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RE: Some Questions to S/MIME

2000-07-26 11:59:15
The delay is not unusual and is a consequence of the IETF process and
the IETF principle that standards should describe actual practice and

Unlike other standards bodies, the IETF requires that implementations be
deployed before recognizing a protocol as a 'standard'. Thus an IETF
protocol typically becomes a standard some years AFTER it has been in
common use. In the case of HTTP (the Web) this process took seven years.

In other standards bodies development only starts after the standard has
been fully agreed and approved. This approach is not a very good one
since it is almost always desirable to modify the specification in the
light of implementation experience.

In essence the IETF approach is more like the Noble prizes, you get one
after everyone has agreed that you have done the work and established a
standard. The other body appears to regard agreement of standard as if
it were the award of a building permit.

The next significant event in the S/MIME standards track progress will
be the promotion to Draft status. This is a highly technical process
that involves a lot of input from implementors of the protocol. Before
this can take place however all the standards that S/MIME references
must also progress to draft standard status.

In the meantime products based on the S/MIME v3 protocol and designed to
interoperate with it are already available. In that sense S/MIME is
quite clearly a 'standard' as the IETF defines it. Unfortunately it will
take a while for the paperwork to catch up.


-----Original Message-----
From: Baumgart, Ralf [mailto:Ralf(_dot_)Baumgart(_at_)commerzbank(_dot_)com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2000 7:41 AM
To: 'ietf-smime(_at_)imc(_dot_)org'
Subject: Some Questions to S/MIME

Dear sirs,

the Commerzbank, a big bank in Germany, is evaluating S/MIME. We were
astonished that S/MIME V.3 became a proposed standard in July 1999. Now
year later nothing happens (on your imc-Web Sites). So our questions is,
what could happened in the next six months: Will the proposed standard
become a standard? What avtivities are proposed? 

with best regards
ralf baumgart
Commerzbank AG
Abteilung ZIT P 3.53 Email/Web
60261 Frankfurt/Main
email: ralf(_dot_)baumgart(_at_)commee

Attachment: smime.p7s
Description: S/MIME cryptographic signature

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