Re: first steps (was The other parts of the report...)

John C Klensin <> Mon, 13 September 2004 01:29 UTC

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Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 21:19:01 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Carl Malamud <>
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Cc: Harald Tveit Alvestrand <>, scott bradner <>,
Subject: Re: first steps (was The other parts of the report...)
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--On Sunday, 12 September, 2004 11:59 -0700 Carl Malamud
<> wrote:

> Hi John -
>> At the risk of being too specific about this, the "meeting
>> planning" function(s) and the "[standards] secretariat" one(s)
>> have almost nothing to do with each other --other than, in our
>> case, some rather important history.   
> Agreed, with the addition of Steve Crocker's point about the
> meeting agenda being part of what you call the "[standards]
> secretariat" and what I termed the "Clerk's Office".

Absolutely.  I thought that too obvious to mention, but the
clarification is obviously useful.

>> To further complicate things, I personally don't think the
>> IETF has yet figured out enough about what it really wants
>> from the secretariat part of the function and reached enough
>> consensus on that to justify any RFP-writing.  
> I agree with you.  My personal view is that a better strategy
> for that piece is to attempt to negotiate a sole source
> contract with CNRI.  I don't think we understand the process
> (indeed we probably haven't defined the process enough) to do
> an RFP. Just my view, and there are reasonable opinions to the
> contrary.

See my response to Harald's note (which may take a while --
still organizing my thoughts about how to explain the comment in
a little more depth).

There is a difficulty, of course, with negotiating a sole source
deal with CNRI. If I listen to the tales of woe from various
IESG members and, to a lesser extent, the IESG and IAB as a
whole, difficulties getting CNRI/Foretec to perform that
standards-secretariat function adequately to meet their needs is
one of only two big-time, serious, critical-path problems in
this whole "administrative restructuring" area.  Of those two,
it is also the more important/critical in the sense of immediate
and obvious short-term negative impact on the ability of the
IESG, document authors, etc., to get their jobs done, i.e., on
the standards process itself.  

If we can afford to put those issues aside by going to a sole
source arrangement instead, then I don't think there is a strong
case for urgency in _any_ of your recommendations (or the
alternatives to them).

At least as important, I could easily be wrong here, but I don't
see "attempt to negotiate a sole source with CRNI" to be a
particular easy choice.  Remember that, without getting into the
additional complexities of contractual arrangements, the IETF
has been attempting to negotiate an MOU with CRNI, and then
Foretec, on and off for eight, maybe ten, years.  Having been
part of that process for a while, I'm pretty confident that
there are real differences in assumptions and perceptions that
have been important to both sides... not the sort of thing that
is easily negotiated away.


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