Re: Observations on (non-technical) changes affecting IETF operations

"Charles Eckel (eckelcu)" <> Tue, 15 March 2016 20:40 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 7F6EE12D55D for <>; Tue, 15 Mar 2016 13:40:16 -0700 (PDT)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -14.521
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-14.521 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, DKIM_SIGNED=0.1, DKIM_VALID=-0.1, DKIM_VALID_AU=-0.1, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, RCVD_IN_DNSWL_HI=-5, RCVD_IN_MSPIKE_H3=-0.01, RCVD_IN_MSPIKE_WL=-0.01, RP_MATCHES_RCVD=-0.001, SPF_PASS=-0.001, USER_IN_DEF_DKIM_WL=-7.5] autolearn=ham autolearn_force=no
Authentication-Results: (amavisd-new); dkim=pass (1024-bit key)
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id BJ_M2sCQsD-6 for <>; Tue, 15 Mar 2016 13:40:14 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( []) (using TLSv1.2 with cipher DHE-RSA-SEED-SHA (128/128 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 4E74712D542 for <>; Tue, 15 Mar 2016 13:40:14 -0700 (PDT)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/simple;;; l=9398; q=dns/txt; s=iport; t=1458074414; x=1459284014; h=from:to:subject:date:message-id:references:in-reply-to: mime-version; bh=v6yo7Z8vgDggnzh9Xzz0IFsvJSGQYwfEA0x9xRMZZEU=; b=EIttHOe/wBPoogKBRZLZjguoNT7a+/WA+zF8SuafBqCZEgv3yw9xYH68 VdeSM8uD9NGP0Yj+mbgv/DIbHfBzuV8jQLXKEfILp8RlfOO+O0ZAx55pB vEJIynzH0C/LwcvsLHRLXhNYnTK8EM1duy8BGUOEh2RVhJVFHUXy+odi1 k=;
X-IronPort-Anti-Spam-Filtered: true
X-IronPort-AV: E=Sophos; i="5.24,340,1454976000"; d="scan'208,217"; a="81345569"
Received: from ([]) by with ESMTP/TLS/DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA; 15 Mar 2016 20:40:12 +0000
Received: from ( []) by (8.14.5/8.14.5) with ESMTP id u2FKeCAx029487 (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=AES256-SHA bits=256 verify=FAIL); Tue, 15 Mar 2016 20:40:12 GMT
Received: from ( by ( with Microsoft SMTP Server (TLS) id 15.0.1104.5; Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:40:12 -0500
Received: from ([]) by ([]) with mapi id 15.00.1104.009; Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:40:12 -0500
From: "Charles Eckel (eckelcu)" <>
To: Brian E Carpenter <>, Dirk Kutscher <>, Jari Arkko <>, IETF <>
Subject: Re: Observations on (non-technical) changes affecting IETF operations
Thread-Topic: Observations on (non-technical) changes affecting IETF operations
Thread-Index: AQHRcz0pMM7tsTD93US+tBCeIZfs059RV5kAgACYFYCACP4MAA==
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2016 20:40:12 +0000
Message-ID: <>
References: <> <> <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Accept-Language: en-US
Content-Language: en-US
user-agent: Microsoft-MacOutlook/
x-ms-exchange-messagesentrepresentingtype: 1
x-ms-exchange-transport-fromentityheader: Hosted
x-originating-ip: []
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="_000_D30DBB0C68EC1eckelcuciscocom_"
MIME-Version: 1.0
Archived-At: <>
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.17
Precedence: list
List-Id: IETF-Discussion <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2016 20:40:16 -0000

On 3/9/16, 8:20 PM, "ietf on behalf of Brian E Carpenter" <<> on behalf of<>> wrote:

On 09/03/2016 23:16, Dirk Kutscher wrote:
good discussion starter.
Two comments:
1) Open Source / Hackathon:
The objective of the IETF should IMO be to develop open, high-quality specifications (in a timely manner...). We have been working with running code for ensuring implementability and interoperability. That's still a good thing, however, we could think about how we can make better use of Open Source for the specification process. (Following up on Dave Ward's lunch presentation some IETF meetings back.)
For example, some IRTF RGs are working with reference implementations (of their core protocols) to promote experimentation, more research, future adoption.
Would it make sense to promote similar models for the protocol specification process in IETF WGs (beyond the Hackathon concept)?

I was tempted to write "Well, Duh!" but maybe this *isn't* obvious to everybody. So yes, there is no doubt
that running code is a vital adjunct to successful standards work.

It is obviously not obvious :)
There is still very little emphasis in most working groups on running code. Anyone written a tool to check the percentage of drafts that include a non null "Implementation Status" section [RFC 6982<>]?
The hackathons are a good first step. They serve primarily as a cultural event to raise awareness, engage open source communities, and shine a positive light on the value of running code early in the standards process. The majority of the code will obviously be produced outside of the hackathon, but the hackathon is a catalyst.

Potential benefits:
- more running code -- better specification quality

Very specifically, WGs where somebody can say "When writing the code, I couldn't understand X",
or "When testing the code, I found that Y is wrong" produce better specifications.

Exactly. Some of the most useful work that came out of the previous hackathons were negative results regarding existing drafts.

- FOSS as standards reference implementations -- promoting standards adoption

Perhaps equally important: providing a basis for interoperability tests.

BTW the choice of OS license is important: pick the wrong one and some people aren't
allowed to look at your code.

- potentially: speeding up the process

Maybe not speeding up the IETF process itself, but certainly speeding up the time
to market (or the time to deciding the whole thing was a bad idea).


We need to consider how to make open source code readily available to community that might be interested in it, and to do so in a timely manner. We also need to consider the target audience, the end users of the code and specification. Much of the great work the IETF does never gets adopted. We need more focus on end user community and adoption. We need to consider barriers to deployability. Hackathons are a small step in right direction, but I thing we should consider offering training and keep end users in mind from the start and throughout the standardization process.