Re: Affirmation of the Modern Global Standards Paradigm

Hannes Tschofenig <> Thu, 16 August 2012 08:10 UTC

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Subject: Re: Affirmation of the Modern Global Standards Paradigm
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From: Hannes Tschofenig <>
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Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 11:10:02 +0300
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To: John E Drake <>
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Hi John, 

(responding with my personal views)

On Aug 15, 2012, at 8:39 PM, John E Drake wrote:

> Hannes,
> Let me try a different tack:
> 1)  Is this document intended to change the way that the IETF interacts with other SDOs?
Nope. We always interact with other SDOs in the same way since the IETF process does not provide options.

The intensity of the interactions and the degree of information exchange varies over time between the different organizations (quite naturally due to the topics different SDOs care about). 

The IAB has their liaison managers for the different organizations and just manages the liaison relationships. The actual liaison persons make sure that the information flows. From my experience it is best if there are engineers that participate in both organizations and use informal communication (rather than liaison statements).  

> 2)  What is the document's marginal utility?  I.e., what changes if it is published?

Informing others how various SDOs, including the IETF, develop standards. I believe there is value in education even though it is hard to measure: did someone learn something new from this specific document, did they already knew it upfront, learn it in discussions, etc.. Who knows. 
> 3)  Is there a plan of which this document is a part or is it simply a 'one-off'?

Education about what the IETF is about and what are the factors that make IETF protocols successful is an ongoing activity. 

Many of the IAB publications discuss different facets of this topic. Just pick a recently approved IAB document, namely It builds on "What Makes for a Successful Protocol" [RFC5218] and discusses the challenging topic of how to define a protocol so that future extensions do not lead to interoperability problems. 
As you know, designing protocols is complex and requires a broad expertise. The IAB tries to provide guidance that often falls beyond a single protocol, working group or area. Best examples of broader guidance is RFC 3552 ("Guidelines for Writing RFC Text on Security Considerations") and ("Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols"). Sometimes the recommendations concern the interaction with other SDOs, such as with RFC 5704 "Uncoordinated Protocol Development Considered Harmful". 

As you can see from the examples above the guidance ranges from technical aspects to process related advice. 

The IAB, however, does not have endless resources to do everything alone (since the IAB charter gives us a number of functions; not only liaisons and architectural oversight). For that reason I am quite happy that there are others, like ISOC, CDT, journalists, etc. also share their views with the rest of the world. They use social media, blog posts, and all the great Web technologies to reach out to the wider Internet community to raise awareness. 

> 4)  What is the relationship between this document and the mission of the ISOC, which, as I understand it, is to promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet?

The Internet Society needs to speak for themselves. 


> Thanks,
> John
> Sent from my iPhone
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Hannes Tschofenig []
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:33 AM
>> To: John E Drake
>> Cc: Hannes Tschofenig; Brian E Carpenter; Eliot Lear;;
>> Subject: Re: Affirmation of the Modern Global Standards Paradigm
>> Hi John,
>> On Aug 15, 2012, at 3:41 PM, John E Drake wrote:
>>> JD:  To what purpose?  As an aside, I get the 'feel-good' aspect, but
>> is there anything more?
>> I like the term - IAB documents as 'feel-good' publications.
>> The IAB publishes a variety of different documents. Some of them are
>> formal communication interactions with other organizations and others
>> are documenting topics that could be of interest to the IETF community
>> or even beyond. These documents are not enforceable in a legal sense
>> (which is good).
>> The content of this specific document did not surprise you and, as a
>> regular IETF participant, it shouldn't. You look at the list of
>> principles and they sound familiar - they make sense (at least to most
>> of us, as folks noted in this discussion thread). The 'Openness', for
>> example, is in my view extremely important since it allows relevant
>> stakeholders to participate: Think about how low the barrier is to
>> participate in the IETF. If you believe that the process has any impact
>> on the quality of the specifications then the principles listed in the
>> document may resonate with you.
>> Many may consider these principles as so obvious that they are not
>> worthwhile to write down. Unfortunately, they are not as obvious as one
>> might think. There are other ways to do standardization and, as we have
>> seen in the discussions on this list, some would like to change the
>> rules of the game. I believe that this will have negative consequences
>> for the Internet eco-system and for the speed of innovation we had
>> gotten so used to.
>> Whether this document can prevent bad things from happening is of
>> course a separate story but it, at least, captures the views of a list
>> of organizations active in Internet standardization.
>> I hope that this makes sense to you.
>> Ciao
>> Hannes