[Ltru] status of RFC 3066 or RFC 3066bis in relation to HTTP
mrc at CAC.Washington.EDU
Fri Mar 24 18:11:58 CET 2006
As a long-time IETFer:
Typically, these matters are handled on an ad-hoc case-by-case basis in
which common sense prevails.
The razor in this case is "does something break?" Most updates to IETF
documents expand upon, or clarify, what was in the older document; they do
not introduce an incompatibility. If something is removed, that is
generally because there is community concensus that it is bad juju.
So, given RFC abcd that normatively references RFC efgh that has been
obsoleted by RFC ijkl:
. can two RFC abcd implementations communicate with each other, and the
desired behavior happen, even though one uses RFC efgh and the other
uses RFC ijkl?
If the answer is yes, then the question is effectively academic in nature.
Sometime in the future, RFC abcd will have to be updated to reflect the
change to RFC ijkl, but as it doesn't break interoperability it isn't
urgent. One might expect that old implementations will use RFC efgh and
new implementations will use RFC ijkl.
If the answer is no, then someone was not doing their job; RFC ijkl should
not have been approved without that working group taking on the needed
update to RFC abcd. An important purpose of the IETF/IESG bureaucracy is
to prevent something like this from happening.
Hence the answer that since RFC abcd normatively refers to RFC efgh, it is
RFC efgh that is used by an RFC abcd implementator. It is, however,
expected that people would tend to use RFC ijkl instead (if only because
it has clearer wording and represents more modern understanding) -- and
sooner or later, RFC abcd will be obsoleted by a RFC mnop that makes this
Equally important is that RFC ijkl should not have been approved for
publication if it creates an incompatibility problem in RFC abcd, without
also updating/obsoleting RFC abcd.
-- Mark --
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.
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