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

Paul Wouters <paul@nohats.ca> Thu, 20 August 2020 02:10 UTC

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Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 22:10:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Wouters <paul@nohats.ca>
To: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
cc: "wgchairs@ietf.org" <wgchairs@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [irsg] An IETF repository for working code in our protocols?
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On Thu, 20 Aug 2020, Stephen Farrell wrote:

>> There is as far as I can tell no benefit in the IETF actually storing
>> the source for these projects.
>
> I disagree. Finding the commit that matches the time at
> which the RFC was written can be non-trivial and will
> sometimes be useful/needed.

As a Fedora and RHEL package maintainer, and as a person who has
forked an IKE implementation that still hears about the pre-fork
code, i can tell you that unmaintained code _very_ quickly loses
value and relevance. I do not think there is any value in the
IETF keeping a copy of unmaintained code.

> I disagree. For an implementer of an RFC, there is still a
> lot of value in looking at someone else's code that matches
> the RFC (or nearly does).

There is hardly any point in looking at 5 year old code. For one,
it won't compile with current C compilers. Or to pick another
example, 5 year old code using openssl (0.9) will be useless
now with openssl 1.1.

Also, the amount of RFC relevant code compared to the rest of
the code base is likely very small. I can see value in a
pure simple reference implementation for something that is
not meant to be produciton code. But nothing much more.

I also share concerns with people who mentioned that leaving
this in RFCs quickly becomes advertising.

Also, any bugs in "IETF references code" would become the
new defacto RFC.

I think the current method of Implementation Status is exactly
how we should want to keep it.

Paul