Originally, someone asked:
% How does adding a downref to a dead document add more
% integrity to the RFC process?
On Mon, 05 Mar 2007 12:39:35 -0500
John C Klensin <john-ietf at jck.com> wrote:
> Independent of the merits in this particular case, it provides
> history and context. We have learned, or should have learned,
> two things over and over again:
> (1) Failure to provide context and a track through
> rejected and alternative suggestions results in "new"
> proposals to try the same things again, usually from
> people who had no idea about the prior work.
> (2) Providing good documentation that recognizes the
> origins of an idea and its date, even if there were some
> changes from the original version, can be very helpful
> in defending our work against patent vultures who try to
> make filings on work that the IETF has had under
> development for some time. Personally, I've reached the
> point that I would favor having most protocol
> specification RFCs contain a sentence of the form of
> "The work described here derives from a series of
> earlier drafts, including [ref, ref, ref] the first of
> which was circulated in 1968."
> In addition, in the general case, it can be argued that
> referencing prior work, even "dead drafts" is _required_ by the
> obligation to recognize and acknowledge the involvement of
> contributors of either ideas or text.
On Mon, 05 Mar 2007, Steve Bellovin responded:
And John's reasons above are PRECISELY why there is a longish
list of acknowledgements in (at least) the earlier IPsec documents.
ESP itself was a very direct derivative of the DoD SP3D protocol,
as folks familiar with SP3D likely saw immediately, and ESP
was NOT derived from any other protocol, but a long list of other
related work relating to IP-layer security in one way or another
(all of which was LATER than the SP3D work) was also mentioned
in those IPsec RFCs.
The practice of broadly referencing prior work in the topic area,
even if not directly ancestral to the specification at hand,
really does help quash bogon IPR claims that might arise later.
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