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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 rfc2026                                  
Network Working Group                                         S. Bradner
Internet-Draft                                        Harvard University
                                                          September 1995

              The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3

                a proposed revision of part of RFC 1602


Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft. Internet-Drafts are working
   documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas,
   and its working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as ``work in progress.''

   To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check the
   1id-abstracts.txt listing contained in the Internet-Drafts Shadow
   Directories on ftp.is.co.za (Africa), nic.nordu.net (Europe),
   munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim), ds.internic.net (US East Coast), or
   ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).


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Table of Contents

   Status of this Memo.................................................1
   1.  INTRODUCTION.....................................................
     1.1  Internet Standards............................................
     1.2  The Internet Standards Process................................
     1.3  Organization of This Document.................................
   2.  INTERNET STANDARDS-RELATED PUBLICATIONS..........................
     2.1  Requests for Comments (RFCs)..................................
     2.2  Internet-Drafts...............................................
     2.3  Notices and Record Keeping....................................
   3.  INTERNET STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS.................................
     3.1  Technical Specification (TS)..................................
     3.2  Applicability Statement (AS)..................................
     3.3  Requirement Levels............................................
   4.  THE INTERNET STANDARDS TRACK.....................................
     4.1  Standards Track Maturity Levels...............................
       4.1.1  Proposed Standard.........................................
       4.1.2  Draft Standard............................................
       4.1.3  Internet Standard.........................................
     4.2  Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels...........................
       4.2.1  Experimental..............................................
       4.2.2  Informational.............................................
       4.2.3  Procedures for Experimental and Informational RFCs........
       4.2.4  Historic..................................................
   5.  THE INTERNET STANDARDS PROCESS...................................
     5.1  Standards Actions.............................................
       5.1.1  Initiation of Action......................................
       5.1.2  IESG Review and Approval..................................
       5.1.3  Publication...............................................
     5.2  Entering the Standards Track..................................
     5.3  Advancing in the Standards Track..............................
     5.4  Revising a Standard...........................................
     5.5  Retiring a Standard...........................................
     5.6  Conflict Resolution and Appeals...............................
   6.  BEST CURRENT PRACTICE (BCP) RFCs.................................
     6.1  BCP Review Process............................................
   7.  EXTERNAL STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS............................
   8.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.....................................
     8.1.  General Policy...............................................
     8.2   Confidentiality Obligations..................................
     8.3.  Rights and Permissions.......................................
       8.3.1. All Contributions.........................................
       8.4.2. Standards Track Documents.................................
       8.4.3  Determination of Reasonable and
              Non-discriminatory Terms..................................
     8.5.  Notices......................................................

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   9.  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS..................................................
   10. SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS..........................................
   11. REFERENCES.......................................................
   12 .AUTHORS' ADDRESS.................................................

   APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS.....................................


   This memo documents the process currently used by the Internet
   community for the standardization of protocols and procedures.  The
   Internet Standards process is an activity of the Internet Society
   that is organized and managed on behalf of the Internet community by
   the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering
   Steering Group.

1.1  Internet Standards

   The Internet, a loosely-organized international collaboration of
   autonomous, interconnected networks, supports host-to-host
   communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and
   procedures defined by Internet Standards.  There are also many
   isolated internets, i.e., sets of interconnected networks, which are
   not connected to the Internet but use the Internet Standards.

   The Internet standards process described in this document is
   concerned with all protocols, procedures, and conventions that are
   used in or by the Internet, whether or not they are part of the
   TCP/IP protocol suite.  In the case of protocols developed and/or
   standardized by non-Internet organizations, however, the Internet
   standards process may apply only to the application of the protocol
   or procedure in the Internet context, not to the specification of the
   protocol itself.

   In general, an Internet Standard is a specification that is stable
   and well-understood, is technically competent, has multiple,
   independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial
   operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is
   recognizably useful in some or all parts of the Internet.

1.2  The Internet Standards Process

   In outline, the process of creating an Internet Standard is
   straightforward:  a specification undergoes a period of development
   and several iterations of review by the Internet community and
   revision based upon experience, is adopted as a Standard by the

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   appropriate body (see below), and is published.  In practice, the
   process is more complicated, due to (1) the difficulty of creating
   specifications of high technical quality;  (2) the need to consider
   the interests of all of the affected parties;  (3) the importance of
   establishing widespread community consensus;  and (4) the difficulty
   of evaluating the utility of a particular specification for the
   Internet community.

