AdminRest update and plans for next week's discussions

Leslie Daigle <> Thu, 29 July 2004 23:18 UTC

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As of this upcoming IETF, we will have been examining the issues of
administrative restructuring for about a year. We are now reaching the
point where we think we can draw some conclusions and propose some
actions to the community - we are not quite there, but close.

As we have noted earlier, we are still gathering input - as part of that
input-gathering, Carl Malamud, our consultant, will be listening to
people throughout the IETF meeting - he will have "office hours" in the
Marina 1 room at the hotel from 8am to 10am Mon-Thu, so that it is easy
for you to find him.  He is also accessible by e-mail (

At this stage, a recap of the history seems in order.....

A historical perspective
One year ago, the IAB chair and the IETF chair convened an IAB Advisory
Committee that reviewed the administrative situation of the IETF. This
committee gave its conclusions at the Minneapolis plenary that Fall, and
published its findings in the form of a report (RFC3716). A key element
of the committee's advice was that the IETF needs to get its
overall administrative house in order to ensure continued and
appropriate support of its technical activities.  We have pursued that
goal ever since.

Four months ago, at the Seoul IETF, we presented a framework that we saw
as a reasonable basis for moving forward: proposing the creation of a
new organizational entity (which may be a new organization, or a new
piece of ISOC) to coordinate and support the administrative activities
that support the IETF effort.  This entity would need to be clearly
responsive to the needs of the IETF community, and responsible to that same 
community.  The entity would not, however, affect the existing
IETF technical processes,  as described in RFC2026 and related
documents.  Any issues with those processes are, and will continue to
be, discussed in IETF open fora.

As we continued to develop the framework and study its implications, it
became obvious that this required a level of expertise and work effort
beyond what the IETF leadership had available - we needed to hire help.
ISOC, at their May meeting in Barcelona, agreed to fund a hired
consultant to assist in the work, and after a short and intensive search
for candidates, we hired Carl Malamud to help us with the effort on June 21.

Carl has been working on the information we have brought together,
talked to many people and, drawing on his own expertise as well as other
legal and financial advice, has started putting together concrete
proposals for creating such an entity that would be suitably scoped,
responsible to the IETF community and appropriately structured to carry
out its mandate.  You can talk to him at the IETF, and he'll give a
short status report at the Thursday night plenary.  Harald and I will
give more details with respect to any proposed IETF decisions or actions
at that time as well.

Key points of the proposal
The full report will be coming out after the IETF meeting week (i.e.,
after the IETF leadership has had time to review the material, and
more listening has been done).

By way of preview, we can say Carl has made more specific the vision
painted in RFC 3716 of a single administrative organization that will
collect meeting fees, administer ISOC funds and any other
donations or revenues as appropriate. The organization would
disburse these funds to the supporting organizations under contract, and
be responsible for changing those contracts to reflect the evolving
needs of the IETF when needed.

The financial structure of this organization would have to be
transparent to the IETF community as a whole, and the management would
have to be clearly responsible to the IETF community.

RFC3716 also outlined a number of ways in which the current working
environment for WG chairs, participants and document editors could be
improved. Carl's current material focuses on estabishing the
administrative entity from which such activities could be launched, but
he has not yet done anything to describe specific work items that should
be launched here.  Future work will be coordinated with the
newly-starting TOOLS team which is working under the guidance of the

Today's situation, and plans for this week
We know that we are not finished.

We still are looking for more input from the community (including
next week's plenary meeting), we are working through a list
of issues as identified by the IETF leadership and ISOC, and we have
to make sure (as far as we are able to) the whole plan is possible to
execute.  As we go through that, the plans and proposals are likely
to change and evolve.

What we do today will influence the shape of the IETF support structures
for many years to come; we need to respond to the urgency outlined
in RFC3716, and yet we owe it to ourselves to not be over-hasty.

The IESG and IAB will be meeting Sunday to discuss the material
that Carl has prepared so far.

After talking to even more of you in San Diego, we hope to release a
summary of the proposal that is currently on the table by mid-week,
including specific points on which we want to use the Thursday plenary
as an opportunity to get feedback from the community in a more intimate
forum than the IETF mailing list.

Once we have that input, and have revised the proposals accordingly, we
expect to release them as an Internet-Draft as soon as possible - we
aim for this first draft to be out within 2 weeks of the IETF, for
subsequent discussion on the IETF list.

Once we determine that we have community consent in moving on the
proposals, we will start executing.

See you in San Diego!

                 Leslie and Harald.

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