Re: "why I quit writing internet standards"

Simon Pietro Romano <> Mon, 14 April 2014 17:01 UTC

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Subject: Re: "why I quit writing internet standards"
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From: Simon Pietro Romano <>
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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:01:05 +0200
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I read the post from Vidya and I have to say I totally agree with her. As to running code, in particular, my impression is that if you are used to implement prototypes of ongoing standards and you're neither a big company nor a member of the IETF elite of gurus, the best you can buck for is an informational "call flows" RFC. Standards Track stuff is left to those who (seem to) do the high-level specification work. This happens because people seem to rush for editing documents as soon as a new WG is chartered, but then they progressively reduce efforts when such a WG starts to lose momentum and is not latest fashion any longer.
Finally, coming to interoperability, it is hard to work on it if your implementation is the only one available. In the long run, I do acknowledge the fact that you get tired of doing all that hard work and investing so many cycles in a highly underestimated engineering activity.

My two cents,


On 14/apr/2014, at 18:34, Michael Richardson wrote:

> George, Wes <> wrote:
>> - We don’t have nearly enough focus on running code as the thing that helps to
>> ensure that we’re using our limited cycles on getting the right things out
>> expediently, and either getting the design right the first time, or failing
>> quickly and iterating to improve
>> The solution here may be that we need to be much more aggressive at expecting
>> any standards track documents to have running code much earlier in the
>> process.
> For instance, had DMARC proponents and/or Yahoo, spent some time making sure
> that there was some running code for mailing list use, life would be better.
> I'm not entirely clear how it was that we produced/funded (more) running code in the
> 1990s.  Maybe this is a false idea; it could be that there was less code then
> than there is now.   I will posit several factors:
>  1) there was less working occuring, and perhaps over a longer time period
>     (where time is subject to perception as well as reality), such that
>     code became mature sooner in the specification process, and/or there
>     were simply more volunteers willing to produce it.
>  2) many companies were much smaller, and it was easier to get line managers
>     to see why they wanted to be directly involved, even lead, efforts.
>  3) it wasn't so much the dotcom boom which made money available via VCs,
>     but rather that the (ultimately unstainable) revenue doubling, quarter
>     over quarter which made resources available for prototypes.
>  4) there were some clear institutions (MIT, CMU, Berkeley, LLBL, UW) where
>     some good reference implementations were developed by students, faculty,
>     staff.  And don't forget WIDE and USAGI!!!
> When I founded Xelerance, it was with the idea that multiple large
> organizations were shipping IPsec code on Linux, and would rather pay a
> company a maintenance fee than attempt to manage the process internally.
> We got some work funded, but we never got enough funding to get ahead of
> the standardization process and write code will an ID was still young.
> Overall, that effort failed.
> --
> Michael Richardson <>ca>, Sandelman Software Works
> -= IPv6 IoT consulting =-

                           				      ( O-O )
                    				Simon Pietro Romano
             				 Universita' di Napoli Federico II
                		     Computer Engineering Department 
	             Phone: +39 081 7683823 -- Fax: +39 081 7683816

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