ISSUE: excessive perfectionism (was Re: ISSUE: Timeframes sho ld be focused on IETF purposes, not markets)

graham.travers at graham.travers at
Thu Jun 12 16:01:39 CEST 2003


I see that you are seeking precision, rather than vague allusions, - which
is what I would prefer too. 

I don't propose that we abdicate our responsibility; rather that we analyse
and record to whom we owe that responsibility.  This must be particularly
pertinent in cases where a specific requirement ( target ) must be
considered in the light of competing/complementary requirements from other
Areas or WGs. 

However, given the turnover in IETF participants and their attendant
interests, if *we* set *our* targets, I believe it has implications for the
mission of the IETF.  There are certainly some these days who want to use
IETF standards for targets other than the Internet per se ( e.g. VPNs ) -
targets which were probably unforeseen when the IETF originally assumed its
mission for the Internet.  Does this mean that the mission of the IETF will
be subject to change to meet *our targets* ?  A changing mission strikes me
as very difficult to fulfil.


	Graham Travers

	International Standards Manager
	BT Exact

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-----Original Message-----
From: Harald Tveit Alvestrand [mailto:harald at]
Sent: 12 June 2003 09:21
To: Travers,G,Graham,XVT TRAVERG R; moore at
Cc: problem-statement at
Subject: RE: ISSUE: excessive perfectionism (was Re: ISSUE: Timeframes
sho ld be focused on IETF purposes, not markets)

--On onsdag, juni 11, 2003 16:48:14 +0100 graham.travers at wrote:

> Keith,
> I'm not suggesting that we favour a sub-set; rather that we try to include
> all the *customers* ( stakeholders or users, if you prefer ) that we can
> identify - e.g. vendors, ISPs, researchers, end-users.....
> I realise that such a list can not be comprehensive forever, as new types
> of user will emerge;  but it does at least give us a checklist of who we
> should currently be considering.

In a very real sense, I believe the customers of the IETF process are us - 
the IETF participants.

*Our* customers are the ISPs and the end-users, the researchers, the 
enterprises, the governments and the fabric of society itself.

But I think it's *our* responsibility to set our targets; abdicating that 
responsibility to an abstract, unquantifiable notion like "market need" 
will not give us quality, relevant specifications for the Internet.

Abusing random people's names....

I want to accept as vaild input into the target-setting process Jim Bound 
saying "I need the XYZ specification to be completed by August 27, 2004, 
because I have a Sept 1 spec freeze, a 3-month QA cycle, and product 
shipments planned for February 2005 that intend to incorporate that 

And I want to also accept as valid input John Loughney saying "XYZ cannot
be completed by August 27, because ABC is barely going to meet its deadline 
of completing its spec by July, so XYZ cannot possibly incorporate that in 
less than 3 months; we can't make a good spec before October".

But I don't want to accept as valid input someone saying "XYZ is urgently 
needed in the market (no background given), so we have to abandon the ABC 
dependency and publish the spec in February 2004 whether it works or not".

See the difference?


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