ISSUE: Document subseries name for IETF Administration

Bob Braden braden at ISI.EDU
Mon Jun 16 14:33:11 CEST 2003

  *> Bob,
  *> you know more than me about the bad experience (when, where, what and why). 
  *> Can you share?

Sure.  In 1977, the RFC series, which was already 8 years old, dealt
mostly with the ARPAnet.  In 1977 [D]ARPA began funding research to
develop a catenet (internet) of networks, based upon the TCP[/IP]
defined in the Kahn/Cerf paper.  Jon (and others?) decided that the new
project should have a new document series, so they began the Internet
Experiment Notes (IEN) series.  This continued until 1982; Jon Postel
was the editor of both RFCs and IENs.  During the 5 year period, he
published approximately 200 IENs and 100 RFCs.

But Jon found it increasingly difficult to decide which series to use
to publish a given document, and the two series caused a lot of
confusion in the community.  In 1982 he gave up on the IENs and did all
further publication related to networking only in the RFC series.

Jon came to the conclusion that having a primary numbering space that
is mult-dimensional is bound to lead to confusion.  There ought to be a
single master index sequence number -- the RFC #s -- for all documents
in the archive.  For secondary categorization, to establish
sub-collections, he invented the subseries (STD, FYI, BCP).
(I see little reason to restrict the growth of such subseries,
BTW, as long as you have the single unique index of RFC #).

Bob Braden

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