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Re: Shuffle those deck chairs!

2004-10-05 11:20:18
In this message, I am speaking as the Area Advisor who was responsible
for MARID.

The reasons for closing the MARID working group are set out
Fundamentally, the working group chairs and I believed that the group
was very unlikely to reach consensus, as it kept re-spinning old arguments.

To boil this very far down, one group felt that it was vitally important that
any anti-forgery additions to email be in some way connected to what a
user sees (i.e., the RFC 2822 headers); others did not agree that this was
necessary or felt strongly that any changes must be made to the RFC 2821
exchange, as this allowed dispositions to be determined without accepting
the DATA.  Attempts to reach consensus on one or the other other of these
positions failed, and attempts to create an infrastructure that would allow for both
also did not show much promise of consensus.

The presence of an IPR declaration and license offer related to the RFC 2822-based
mechanism muddied the waters, as those who were not in favor of that
approach argued that it implied the group must select the other.  Those who
believed that the RFC 2822-based approach was the best mechanism focused
instead on the viability of the patent application or on the acceptability of the
license terms (which, to be fair, seem to have been copied from license terms
that the IETF has found acceptable in other contexts). Despite the efforts of
the chairs, that the two mechanisms  related to very different identities was
largely elided in this discussion, as the group  got bogged down on details of
law that were outside the expertise of all but a very tiny number of participants.

I saw this lack of coherent discussion of the IPR matter as a symptom of the
larger disagreement, not as caused by it.  Were there a very strong consensus
on the right approach, an IPR declaration related to that approach would have
been met with strategies to avoid or accommodate the IPR and offered license.
That it is was met instead with an argument over the abandonment of the
fundamental approach speaks strongly to the consensus of the group on
the work.  It was one symptom, though, among many.  It was not
the cause of the working group's closure.
                                Ted Hardie

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