   The goals of the Internet standards process are:
   o  technical excellence;
   o  prior implementation and testing;
   o  clear, short, and easily understandable documentation;
   o  openness and fairness;  and
   o  timeliness.

   The procedures described in this document are designed to be fair,
   open, and objective;  to reflect existing (proven) practice;  and to
   be flexible.

   o  These procedures are intended to provide a fair, open, and
      objective basis for developing, evaluating, and adopting Internet
      Standards.  They provide ample opportunity for participation and
      comment by all interested parties.  At each stage of the
      standardization process, a specification is repeatedly discussed
      and its merits debated in open meetings and/or public electronic
      mailing lists, and it is made available for review via world-wide
      on-line directories.

   o  These procedures are explicitly aimed at recognizing and adopting
      generally-accepted practices.  Thus, a candidate specification
      must be implemented and tested for correct operation and
      interoperability by multiple independent parties and utilized in
      increasingly demanding environments, before it can be adopted as
      an Internet Standard.

   o  These procedures provide a great deal of flexibility to adapt to
      the wide variety of circumstances that occur in the
      standardization process.  Experience has shown this flexibility to
      be vital in achieving the goals listed above.

   The goal of technical competence, the requirement for prior
   implementation and testing, and the need to allow all interested
   parties to comment all require significant time and effort.  On the
   other hand, today's rapid development of networking technology
   demands timely development of standards.  The Internet standards
   process is intended to balance these conflicting goals.  The process
   is believed to be as short and simple as possible without sacrificing
   technical excellence, thorough testing before adoption of a standard,

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   or openness and fairness.

   From its inception, the Internet has been, and is expected to remain,
   an evolving system whose participants regularly factor new
   requirements and technology into its design and implementation. Users
   of the Internet and providers of the equipment, software, and
   services that support it should anticipate and embrace this evolution
   as a major tenet of Internet philosophy.

   The procedures described in this document are the result of a number
   of years of evolution, driven both by the needs of the growing and
   increasingly diverse Internet community, and by experience.

1.3  Organization of This Document

   Section 2 describes the publications and archives of the Internet
   standards process, and specifies the requirements for record-keeping
   and public access to information.  Section 3 describes the Internet
   standards track.  Section 4 describes the types of Internet standard
   specification. Section 5 describes the process and rules for Internet
   standardization.  Section 6 specifies the way in which externally-
   sponsored specifications and practices, developed and controlled by
   other standards bodies or by vendors, are handled within the Internet
   standards process.  Section 7 presents the rules that are required to
   protect intellectual property rights in the context of the
   development and use of Internet Standards.  Section 8 contains a list
   of numbered references.

   Appendix A contains a list of frequently-used acronyms.


2.1  Requests for Comments (RFCs)

   Each distinct version of an Internet standards-related specification
   is published as part of the "Request for Comments" (RFC) document
   series.  This archival series is the official publication channel for
   Internet standards documents and other publications of the IESG, IAB,
   and Internet community.  RFCs can be obtained from a number of
   Internet hosts using anonymous FTP, gopher, World Wide Web, and other
   Internet document-retrieval systems.

   The RFC series of documents on networking began in 1969 as part of
   the original ARPA wide-area networking (ARPANET) project (see
   Appendix A for glossary of acronyms).  RFCs cover a wide range of
   topics, from early discussion of new research concepts to status
   memos about the Internet.  RFC publication direct responsibility of
   the RFC Editor, under the general direction of the IAB.

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   The rules for formatting and submitting an RFC are defined in [5].
   Every RFC is available in ASCII text.  Some  RFCs are also available
   in PostScript(R).  The PostScript(R) version of an RFC may contain
   material (such as diagrams and figures) that is not present in the
   ASCII version, and it may be formatted differently.

      *                                                       *
      *  A stricter requirement applies to standards-track    *
      *  specifications:  the ASCII text version is the       *
      *  definitive reference, and therefore it must be a     *
      *  complete and accurate specification of the standard, *
      *  including all necessary diagrams and illustrations.  *
      *                                                       *

   The status of Internet protocol and service specifications is
   summarized periodically in an RFC entitled "Internet Official
   Protocol Standards" [1].  This RFC shows the level of maturity and
   other helpful information for each Internet protocol or service
   specification (see section 3).

