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[ietf-smtp] FWD: IETF Policy on dogfood consumption or avoidance - SMTP version

2019-12-15 15:24:48
In the likely event that not all readers of the ietf-smtp list
are following ietf(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org, I am forwarding the following for
your information.  People will do what they decide they need to
do, but my hope is that we can separate the discussions of what
5321 (or 5321bis) says or ought to say, technical issues with
error responses, etc., from questions about why the Secretariat
was told to reject IP literals,whether whatever process produced
those instructions is appropriate going forward and, if not, how
the relationships should be adjusted.

From my point of view, we should not ask the Secretariat to make
changes to the instructions they were given on the basis of
discussion on this list, even if a clear consensus emerges.
Instead, either whatever "leadership" decisions produced those
instructions need to change them or the IETF community needs to
fix those mechanisms.  Those issues are, IMO, a matter for the
IESG and the IETF list (or, if needed, late feedback to the


---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Date: Sunday, December 15, 2019 16:15 -0500
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf(_at_)jck(_dot_)com>
To: ietf(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org, iesg(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org
Subject: IETF Policy on dogfood consumption or avoidance - SMTP


It has long been my personal belief that, in its operation of
various of its own services on the Internet the IETF should
adhere closely to its own standards.  If we do not do so, we
lose all credibility in recommending to others that they follow
our standards.  This practice has been referred to in many
discussion threads over the years as "eating our own dog food".  

It has recently come to the attention of several of us, via an
extended discussion on the SMTP list, that the IETF email
servers are rejecting all SMTP connections whose EHLO commands
contain IP address literals.   While the text describing the
appropriateness of use of IP literal is RFC 5321 is more
complicated than it probably ought to be, the discussion in
Section 4.1.4 of that document seems quite clear that an SMTP
server MUST NOT reject a message simply because an IP address
literal (or a domain name that does not point to a host) is
used. Those interested in the niceties of that issue should
review the correspondence on the ietf-smtp(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org list and
comment there if appropriate.

A ticket ( [ #282782] ) was generated early in
the month about the mail servers apparently rejecting
messages with IP address literals in the EHLO field.  The
rejection is accompanied by a reply message that appears to be
inappropriate in multiple ways; again, those interested should
see the ietf-smtp list for an already-extensive discussion.  The
Secretariat responded by indicating that all such addresses were
being rejected and that the rejection was occurring under
instructions from IETF leadership, instructions that were
reaffirmed after the ticket was filed.  Whatever the problem is,
and indeed, whether there is a problem, the Secretariat is
therefore blameless.  I suggest that the IETF has a problem.

The purpose of this note is _not_ to evaluate the underlying
technical issues, what should be done about them, or whether the
text in RFC 5321 should be improved.  Those, it seems to me, are
topics for the ietf-smtp list.   They have been discussed there
at length and presumably will continue to be discussed there.
It is whether there is consensus among IETF participants that
"the leadership" (I presume whatever bodies, individuals, or
their designees are relevant) should have the authority to
instruct the Secretariat to violate an IETF standard without
consultation of appropriate experts within the community
(presumably on relevant mailing lists), evidence of IETF rough
consensus, and/or Internet Drafts that specify alterations to
the relevant standard(s).  I also don't want to cast blame about
decisions of the past, only to understand what the process is
for giving instructions to the Secretariat (or approving their
suggestions) is now and whether IETF conformance to IETF
standards is something we care about for the future.


---------- End Forwarded Message ----------

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