My thoughts about the problems of the IETF

John C Klensin john-ietf at
Mon Apr 21 09:34:14 CEST 2003


I think we are into dangerous territory here.   Following one 
line of your argument (and Pete's), and generalizing from what 
the IAB did decide in the Elz decision, perhaps we need an 
explicit criterion on all standards-track RFCs that are 
candidates for advancement that says "this document must be 
clear enough that it is precisely obvious to anyone skilled in 
the area what needs to be tested for interoperability".  With 
such a rule in place, or a more general rule that IESG approval 
of _anything_ that is unclear in a substantive way, or that has 
swept important issues under the proverbial carpet, is subject 
to appeal, we get a better tool, but we also get at least a 
strong possibility for IAB technical review on anything that 
comes out of the IESG.

Ending up in that state would be, I think, controversial.  But 
it would also address the issue you raise in a useful way: if 
the IESG _and_ IAB determine that a document is clear on which 
features must be checked for interoperability, then whether or 
not a particular feature has been checked is a procedural 
matter, not a technical one (although, given documentation that 
it had been checked, whether it had been checked "well enough" 
and passed would remain a technical question.


--On Thursday, 17 April, 2003 15:06 -0400 Margaret Wasserman 
<mrw at> wrote:

> I think that this is all an argument about how we use the
> terms "technical" and "process".
> In an appeal, I think that anything that concerns technical
> issues is a technical appeal, and therefore can't be appealed
> to ISOC.
> Let's assume, for the moment, that the IAB had come back with
> a finding in the Elz appeal that said "Ah ha!  The IPv6 group
> didn't check for two interoperable implementations of <foo>."
> This would still, IMO, be a technical finding on a technical
> appeal...  If we appealed that decision to ISOC, I hope they
> would refuse to consider it, as they have no more place in
> deciding what constitutes a feature of IPv6 that needs to be
> tested for interoperability than they do in deciding if an
> IPv6 document is technically correct or sufficiently clear.
> Margaret
> At 01:53 PM 4/17/2003 -0500, Pete Resnick wrote:
>> On 4/17/03 at 2:21 PM -0400, Margaret Wasserman wrote:
>>> But, the Elz appeal was a technical issue involving document
>>> clarity.
>> Actually, I believe (and Robert can correct me if I'm wrong
>> if he's  listening) that the Elz appeal *was* about a process
>> violation (not  checking for two implementations), but the
>> IAB decided that the document  was not clear enough to
>> determine what the protocol required. They  sidestepped the
>> issue of whether there actually was a process violation.
>> pr
>> --
>> Pete Resnick <mailto:presnick at>
>> QUALCOMM Incorporated - Direct phone: (858)651-4478, Fax:
>> (858)651-1102

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