New IETF Standards Track Discussion
New IETF Standards Track Discussion WG
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The problem working group found that many IETF participants feel that
the current IETF hierarchy of Proposed, Draft and Full Standard
levels for specifications is no longer being used in the way that was
envisioned when the stratification was originally proposed. In
the IETF currently has a one-step standards process. The goal of this
working group is to agree on a revised IETF Standards Track, to replace
the standards track described in RFC 2026. The working group will also
decide on a process path forward.
The disparity between the documented IETF standards process and what is
used in practice can cause confusion on the part of those people or
organizations that use IETF technologies. It has also led to a general
disregard of the cautions in RFC 2026 on the appropriate deployment of
IETF technologies described in Internet Drafts or Proposed Standard
The NewTrk working group is a follow on to the newtrk BOF held during
the 58th IETF Meeting in Minneapolis. That BOF was held as a result of
the work of the problem working group.
The sense of the room at the end of the newtrk BOF was that:
1/ some change was needed to the IETF Standards Track
2/ a revised standards track should have more than one stage
3/ there should be some form of "working group snapshot," this might
or might not be a formal stage on the standards track and might or
not be an archival publication
4/ at least one stage should require multiple interoperable
implementations of the technology to ensure document clarity
5/ any revised standards track should include some type of "IPR hook"
to keep the IETF and IESG out of the business of determining what IPR
claims are legitimate and what licensing terms are fair.
The goal of this working group is to agree on a revised IETF Standards
Track, taking into consideration the above points, to replace the
standards track described in RFC 2026. The working group will also
decide on a process for making forward progress. Some of the possible
paths being producing a revised version of RFC 2026 (and maybe other
RFCs), producing a standalone document or documents that update parts
the existing RFCs or a mixture of the two. There may be other
The working group should also take into account other issues raised by
the problem working group and during the newtrk BOF as needed.
The deliberations of the working group will cover at least the
a/ the standards track itself (number of stages, movement between
maturity levels, working group snapshots, maintenance, IPR issues)
b/ access to the standards track for individual submissions
c/ non-standards track document categories including BCP,
Informational, Experimental, and Historic and their relationship to the
d/ usability of the standards track (bug fixes, version numbers,
grouping multiple specifications, and maybe deprecation)
e/ development of a primary marker to distinguish documents
originating from the IETF from those not originating from the IETF
Discussions in the working group since the NewTrk BOF have added two
possible additional topics to the working group's agenda.
As part of a revised standards track process, the group will also
explore the creation of a new series of short IESG-approved IETF
documents to describe and define IETF technology standards. These
documents should be able to be used to define the IETF understanding of
what constituted a specific IETF standard at particular points in time.
The working group will also consider the usefulness of implementation
and or interoperability registers in conjunction with such a document
The working group will also discuss the usefulness of new "cleanup"
procedures to reclassify existing standards track RFCs based on breadth
of adoption (or lack of it) or the risk to the Internet of the
technology described in the RFC.
The NewTrk working group will coordinate its work with other reform
activities currently underway in the IETF.