[Top] [All Lists]

Re: Has IANA gone mad?

2004-07-23 20:59:54

ned(_dot_)freed(_at_)mrochek(_dot_)com wrote:

There are drafts and then there are drafts. Referencing a random draft
that Joe Blow put out there is one thing, referencing a draft that has been
approved for publication as an RFC is quite another. An approved draft in
effect _is_ a standard; it just hasn't completed the publication process yet.

From the point of view of being able to say RFC NNNN section W.X.Y.Z says
foo is prohibited/required, a draft is a draft and there is no RFC until
there is an assigned RFC number.

I note in passing that it is easy to determine the status of any draft;
this is what the datatracker is for.

I have no idea who this Darth Racker person is :-).  I know about the
rfc-index on the ftp site.  If RFC 3232 hadn't superseded
the Assigned Numbers RFC with the IANA web-based "database" that prompted
this discussion, I'd still be checking RFC XX00 (RFC 1700 successor)
for the relevant assigned numbers.  I haven't looked at the IESG home
page in probably a year or more -- why should I; I haven't seen any RFC
listed in the rfc-index declaring the rfc-index obsolete.

so if you're going to get tense about stuff changing on you,
you'd best not touch anything that hasn't made it to standard status.

Change isn't the problem, it's having (or not having) a stable
document which can be referenced w.r.t. specific requirements and/or
prohibitions (recommendations, etc.). Since "published RFCs never
change" (except when they're revised via errata), an RFC may be
referenced, whereas referring to a draft is verboten.  To give
more perspective on the situation, I have no problem in referring
to 30-year-old RFCs where appropriate (it is occasionally necessary
to read old email, for example) with confidence that the referenced
RFC hasn't changed since publication (modulo published errata), and
that the referenced RFC is available to anybody who cares to refer to
it (modulo hard disk crashes at ISI).

I see nothing unusual about it, nor do I see any problem with such an
implementation being based on an approved draft.

Until publication, there's no RFC number to refer to.  And the draft is
ephemeral; it is (theoretically) removed after 6 months.  A  validating
parser validates according to a collection of specifications and in
the event of a violation of some provision, it is desirable (to say the
least) to refer to the particular specification which applies. For example,
while RFC 2822 has no requirement w.r.t. the number of message header fields
specifying recipients, RFCs 822, 733, and 724 do/did require at least one of
To, Cc, or Bcc header fields. And as you know, MIME message/rfc822 has
yet a different set of requirements.  It does no good (ignoring the prohibition
against referring to drafts for the moment) to refer to draft-foo-bar-baz-MM
as a specification, not only because that specification might change, but
also because it may be unavailable in future to those who wish to consult
that reference.

First, draft-ietf-impp-cpim-msgfmt-08.txt was approved as a proposed standard
back in October, 2003. (I again note that you could have determined this by
checking the datatracker.)

Again, I know nothing about "datatracker", and judging by recent comments
here, I'm not the only one. [And putting a link on some obscure web page isn't
likely to change that.]  If the draft was approved, what is its RFC

Drafts approved for publication do not expire; the
notion that this registration was based on a draft that has now expired is
totally  bogus.

So drafts expire after six months except when they don't. Okaaaaay...
And when something suddenly appears in the IANA registry with no reference
in the rfc-index, all there is is (maybe) some draft which nobody is
supposed to refer to because "drafts are not standards".  No RFC number to
refer to.

Second, this document is currently in 48 hour author review (a fact you could
have easily determined by checking the RFC Editor queue), so its publication 

I see no mention of any "queue" in the rfc-index. And today, well over 48
hours after your message, I still see no RFC corresponding to either the
CPIM or msgtrk drafts in the latest rfc-index.  So not only do we apparently
have a different concept of "fairly short order", but also of "48 hours"
and/or "imminent".

If the trend you refer to is the immediate appearance of IANA registrations of
stuff that appears in approved drafts, it is a trend I for one would love to
see continue, regardless of the time it takes for the drafts the registry
refers to to complete the publication process.

The trend is the departure from the situation prior to the discontinuation
of the Assigned Numbers RFC, where the assigned numbers could be easily
referenced back to a published RFC.   The change to a web-based conglomeration
has happened, and I have adapted -- despite many seemingly irrelevant changes
to formatting, inconsistencies (text files for some items, HTML for others,
etc.), spurious changes to the modification dates with no substantive change
to the content, etc.  However, the appearance of registered magic "numbers"
prior to publication of an RFC that can be referenced is a great departure
from the situation that existed when the Assigned Numbers RFC was periodically

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>