A question about the role of the IESG

Jonne.Soininen at nokia.com Jonne.Soininen at nokia.com
Mon Jan 6 19:34:46 CET 2003

Hi Brian,

> Jonne,
> I thought that 3GPP was an ETSI activity, ultimately under the ETSI 
> management structure, but maybe I am wrong. 

3GPP is not an ETSI project. However, ETSI is member of 3GPP. There is a management board in the 3GPP called Project Coordination Group (PCG). However, its role in day-to-day technical standardization effort is limited.  (If somebody is really interested you can find more info about 3GPP at http://www.3gpp.org/About/about.htm.)

However, I really did not want to compare 3GPP and IETF. The organizations are very different, and have very different space in the universe. I just used 3GPP as an example of something that I have seen. My question was about IETF in the IETF - not a trial of a poor comparison of different organizations.

> As far as the IETF goes, the authority used to belong to the IAB, and
> was given to the IAB by the people who funded the ARPANET and 
> the early
> Internet. Then there was a popular rebellion in 1992, and the IETF
> decided to give its authority to the IESG as a result. That's when the
> current nominating process for the IESG and IAB was invented; it's the
> IETF community that puts the IESG in place, and agrees to accept its
> authority.
> I don't see how you can have an SDO without a management structure.
> Ours happens to be our very own IESG, but we also run with a very
> light staff, which is not the case in the ETSI world.

I guess, I really struggle here trying to make my point. I not trying to compare IETF to any other SDO as such, and not trying to criticize the need for a management/coordinating structure. What I have noticed is that IESG has _relatively_ much power over the IETF standardization process, _relatively_ to the power IESG reports little to the community, and the IESG is not directly *elected*, but rather *selected* by rather unique process. What I am trying to understand - personally - here is how was the NomCom process created (opposed to e.g. elections, ISOC nominations, or anything else), why has the IESG been given the role of the guardian of the IETF process and the IETF output (vs. e.g. a mere coordinating role between areas/WGs), and why wasn't reporting seen that necessary. 

(I know there are certain efforts to enhance the reporting part, e.g. ID Tracker. However, this is rather recent, and IESG minutes are still just a list of results rather than something comparable to for instance the WG minutes.)



>    Brian
> Jonne.Soininen at nokia.com wrote:
> > 
> > Hi Dave,
> > 
> > sorry about the long delay in answering this mail. However, 
> I guess I did not explain myself correctly in my first mail. 
> I do have read at least some assorted documents from the 
> ietf.org, but seems from your mail that I would have not read 
> the correct ones... ;)
> > 
> > My experience (obviously not the same as yours) are from 
> the IETF, and 3GPP. There are many differences in these two 
> organizations, and in their purpose. So, most probably one to 
> one comparison would not be of much use as what works for one 
> may not work for the other. So, I will not even try. However, 
> I'll explain here where my comment came from:
> > 
> > In 3GPP, there is no appointed management like IESG, and 
> IAB in the IETF. There is hierarchy, though. The work is done 
> in two levels in Technical Specification Groups (TSGs) that 
> coordinate Working Groups (WGs) Thus, the TSGs in some sense 
> could be compared in the hierarchy to the level of IESG in 
> the IETF. The main difference (in my mind) is that the TSGs 
> are practically working groups. They are open to the whole 
> 3GPP community. Anybody from 3GPP community interested in the 
> work of a TSG can go to their meetings a affect the 
> decisions. Both the TSGs and the WGs have a chairperson and 
> one or more vice chairs. These are elected by the TSG or the 
> WG in question - they are not appointed.
> > 
> > This was what I used in my mind as a comparison point. I do 
> not want to start a huge comparison between the IETF, and 
> 3GPP here. I do not think that brings us much. We would just 
> end up in a rat hole about the philosophical differences of 
> the organizations, which would not bring us any closer to the 
> problems that we face in the IETF now. What I wanted to 
> understand was, how did IETF end up with this structure that 
> we have now. Though that IETF is an open organization some of 
> the current procedures seem to be in conflict with the 
> openness principle - at least to the untrained eye. Most 
> probably there was a reason for this at the time of creation. 
> I would just like to know what that reason was.
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > 
> > Jonne.
> > 
> > PS. Thanks for your article. However, I do not think it 
> deals with the same issue that I was trying to raise.
> > 
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: ext Dave Crocker [mailto:dhc at dcrocker.net]
> > > Sent: Friday, December 20, 2002 8:23 PM
> > > To: Soininen Jonne (NET/MtView)
> > > Cc: problem-statement at alvestrand.no
> > > Subject: Re: A question about the role of the IESG
> > >
> > >
> > > Jonne,
> > >
> > > You might want to carefully read assorted documents available via
> > > <http://www.ietf.org, before making the sort of sweeping
> > > assessment you
> > > offer.
> > >
> > > As to your question about choice, one place you might look is:
> > >
> > >          <http://www.brandenburg.com/ietf/ietf-stds.html#StdWay30>
> > >
> > > The rest of that article may also be helpful.
> > >
> > > d/
> > >
> > > Friday, December 20, 2002, 6:05:12 PM, you wrote:
> > > Jonne> According the current processes, and practices in the
> > > IETF it seems that the IESG has almost unlimited power over
> > > the IETF. The IESG is not really accountable to the IETF
> > > community (e.g.
> > > Jonne> meeting minutes are not public and only the collective
> > > decisions are communicated), the IESG has no responsibility
> > > towards the general public of the IETF, and it is seen as the
> > > management of
> > > Jonne> the IETF. In the current model, the IESG supervises,
> > > and has control over the work of the community, and the WGs
> > > execute the operative work. This is somewhat parallel to the
> > > model of a company
> > > Jonne> where the responsibility is always upwards. In
> > > general, this is rather unique arrangement in a community 
> environment.
> > >
> > > Jonne> I was just wondering, how this operative model was
> > > chosen, and why this is seen as a more effective model than
> > > models used in other SDOs where the community steers itself
> > > without hierarchical
> > > Jonne> management?
> > >
> > >
> > > d/
> > > --
> > >  Dave <mailto:dhc at dcrocker.net>
> > >  Brandenburg InternetWorking <http://www.brandenburg.com>
> > >  t +1.408.246.8253; f +1.408.850.1850

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