From: Bob Braden <braden(_at_)ISI(_dot_)EDU>
Subject: Re: An Internet Draft as reference material
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 15:34:50 GMT
The RFC series has long been THE archival series for the Internet. To
avoid Internet Drafts becoming another archival series, thus creating
great confusion, the IETF has chosen to make Internet Draft ephemeral,
timing out after 6 months. Indeed, that is why they are called
The intent is that when good & useful information and ideas are
published in Internet Drafts, they should become Informational RFCs if
they merit preservation and referencing.
A Working Group sometimes accumulates a froth of subsidiary drafts with
information that is worth preserving, but ancilliary to the primary
standards-track work of the group. The chairs should take steps to
turn these into Informational RFCs. This was the case for the RSVP
working group, for example; I know of at least once such "left-over"
I-D that should have been published as Informational. It did not
happen because the working group chairs were tired; however, it was
their failure in this case. I expect that similar cases exist in other
It is precisely this mechanism that I am refering to and I was trying to point
out that it is being less used than what is possibly wise to do.
Naturally we should not overuse it either, since that would create an flood of
RFCs (and we now count less and less days between each new series of 100 RFCs)
and this is also not a good thing.
The concentration on getting new protocol specs out there tends to have us
forget these longer term issues.
As a thread of IDs is being terminated without having it progressing up the
standard track, it should be done with the question "Are we really sure there
is nothing in this work not worthy of an Informational RFC?". Used correctly it
could help to provide some of the missing pieces of the pussel. It is not a
full state dump we are doing, rather trying to save some fundamental
intermediate states which helps in restoration of history.
When IPv6 is going to be replaced, how many people will recall all the
background for the decissions made (good or bad, we don't know all of them
yeat)? How many will have the healt to even participate?
I think we have reason to consider how to deal with these issues and improve
the state-saving. Just look at the efforts to bring early (pre-RFC700) RFCs
So, lets ponder some over these issues and see if there is not something we can
do to improve the state of things.