Re: Status of RFC 20 (was: Re: Gen-ART and OPS-Dir review of draft-ietf-json-text-sequence-09)

"Stewart Bryant (stbryant)" <stbryant@cisco.com> Sat, 06 December 2014 15:02 UTC

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From: "Stewart Bryant (stbryant)" <stbryant@cisco.com>
To: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
Subject: Re: Status of RFC 20 (was: Re: Gen-ART and OPS-Dir review of draft-ietf-json-text-sequence-09)
Thread-Topic: Status of RFC 20 (was: Re: Gen-ART and OPS-Dir review of draft-ietf-json-text-sequence-09)
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Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2014 15:02:44 +0000
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Cc: "Black, David" <david.black@emc.com>, Barry Leiba <barryleiba@computer.org>, "ietf@ietf.org" <ietf@ietf.org>
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If it is just for IETF purposes it could be added to the downref list without being reclassified.

Stewart



> On 6 Dec 2014, at 03:52, John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> wrote:
> 
> Barry (and IESG generally),
> 
> This has come up multiple times and will undoubtedly keep coming
> up, especially since RFC 20 is a stable reference to one
> particular version of ASCII and actually includes the code
> tables while X3.4-1968 (the version to which it refers) is
> largely unobtainable today (only the current version is) and
> ANSI X3.4, aka ANSI/INCITS 4, is not a stable reference without
> a date.
> 
> Most, perhaps all, versions of ANSI X3.4 (and ANSI/INCITS 4)
> also specify the repertoire and coding, i.e., the CCS, but not
> what we would call the encoding form today (in the case of RFC
> 20, the familiar "seven bits in and eight bit byte with high
> order bit always zero").  So, for most IETF purposes, RFC 20
> really should be the normative reference for ASCII (or, if one
> prefers, "US-ASCII").
> 
> RFC 20 has status "Unknown" only because it comes from a time
> that predates both the IETF and our use of the term "standard"
> (with or without qualifications) to describe Internet technical
> specifications.
> 
> So, rather than go through a discussion about downrefs and the
> like every time RFC 20 is referenced from a Standards-Track
> specification, I suggest that the IESG reclassify it to Internet
> Standard and waste as little more time doing so as possible.  
> 
> The implementation report is that, whether they explicitly
> reference RFC 20 or not, substantially every application-layer
> protocol we have depends on the ASCII CCS and encoding form
> specified in that RFC.  In addition, RFC 5234 and its
> predecessors are heavily dependent on ASCII so that
> substantially any specification that depends on ABNF is also an
> ASCII implementation.
> 
> Thanks,
>    john
> 
> 
> --On Friday, December 05, 2014 17:38 -0500 Barry Leiba
> <barryleiba@computer.org> wrote:
> 
>> Hi, David.  One note on your review:
>> 
>>> idnits didn't like the reference to RFC 20 for ASCII:
>>> 
>>>  ** Downref: Normative reference to an Unknown state RFC:
>>>  RFC   20
>>> 
>>> RFC 5234 (ABNF) uses this, which looks like a better
>>> reference:
>>> 
>>>   [US-ASCII]  American National Standards Institute, "Coded
>>>   Character Set -- 7-bit American Standard Code for
>>>               Information Interchange", ANSI X3.4, 1986.
>> 
>> Except that (1) many IETF documents do use RFC 20 and (2) the
>> RFC 20 reference is not for ASCII: it's for RS, the Record
>> Separator character, which is explained in RFC 20, Section 5.2.
>> 
>> Barry
> 
> 
> 
>