Re: BCP97bis and "freely available"

George Michaelson <> Mon, 18 October 2021 23:03 UTC

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From: George Michaelson <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2021 09:03:27 +1000
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Subject: Re: BCP97bis and "freely available"
To: Michael StJohns <>
Cc: IETF Discussion Mailing List <>
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During the X.4xx/X.5xx timeframe, I believe an exception was carved
out for what X.509 represents. Not that other standards couldn't be
found without paying, but that X.509 was formally put out there for no

I recall across the timeframe that my employer paid for the CCITT
fascicles, they were printed on exceptionally thin paper, and occupied
several feet (oh wait, maybe I mean "almost a meter") of space. But
subsequently I was told (perhaps incorrectly) that the filthy-lucre
side of the CCITT/ITU standards publishing enterprise was persuaded,
(perhaps as an experiment, or for some other reason) to break out what
X.509 represents. We had both the red series and the blue series. I
forget why the colour changed and what it meant. Wait.. is this
british passports?

So, the existence of some X-series documents outside the paywall is
the exception, not the normality, as I understand it.

If you were a contributor to the process inside your national
standards body, "free" (lets discount any local fees to be in the
standards process) were normal. So a lot of people had the documents,
even if they weren't implementing.