Re: [irsg] An IETF repository for working code in our protocols?

Spencer Dawkins at IETF <> Thu, 20 August 2020 15:38 UTC

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From: Spencer Dawkins at IETF <>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2020 10:38:06 -0500
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Subject: Re: [irsg] An IETF repository for working code in our protocols?
To: Vijay Gurbani <>
Cc: "Joel M. Halpern" <>, "" <>
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Just to add one point to Vijay's incantation of IEEE ...

On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 7:38 PM Vijay Gurbani <>

> On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 6:42 PM Joel M. Halpern <>
> wrote:
>> For IETF purposes, the existence of implementations is very important.
>> For some purposes, open source code is useful.
>> Depending upon the license, for many purposes looking at open source
>> code can actually be harmful to the implementation work. [...]
> Dear Joel: Thank you for your comments, much appreciated.
> I will note two things that are important to keep in mind as we develop
> our protocols.
> One, you do not need to look very far to ascertain that there is a dearth
> of reproducibility in the sciences today, be it in academia or industrial
> research..  This has, in part, lead to the stance of IEEE and ACM that I
> pointed to in my original email where they have made repositories available
> to researchers for storing datasets and software artifcacts.

IETF has a leadership coordination team with IEEE 802 (and that team does
occasionally talk about IEEE topics that aren't IEEE 802-specific).

I don't see a members list at (which is fine), but
the most recent minutes at
contain a list list of attendees, a fair number of whom are on WGchairs
(either as chairs, or as IESG or IAB members).

Perhaps asking IEEE what legal precautions they took would be instructive?



> Making the source code available mitigates the reproducibility problem,
> not in whole, but in substantial part.
> Two, for an organization that prides itself on open and transparent
> development of protocols, it seems rather incongruous that a key component
> of a protocol --- the source code that implements a protocol --- is kept
> secret.  Companies and individuals that do not want to share code are free
> not to do so.  However, that need should not impinge upon the need for
> others who can benefit from sharing for the purpose of reproducibility.
> Individuals who would rather not deal with compilation and other problems
> associated with open source are just as welcome not to worry about it, and
> let others who revel in it move the implementation and the protocol ahead.
> In most of the cases, the source code is not going to be a production ready
> version, so I really see no harm in making these available on a "best
> effort" scale.
> In closing, I don't think that expounding the virtues or vices of open
> source versus closed source is necessarily the issue here.  All of us have
> strong viewpoints on this, and for the record, I am more in alignment with
> Stephen in the need for the code to be available.  It can be made so under
> some license just as we handle IPR issues..  Bringing in open versus closed
> source code detracts from the larger aim of the discussion here, with all
> due respects.
> Thank you.
> - vijay