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

Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie> Wed, 19 August 2020 20:55 UTC

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Subject: Re: An IETF repository for working code in our protocols?
To: Vijay Gurbani <vijay.gurbani@gmail.com>, Alissa Cooper <alissa@cooperw.in>, Martin Duke <martin.h.duke@gmail.com>, wgchairs@ietf.org
References: <CAMMTW_+Di=ZBJFLNPaVK6f3w3Yq-V-qau8G_rfGt96SX_aYAAA@mail.gmail.com>
From: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
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Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 21:55:08 +0100
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Hiya,

For many but not all RFCs, it would be valuable to have a
reasonably good implementation that is caveated up the wazoo so I've
always liked that idea and still do.

There are a number of quite surmountable issues to doing
it, yes. The IAB programme might help get that off the
ground, but I don't think that ought be a blocker if a
bunch of people want to try out something on their own.

Cheers,
S.

On 19/08/2020 16:10, Vijay Gurbani wrote:
> All: I was reviewing a draft [1] as part of Gen-ART.  In the draft, there
> is a section pertaining to "Implementation Status" as dictated by RFC
> 7942.  I found this section to be very interesting in that it captures the
> running code corresponding to the I-D, but RFC 7942 does not appear to
> provide the means to retain this section upon publication as a RFC.  (To be
> sure, it does not mandate that the section be removed, just suggests it.
> However, most I-D authors simply will end up asking the RFC editor to
> remove the section, as [1] does.)
> 
> I think that is rather counter productive.  After all, we standardize
> protocols so that others can write programs that implement the protocols,
> and I see a lot of value in preserving any running code.  In the particular
> case of the I-D I reviewed, there were two implementations, both from
> reputable organizations (APNIC and the Italian National Research Council).
> By simply deleting the "Implementation Status" section when the I-D was
> published as an RFC, it seems that good, quality implementations that folks
> spent time on would be lost, perhaps not irrevocably, but for most
> practical purposes, the code would be orphaned.
> 
> I am wondering whether the IETF should preserve some of this running code
> as an archive.  The IETF makes no guarantees of the correctness of the
> code, just provides a repository where code can be linked to a particular
> RFC to allow implementers to bootstrap themselves, if needed.  This
> repository will also contain the contact of the original author of the
> code.  The repository is sort of like an IANA registry of IETF working code
> corresponding to an RFC.  The authors of the I-D can be the "expert" and
> suggest which implementations they consider worthy of archival.  The
> boilerplate of implementations is given in Section 2 of RFC 7942 [2].  We
> would have to spec out an IANA-registry like process to do so, but I think
> that the ends will justify the means.
> 
> I note that organizations like IEEE have evolved to provide a repository
> where authors of published papers can park their datasets for
> reproducibility (see IEEE DataPort [3]).  The 2017 ACM Task Force on Data,
> Software, and Reproducibility in Publication also recommended that, "The
> ACM Digital Library will need to interoperate with a number of recommended
> data repositories and software curation platforms..." [4].  So this idea of
> the IETF maintaining a software repository is not entirely unheard of.
> 
> I apologize for taking your time if this has been discussed before; if not,
> it is worth some discussion.
> 
> [1] https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-regext-rdap-sorting-and-paging-15
> [2] https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7942
> [3] https://bigdata.ieee.org/ieee-dataport
> [4]
> https://www.acm.org/publications/task-force-on-data-software-and-reproducibility
> 
> Thank you,
> 
> - vijay
>