   Some RFCs document Internet Standards.  These RFCs form the 'STD'
   subseries of the RFC series [4].  When a specification has been
   adopted as an Internet Standard, it is given the additional label
   "STDxxx", but it keeps its RFC number and its place in the RFC

   Some RFCs describe best current practices for the Internet community
   These RFCs form the 'BCP' (Best Current Practice) subseries of the
   RFC series. [7]   When a specification has been adopted as a BCP, it
   is given the additional label "BCPxxx", but it keeps its RFC number
   and its place in the RFC series.

   Not all specifications of protocols or services for the Internet
   should or will become Internet Standards or BCPs.  Such non-standards
   track specifications are not subject to the rules for Internet
   standardization.  Non-standards track specifications may be published
   directly as "Experimental" or "Informational" RFCs at the discretion
   of the RFC editor in consultation with the IESG (see section 4.2).

      *                                                      *
      *   It is important to remember that not all RFCs      *
      *   are standards track documents, and that not all    *
      *   standards track documents reach the level of       *
      *   Internet Standard. In the same way, not all RFCs   *
      *   which describe current practices have been given   *

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      *   the review and approval to become BCPs.            *
      *                                                      *

2.2  Internet-Drafts

   During the development of a specification, draft versions of the
   document are made available for informal review and comment by
   placing them in the IETF's "Internet-Drafts" directory, which is
   replicated on a number of Internet hosts.  This makes an evolving
   working document readily available to a wide audience, facilitating
   the process of review and revision.

   An Internet-Draft that is published as an RFC, or that has remained
   unchanged in the Internet-Drafts directory for more than six months
   without being recommended by the IESG for publication as an RFC, is
   simply removed from the Internet-Drafts directory.  At any time, an
   Internet-Draft may be replaced by a more recent version of the same
   specification, restarting the six-month timeout period.

   An Internet-Draft may be related to the activity of a specific IETF
   working group or be an unrelated contribution.  To assist in the
   locating of all the Internet-Drafts relevant to a particular working
   group the Internet-Drafts archive is organized into separate
   subdirectories, one for each active working group and an additional
   one for unrelated contributions.  Internet-Drafts submitted as
   relevant to a particular working group are placed into the directory
   named for the working group.

   Internet-Drafts can also be seen as 1/ products of, or adoptions of,
   a working group, i.e., the working group wishes to endorse the
   contents of the Internet-Draft, or, 2/ as submissions for
   consideration by a working group.  These are differentiated in the
   archive by the use of the working group name as the first part of the
   filename in the first case and the use of the 1st author's name in
   the second case.  The appropriate designation is the discretion
   working group chair(s).

   An Internet-Draft is NOT a means of "publishing" a specification;
   specifications are published through the RFC mechanism described in
   the previous section.  Internet-Drafts have no formal status, and are
   subject to change or removal at any time.

      *                                                      *
      *   Under no circumstances should an Internet-Draft    *
      *   be referenced by any paper, report, or Request-    *
      *   for-Proposal, nor should a vendor claim compliance *

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      *   with an Internet-Draft.                            *
      *                                                      *

   Note: It is acceptable to reference a standards-track specification
   that may reasonably be expected to be published as an RFC using the
   phrase "Work in Progress"  without referencing an Internet-Draft.
   This may also be done in a standards track document itself  as long
   as the specification in which the reference is made would stand as a
   complete and understandable document with or without the reference to
   the "Work in Progress".

2.3  Notices and Record Keeping

   Each of the organizations involved in the development and approval of
   Internet Standards shall publicly announce, and shall maintain a
   publicly accessible record of, every activity in which it engages, to
   the extent that the activity represents the prosecution of any part
   of the Internet standards process.  For purposes of this section, the
   organizations involved in the development and approval of Internet
   Standards includes the IETF, the IESG, the IAB, all IETF working
   groups, and the Internet Society board of trustees.

   For IETF and working group meetings announcements shall be made by
   electronic mail to the IETF mailing list and shall be made
   sufficiently far in advance of the activity to permit all interested
   parties to effectively participate.  The announcement shall contain
   (or provide pointers to) all of the information that is necessary to
   support the participation of any interested individual.  In the case
   of a meeting, for example, the announcement shall include an agenda
   that specifies the standards-related issues that will be discussed.

