My thoughts on reading the IPv6 H/H Option discussion:
Some technical decisions about the Internet protocol suite are
more important that others. Decisions about application-layer
issues are of course important to particular segments of the
community and industry, but decisions that impinge on the
fundamental communication mechanism of the Internet are
critical to us all. Such decisions must be made very, very
carefully, with considerable care and not a little wisdom.
History has established the IETF as the body responsible for
decisions about the fundamental structure of the Internet.
W3C certainly can set standards at the application layer,
for example, but decisions about the waist of the "hour
glass" belong in the IETF. We need to take this
responsibility seriously, and waste less time on lawyering
You cannot provide "adult supervision" over the Internet
protocol suite with a committee of 2000 people; you have
to delegate a major responsibility to a small group of
technical experts. Technocratic democracy is fine up to
a point, but ...
After Kobe, the IETF established the IESG and IAB as twin
oversight bodies with some responsibility to look after
the overall technical health of the Internet, especially
the important parts. As a member of the RFC Editor team,
I have had the privilege to sitting in IESG meetings now
and then, and I know from that experience that the IESG
takes this responsibility very, very seriously, as they
It is true that the IETF has no strict control over what bits
people choose to put into IP headers, but in fact we have a lot
of influence. We can bring quite a bit of informal pressure
against renegade (from our viewpoint) companies or bodies. For
example, the Host Requirements RFCs successfully deprecated and
effectively eliminated a number of technical deviations. So
the registration process is important and gives us some
leverage, as long as we continue to act as adults.
I agree with the comments made by Joel Halpern yesterday.
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