On Jun 26, 2010, at 12:56 AM, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
The fact remains that RFC 821 has the STANDARD imprimatur and the better
specification that was intended to replace it does not.
Yes, but most of the RFC repositories, including
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc821 show "Obsoleted by: 2821" right there at the
top next to the word "STANDARD". Anyone looking at this RFC now (as opposed to
10 years ago) would immediately know that while this *was* a standard, it is
This raises another question. What does "obsolete" mean? RFC 821 and RFC 2821
describe the same standard. Upgrading implementations to comply with RFC 2821
was not supposed to break any connectivity. They describe the same protocol, so
unless you are interoperating with a peer that implemented some deprecated
features, you're good. OTOH, looking at RFC 2409, it says that RFC 4306
obsoletes it. But RFC 2409 is IKEv1, while RFC 4306 is IKEv2. If you had
upgraded an implementation to comply with RFC 4306 *instead of* RFC 2409 in
2005, you would not be able to finish an IKE exchange at all. If you need to
implement IKEv1 (that is still much more widely used than IKEv2), the RFC to
look at is 2409, not 4306. IMO this is a totally different meaning of
It seems pretty basic to me that when you declare a document Obsolete it
should lose its STANDARD status. But under the current system that does not
It's true that under the current system RFCs never change. Even advancing them
to a higher level gives them a different number.
This situation has gone on now for 15 years. Why would anyone bother to put
time an effort into progressing documents along the three step track when
most of the documents at the highest rank are actually obsolete?
I don't think there's any incentive to do so. RFC 4478 has been at
"Experimental" for 4 years, with at least 3 independent implementations. But
when I thought it was time to advance it to PS, I was told (by an AD) "why
bother?". It certainly didn't stop implementers from implementing it.
Also, it seems that in the last 4 years, the IETF has published only 3 full
standards, 18 draft standards, and 740 proposed standards. I think this tells
us that there is very little incentive for advancing a standard.
What does STANDARD actually mean if the document it refers to is quite likely
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