   The formal record of an organization's standards-related activity
   shall include at least the following:

   o  the charter of the organization (or a defining document equivalent
      to a charter);
   o  complete and accurate minutes of meetings;
   o  working group electronic mail mailing lists pertain to the;  and
   o  all written contributions (in paper or electronic form) from
      participants that pertain to the organization's standards-related

   As a practical matter, the formal record of all Internet standards
   process activities is maintained by the IETF Secretariat, and is the
   responsibility of the Executive Director of the IETF.  The entire
   record is available to any interested party upon request to the
   Executive Director. Internet drafts that have been removed (for any

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   reason) from the internet-drafts directories shall be archived by the
   IETF Secretariat for the sole purpose of preserving an historical
   record of Internet standards activity and thus are not retrievable
   except in special circumstances.


   Specifications subject to the Internet standards process fall into
   one of two categories:  Technical Specification (TS) and
   Applicability Statement (AS).

3.1  Technical Specification (TS)

   A Technical Specification is any description of a protocol, service,
   procedure, convention, or format.  It may completely describe all of
   the relevant aspects of its subject, or it may leave one or more
   parameters or options unspecified.  A TS may be completely self-
   contained, or it may incorporate material from other specifications
   by reference to other documents (which may or may not be Internet

   A TS shall include a statement of its scope and the general intent
   for its use (domain of applicability).  Thus, a TS that is inherently
   specific to a particular context shall contain a statement to that
   effect.  However, a TS does not specify requirements for its use
   within the Internet;  these requirements, which depend on the
   particular context in which the TS is incorporated by different
   system configurations, are defined by an Applicability Statement.

3.2  Applicability Statement (AS)

   An Applicability Statement specifies how, and under what
   circumstances, one or more TSs may be applied to support a particular
   Internet capability.  An AS may specify uses for TSs that are not
   Internet Standards, as discussed in Section 6.

   An AS identifies the relevant TSs and the specific way in which they
   are to be combined, and may also specify particular values or ranges
   of TS parameters or subfunctions of a TS protocol that must be
   implemented.  An AS also specifies the circumstances in which the use
   of a particular TS is required, recommended, or elective (see section

   An AS may describe particular methods of using a TS in a restricted
   "domain of applicability", such as Internet routers, terminal
   servers, Internet systems that interface to Ethernets, or datagram-
   based database servers.

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   The broadest type of AS is a comprehensive conformance specification,
   commonly called a "requirements document", for a particular class of
   Internet systems, such as Internet routers or Internet hosts.

   An AS may not have a higher maturity level in the standards track
   than any standards-track TS on which the AS relies (see section 5.1).
   For example, a TS at Draft Standard level may be referenced by an AS
   at the Proposed Standard or Draft Standard level, but not by an AS at
   the Standard level.

   An AS may refer to a TS that is either a standards-track
   specification or is "Informational", but not to a TS with a maturity
   level of "Experimental" or "Historic" (see section 4.2).

3.3  Requirement Levels

   An AS shall apply one of the following "requirement levels" to each
   of the TSs to which it refers:

   (a)  Required:  Implementation of the referenced TS, as specified by
      the AS, is required to achieve minimal conformance.  For example,
      IP and ICMP must be implemented by all Internet systems using the
      TCP/IP Protocol Suite.

   (b)  Recommended:  Implementation of the referenced TS is not
      required for minimal conformance, but experience and/or generally
      accepted technical wisdom suggest its desirability in the domain
      of applicability of the AS.  Vendors are strongly encouraged to
      include the functions, features, and protocols of Recommended TSs
      in their products, and should omit them only if the omission is
      justified by some special circumstance.

   (c)  Elective:  Implementation of the referenced TS is optional
      within the domain of applicability of the AS;  that is, the AS
      creates no explicit necessity to apply the TS.  However, a
      particular vendor may decide to implement it, or a particular user
      may decide that it is a necessity in a specific environment.

      As noted in section 3.2, there are TSs that are not in the
      standards track or that have been retired from the standards
      track, and are therefore not required, recommended, or elective.
      Two additional "requirement level" designations are available for
      these TSs:

   (d)  Limited Use:  The TS is considered to be appropriate for use
      only in limited or unique circumstances.  For example, the usage
      of a protocol with the "Experimental" designation should generally
      be limited to those actively involved with the experiment.

