not intended to add additional requirements to regular IETF
standards, or enforce conformity in any way." If the model is
useful, as I believe it is, it will be widely used. If not, it
won't become an impediment to development of other models.
What I worry about is a document like this becoming a basis for
obstructive arguments over terminology. I would like to say in some
future discussion - "Let's use the terminology from RFC-<whatever
number it gets assigned>, but with the following differences:" Then
add a few definitions appropriate to the topic at hand.
So, I'm going to try and split a relatively fine hair here, so bear with me:
- I *don't* want this document to be used as a club against
well-established (and well-understood) protocols. To use a personal
favorite example, RFC 5321 and current implementations have a lot of
"nuance" when it comes to address correction , forwarding, aliasing,
etc. Some examples are "ReSender", or "Gateway", or "Alias", or
"Mailing List" from email-arch, and some simply don't fit cleanly in
one of those architectural categories. However, RFC 5321 explains how
implementations are to deal with each of them and describes the edge
cases. It is not reasonable to say, "RFC 5321 must be corrected so
that it agrees with the architecture down to the last detail." Where
they disagree, the protocol with the explanation wins the day.
- I *do* want this document to be used as a club against proposed
protocols, especially when they have no implementation base, if those
protocols differ significantly from the architecture *without any
explanation*. When someone comes along and writes a protocol or
implementation that assumes that the RFC5321.MailFrom is the author
of the text of the message, I want to be able to say, "Look dude!
That's not what RFC5321.MailFrom is for. Go read the bloody
architecture and get your mind right, or give me a long interesting
explanation about how the state of the world you live in is different
than what the architecture says and convince me that your use is
The architecture will develop, it will be refined over time, and it
ought to be prescriptive for how to write an interoperable protocol
in the land of email. That sounds to me like a standards-track
document. But like everything else we do here (unlike some other
standards organizations we all know and love), there are going to be
rough edges in both protocols and architectures that make them not
completely align. That's OK. We like rough edges.
That's what I'm hoping that intro expresses.
Pete Resnick <http://www.qualcomm.com/~presnick/>
Qualcomm Incorporated - Direct phone: (858)651-4478, Fax: (858)651-1102