Re: Do we now require change control on specifications we use?

Paul Hoffman <phoffman@imc.org> Tue, 04 December 2007 18:25 UTC

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Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 10:25:12 -0800
To: Carsten Bormann <cabo@tzi.org>
From: Paul Hoffman <phoffman@imc.org>
Subject: Re: Do we now require change control on specifications we use?
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At 9:29 AM -0800 12/4/07, Carsten Bormann wrote:
>XML is *not* a moving target.
>ASN.1 was.  Worse, it was in the control of tool vendors who were 
>living off changes to the "standard" and increasing complexity in 
>order to sell upgrades and keep a high barrier to market entry.

Oh, please. The "added complexity" that was *needed* to be changed in 
all the PKIX and S/MIME specs to meet the changes over 20 years of 
ASN.1 changes are minor and cause no bits-on-the-wire changes. See 
draft-hoffman-cms-new-asn1-00.txt and 
draft-hoffman-pkix-new-asn1-00.txt. Those drafts also add a bunch of 
very simple things that give compilers and validators more tools to 
find errors in data. Again, no bits-on-the-wire changes.

Blaming this on ASN.1 "tool vendors" is silly. First, there is 
basically only one significant tool vendor. More important, however, 
is that most of the changes have been to add new data formats that 
the IETF has completely ignored. Those formats (PER, CER, XER, 
YAER...) were wanted by other SDOs; that's no skin off our noses.

The changes in ASN.1 have had little or no effect on the IETF. We are 
considering bringing our specs up to date now, and it is quite easy 
and completely voluntary.