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   (e)  Not Recommended:  A TS that is considered to be inappropriate
      for general use is labeled "Not Recommended". This may be because
      of its limited functionality, specialized nature, or historic

   Although TSs and ASs are conceptually separate, in practice a
   standards-track document may combine an AS and one or more related
   TSs.  For example, Technical Specifications that are developed
   specifically and exclusively for some particular domain of
   applicability, e.g., for mail server hosts, often contain within a
   single specification all of the relevant AS and TS information. In
   such cases, no useful purpose would be served by deliberately
   distributing the information among several documents just to preserve
   the formal AS/TS distinction.  However, a TS that is likely to apply
   to more than one domain of applicability should be developed in a
   modular fashion, to facilitate its incorporation by multiple ASs.

   The "Official Protocol Standards" RFC lists a general requirement
   level for each TS, using the nomenclature defined in this section.
   This RFC is updated periodically.  In many cases, more detailed
   descriptions of the requirement levels of particular protocols and of
   individual features of the protocols will be found in appropriate


   Specifications that are intended to become Internet Standards evolve
   through a set of maturity levels known as the "standards track".
   These maturity levels -- "Proposed Standard", "Draft Standard", and
   "Standard" -- are defined and discussed in section 4.1.  The way in
   which specifications move along the standards track is described in
   section 5.

   Even after a specification has been adopted as an Internet Standard,
   further evolution often occurs based on experience and the
   recognition of new requirements.  The nomenclature and procedures of
   Internet standardization provide for the replacement of old Internet
   Standards with new ones, and the assignment of descriptive labels to
   indicate the status of "retired" Internet Standards.  A set of
   maturity levels is defined in section 4.2 to cover these and other
   specifications that are not considered to be on the standards track.

4.1  Standards Track Maturity Levels

   Internet specifications go through stages of development, testing,
   and acceptance.  Within the Internet standards process, these stages
   are formally labeled "maturity levels".

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   This section describes the maturity levels and the expected
   characteristics of specifications at each level.

4.1.1  Proposed Standard

   The entry-level maturity for the standards track is "Proposed
   Standard".  A specific action by the IESG is required to move a
   specification onto the standards track at the "Proposed Standard"
   level (see section 5).

   A Proposed Standard specification is generally stable, has resolved
   known design choices, is believed to be well-understood, has received
   significant community review, and appears to enjoy enough community
   interest to be considered valuable.  However, further experience
   might result in a change or even retraction of the specification
   before it advances.

   Usually, neither implementation nor operational experience is
   required for the designation of a specification as a Proposed
   Standard.  However, such experience is highly desirable, and will
   usually represent a strong argument in favor of a Proposed Standard

   The IESG may require implementation and/or operational experience
   prior to granting Proposed Standard status to a specification that
   materially affects the core Internet protocols or that specifies
   behavior that may have significant operational impact on the
   Internet.  Typically, such a specification will be published
   initially with Experimental status (see section 4.2.1), and moved to
   the standards track only after sufficient implementation or
   operational experience has been obtained.

   A Proposed Standard should have no known technical omissions with
   respect to the requirements placed upon it.  However, the IESG may
   waive this requirement in order to allow a specification to advance
   to the Proposed Standard state when it is considered to be useful and
   necessary (and timely) even with known technical omissions.

   Implementors should treat Proposed Standards as immature
   specifications.  It is desirable to implement them in order to gain
   experience and to validate, test, and clarify the specification.
   However, since the content of Proposed Standards may be changed if
   problems are found or better solutions are identified, deploying
   implementations of such standards into a disruption-sensitive
   customer base is not recommended.

4.1.2  Draft Standard

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   A specification from which at least two independent and interoperable
   implementations from different code bases, and for which sufficient
   successful operational experience has been obtained, may be elevated
   to the "Draft Standard" level. If patented or otherwise controlled
   technology is required for implementation, the separate
   implementations must also have resulted from separate exercise of the
   licensing process. This is a major advance in status, indicating a
   strong belief that the specification is mature and will be useful.

   The requirement for at least two independent and interoperable
   implementations applies to all of the options and features of the
   specification.  In cases in which one or more options or features
   have not been demonstrated in at least two interoperable
   implementations, the specification may advance to the Draft Standard
   level only if those options or features are removed.

   A Draft Standard must be well-understood and known to be quite
   stable, both in its semantics and as a basis for developing an
   implementation.  A Draft Standard may still require additional or
   more widespread field experience, since it is possible for
   implementations based on Draft Standard specifications to demonstrate
   unforeseen behavior when subjected to large-scale use in production

   A Draft Standard is normally considered to be a final specification,
   and changes are likely to be made only to solve specific problems
   encountered.  In most circumstances, it is reasonable for vendors to
   deploy implementations of draft standards into the customer base.

