From: Keith Moore [mailto:moore(_at_)cs(_dot_)utk(_dot_)edu]
there is one important class of bad ideas that doesn't go
away in IETF -- the class of bad ideas that is obviously bad
from a wider perspective but which looks good to a set of
people who are focused on a narrow problem. and in IETF what
we often do with those ideas is to protect them and encourage
development of them in isolation by giving them a working
group. we sometimes even write those groups' charters in
such a way as to discourage clue donation or discussion of
other ways of solving the problem.
That is a somewhat cynical way to describe IPSEC isn't it? Care to mention any
other groups that fit that description?
The IESG and the IETF in general has hardly demonstrated an infalible
understanding of what is and is not a bad idea, nor for that matter has anyone
else. This is a research area and there are plenty of areas where the great and
the good get it wrong.
Take Gopher for example, I remember the days when the assumption was that the
Web would merge into gopher rather than the other way round. After all the
Gopher people knew so much more about networking. Only they did not understand
the UI issue and it turned out thsat Tim had a much more powerful idea despite
not being an IETF longtimer.
My theory is that Vint and Jon set up the whole IETF infrastructure as a
Gordian knot test. Keep the systems safe from over tampering until someone
comes along who is decisive enough and addressing a need that is so urgent that
either the layers of obfustication will yield or they will snap.
No Keith, you are not Vint Cerf, or Tim Berners-Lee and neither is anyone else
here including me.
I know that folk focused on narrow problems have tended to come up with narrow
solutions. That is hardly suprising, the rules of engagement here prohibit the
discussion of the general.
Take DKIM for example we are about to discuss a one off policy language to
serve a single protocol, not because there is only a single protocol that
requires policy but because there are people in the establishment who tried
policy fifteen years ago, failled to solve the problem and have declared it
'insoluble'. There is also the problem of the other group who need s to be part
of the policy discussion which has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be
unwilling to listen to any outside view. Try to explain a problem to them and
its 'la la la I'm not listening'.
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