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

Brian E Carpenter <> Wed, 09 March 2016 19:20 UTC

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Subject: Re: Observations on (non-technical) changes affecting IETF operations
To: Dirk Kutscher <>, Jari Arkko <>, IETF <>
References: <> <>
From: Brian E Carpenter <>
Organization: University of Auckland
Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2016 08:20:49 +1300
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On 09/03/2016 23:16, Dirk Kutscher wrote:
> Hi,
> 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.

> 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.

> - 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).