4.1.3  Internet Standard

   A specification for which significant implementation and successful
   operational experience has been obtained may be elevated to the
   Internet Standard level.  An Internet Standard (which may simply be
   referred to as a Standard) is characterized by a high degree of
   technical maturity and by a generally held belief that the specified
   protocol or service provides significant benefit to the Internet

4.2  Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels

   Not every TS or AS is on the standards track.  A TS may not be
   intended to be an Internet Standard, or it may be intended for
   eventual standardization but not yet ready to enter the standards
   track.  A TS or AS may have been superseded by a more recent Internet
   Standard, or have otherwise fallen into disuse or disfavor.

   Specifications that are not on the standards track are labeled with

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   one of three "off-track" maturity levels:  "Experimental",
   "Informational", or "Historic".  There are no time limits associated
   with these non-standards track labels, and the documents bearing
   these labels are not Internet Standards in any sense.

4.2.1  Experimental

   The "Experimental" designation on a TS typically denotes a
   specification that is part of some research or development effort.
   Such a specification is published for the general information of the
   Internet technical community and as an archival record of the work,
   subject only to editorial considerations and to verification that
   there has been adequate coordination with the standards process (see
   below).  An Experimental specification may be the output of an
   organized Internet research effort (e.g., a Research Group of the
   IRTF), an IETF working group, or it may be an individual

4.2.2  Informational

   An "Informational" specification is published for the general
   information of the Internet community, and does not represent an
   Internet community consensus or recommendation.  The Informational
   designation is intended to provide for the timely publication of a
   very broad range of responsible informational documents from many
   sources, subject only to editorial considerations and to verification
   that there has been adequate coordination with the standards process
   (see below).

   Specifications that have been prepared outside of the Internet
   community and are not incorporated into the Internet standards
   process by any of the provisions of section 6 may be published as
   Informational RFCs, with the permission of the owner and the
   concurrence of the RFC Editor.

4.2.3  Procedures for Experimental and Informational RFCs

   Unless they are the result of IETF working group action, documents
   intended to be published with Experimental or Informational status
   should be submitted directly to the RFC Editor .  The RFC Editor will
   publish any such documents as Internet-Drafts which have not already
   been so published.  In order to differentiate these Internet-Drafts
   the filename will include "-rfced-".  The RFC Editor will wait two
   weeks after this publication for comments before proceeding further.
   The RFC Editor is expected to exercise his or her judgment concerning
   the editorial suitability of a document for publication with
   Experimental or Informational status, and may refuse to publish a
   document which, in the expert opinion of the RFC Editor, falls below

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   the technical and/or editorial standard for RFCs.

   To ensure that the non-standards track Experimental and Informational
   designations are not misused to circumvent the Internet standards
   process, the IESG and the RFC Editor have agreed that the RFC Editor
   will refer to the IESG any document submitted for Experimental or
   Informational publication which, in the opinion of the RFC Editor,
   may be related to, or of interest to, the IETF community.  The IESG
   shall review such a referred document within a reasonable period of
   time, and recommend either that it be published as originally
   submitted or referred to the IETF as a contribution to the Internet
   standards process.

   If (a) the IESG recommends that the document be brought within the
   IETF and progressed within the IETF context, but the author declines
   to do so, or (b) the IESG considers that the document proposes
   something that conflicts with, or is actually inimical to, an
   established IETF effort, the document may still be published as an
   Experimental or Informational RFC.  In these cases, however, the IESG
   may insert appropriate "disclaimer" text into the RFC either in or
   immediately following the "Status of this Memo" section in order to
   make the circumstances of its publication clear to readers.

   Documents proposed for Experimental and Informational RFCs by IETF
   working groups go through IESG review.  The review is initiated using
   the process described in section 5.1.1.

4.2.4  Historic

   A TS or AS that has been superseded by a more recent specification or
   is for any other reason considered to be obsolete is assigned to the
   "Historic" level.  (Purists have suggested that the word should be
   "Historical"; however, at this point the use of "Historic" is


   The mechanics of the Internet standards process involve decisions of
   the IESG concerning the elevation of a specification onto the
   standards track or the movement of a standards-track specification
   from one maturity level to another.  Although a number of reasonably
   objective criteria (described below and in section 5) are available
   to guide the IESG in making a decision to move a specification onto,
   along, or off the standards track, there is no algorithmic guarantee
   of elevation to or progression along the standards track for any
   specification.  The experienced collective judgment of the IESG
   concerning the technical quality of a specification proposed for

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   elevation to or advancement in the standards track is an essential
   component of the decision-making process.

