Re: RFC archival format, was: Re: More liberal draft formatting standards required

Douglas Otis <> Fri, 03 July 2009 17:16 UTC

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From: Douglas Otis <>
To: Doug Ewell <>
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Subject: Re: RFC archival format, was: Re: More liberal draft formatting standards required
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On Jul 3, 2009, at 8:07 AM, Doug Ewell wrote:

> As always when this discussion occurs, there are at least three  
> different issues swirling around:
> 1.  ASCII-only vs. UTF-8
> 2.  Plain text vs. higher-level formatting, for text flow and  
> readability
> 3.  Whether it is a good idea to include high-quality pictures in RFCs
> There are not the same issue, and it would help combatants on both  
> sides not to mix them up.
> I don't know where the argument "don't help authors prepare I-Ds  
> using the tools of their choice, unless they are open-source" fits  
> into this picture.

Perhaps some of these difficulties can be remedied by allowing use of  
RFC 2223 with perhaps extensions by RFC 2346.  What is missing are  
likely automation tools able to accept this original publication  
practice.  This approach allowing postscript, html, and pdf output has  
not kept pace with the automation provided by the combination of TCL  
code and XML formats detailed in RFC 2629.  If there is interest to  
revisit the use of roff and standardize preprocessors similar to that  
of xml2rfc, it should not take much effort to include these techniques  
as a means to extend what can be included within an ID and RFC.  For  
this not to create too many problems, RFC 2223 should be updated.

Reliance upon open source tools ensures the original RFCs and ID can  
be maintained by others, without confronting unresolvable  
compatibility issues.  It would also be a bad practice to rely upon  
unstable proprietary formats having limited OS support and significant  
security issues.