5.1  Standards Actions

   A "standards action" -- entering a particular specification into,
   advancing it within, or removing it from, the standards track -- must
   be approved by the IESG.

5.1.1  Initiation of Action

   A standards action is initiated by a recommendation to the
   appropriate IETF Area Director or to the IESG as a whole by the
   individual or group that is responsible for the specification
   (usually an IETF Working Group).

   A specification that is intended to enter or advance in the Internet
   standards track shall first be posted as an Internet-Draft (see
   section 2.2), by sending the document in an electronic mail message
   to the Internet-Drafts address at the IETF Secretariat.  It shall
   remain as an Internet-Draft for a period of time, not less than two
   weeks, that permits useful community review, after which it may be
   submitted to the IESG with a recommendation for action by sending an
   electronic mail message to the Executive Director of the IETF, with a
   copy to the relevant Area Director if any, specifying the name of the
   document and the recommended action.

5.1.2  IESG Review and Approval

   The IESG shall determine whether or not a specification submitted to
   it according to section 5.1.1 satisfies the applicable criteria for
   the recommended action (see sections 5.3 and 5.4), and shall in
   addition determine whether or not the technical quality and clarity
   of the specification comports with that expected for the maturity
   level to which the specification is recommended.

   In order to obtain all of the information necessary to make these
   determinations, particularly when the specification is considered by
   the IESG to be extremely important in terms of its potential impact
   on the Internet or on the suite of Internet protocols, the IESG may,
   at its discretion, commission an independent technical review of the
   specification.  Such a review shall be commissioned whenever the
   circumstances surrounding a recommended standards action are
   considered by the IESG to require a broader basis than is normally
   available from the IESG itself for agreement within the Internet
   community that the specification is ready for advancement. The IESG
   shall communicate the findings of any such review to the IETF.

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   The IESG will send notice to the IETF of the pending IESG
   consideration of the document(s) to permit a final review by the
   general Internet community.  This "Last-Call" notification shall be
   via electronic mail to the IETF mailing list.  Comments on a Last-
   Call shall be accepted from anyone, and should be sent to the IESG
   with a copy to Executive Director of the IETF.

   In a timely fashion, but no sooner than two weeks after issuing the
   Last-Call notification to the IETF mailing list, the IESG shall make
   its final determination of whether or not to approve the standards
   action, and shall notify the IETF of its decision via electronic mail
   to the IETF mailing list.  In those cases in which the IESG believes
   that the community interest would be served by allowing more time for
   comment, it may decide to explicitly lengthen the Last-Call period.
   In those cases in which the proposed standards action involves a
   document for which no corresponding IETF working group is currently
   active, the Last-Call period shall be no shorter than four weeks.

5.1.3  Publication

   Following IESG approval and any necessary editorial work, the RFC
   Editor shall publish the specification as an RFC.  The specification
   shall at that point be removed from the Internet-Drafts directory.

   An official summary of standards actions completed and pending shall
   appear in each issue of the Internet Society Newsletter.  This shall
   constitute the "publication of record" for Internet standards
   actions.  In addition, the IESG shall publish a monthly summary of
   standards actions completed and pending in the Internet Monthly

   Finally, the RFC Editor shall publish periodically an "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" RFC [1], summarizing the status of all
   Internet protocol and service specifications, both within and outside
   the standards track.

5.2  Entering the Standards Track

   A specification that is potentially an Internet Standard may
   originate from:

   (a)  an ISOC-sponsored effort (typically an IETF Working Group),

   (b)  independent activity by individuals, or

   (c)  an external organization.

   Case (a) accounts for the great majority of specifications that enter

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   the standards track.  In cases (b) and (c), the work might be tightly
   integrated with the work of an existing IETF Working Group, or it
   might be offered for standardization without prior IETF involvement.
   In most cases, a specification resulting from an effort that took
   place outside of an IETF Working Group will be submitted to an
   appropriate Working Group for evaluation and refinement.  If
   necessary, an appropriate Working Group will be created.

   For externally-developed specifications that are well-integrated with
   existing Working Group efforts, a Working Group is assumed to afford
   adequate community review of the accuracy and applicability of the
   specification.  If a Working Group is unable to resolve all technical
   and usage questions, additional independent review may be necessary.
   Such reviews may be done within a Working Group context, or by an ad
   hoc review committee established specifically for that purpose.  Ad
   hoc review committees may also be convened in other circumstances
   when the nature of review required is too small to require the
   formality of Working Group creation.  It is the responsibility of the
   appropriate IETF Area Director to determine what, if any, review of
   an external specification is needed and how it shall be conducted.

5.3  Advancing in the Standards Track

   The procedure described in section 5.1 is followed for each action
   that attends the advancement of a specification along the standards

   A specification shall remain at the Proposed Standard level for at
   least six (6) months.

   A specification shall remain at the Draft Standard level for at least
   four (4) months, or until at least one IETF meeting has occurred,
   whichever comes later.

   These minimum periods are intended to ensure adequate opportunity for
   community review without severely impacting timeliness.  These
   intervals shall be measured from the date of publication of the
   corresponding RFC(s), or, if the action does not result in RFC
   publication, the date of IESG approval of the action.

   A specification may be (indeed, is likely to be) revised as it
   advances through the standards track.  At each stage, the IESG shall
   determine the scope and significance of the revision to the
   specification, and, if necessary and appropriate, modify the
   recommended action.  Minor revisions are expected, but a significant
   revision may require that the specification accumulate more
   experience at its current maturity level before progressing. Finally,
   if the specification has been changed very significantly, the IESG

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   may recommend that the revision be treated as a new document, re-
   entering the standards track at the beginning.

   Change of status shall result in republication of the specification
   as an RFC, except in the rare case that there have been no changes at
   all in the specification since the last publication.  Generally,
   desired changes will be "batched" for incorporation at the next level
   in the standards track.  However, deferral of changes to the next
   standards action on the specification will not always be possible or
   desirable;  for example, an important typographical error, or a
   technical error that does not represent a change in overall function
   of the specification, may need to be corrected immediately.  In such
   cases, the IESG or RFC Editor may be asked to republish the RFC (with
   a new number) with corrections, and this will not reset the minimum
   time-at-level clock.

   When a standards-track specification has not reached the Internet
   Standard level but has remained at the same maturity level for
   twenty-four (24) months, and every twelve (12) months thereafter
   until the status is changed, the IESG shall review the viability of
   the standardization effort responsible for that specification and the
   usefulness of the technology. Following each such review, the IESG
   shall approve termination or continuation of the development, at the
   same time the IESG shall decide to maintain the specification at the
   same maturity level or to move it to Historic status.  This decision
   shall be communicated to the IETF by electronic mail to the IETF
   mailing list to allow the Internet community an opportunity to
   comment. This provision is not intended to threaten a legitimate and
   active Working Group effort, but rather to provide an administrative
   mechanism for terminating a moribund effort.

5.4  Revising a Standard

   A new version of an established Internet Standard must progress
   through the full Internet standardization process as if it were a
   completely new specification. (Sections 5.1 and 5.3)  Once the new
   version has reached the Standard level, it will usually replace the
   previous version, which will move to Historic status.  However, in
   some cases both versions may remain as Internet Standards to honor
   the requirements of an installed base.  In this situation, the
   relationship between the previous and the new versions must be
   explicitly stated in the text of the new version or in another
   appropriate document (e.g., an Applicability Statement; see section

5.5  Retiring a Standard

   As the technology changes and matures, it is possible for a new

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   Standard specification to be so clearly superior technically that one
   or more existing Internet Standards for the same function should be
   retired.  In this case, the IESG shall approve a change of status of
   the superseded specification(s) from Standard to Historic.  This
   recommendation shall be issued with the same Last-Call and
   notification procedures used for any other standards action.

5.6  Conflict Resolution and Appeals

   IETF Working Groups are generally able to reach consensus, which
   sometimes requires difficult compromises between or among different
   technical proposals.  However, there are times when even the most
   reasonable and knowledgeable people are unable to agree.  To achieve
   the goals of openness and fairness, such conflicts must be resolved
   by a process of open review and discussion.  This section specifies
   the procedures that shall be followed to deal with Internet standards
   issues that cannot be resolved through the normal processes whereby
   IETF Working Groups and other Internet standards process participants
   ordinarily reach consensus.

   An individual (whether a participant in the relevant Working Group or
   not) may disagree with a Working Group recommendation based on his or
   her belief that either (a) his or her own views have not been
   adequately considered by the Working Group, or (b) the Working Group
   has made an incorrect technical choice which places the quality
   and/or integrity of the Working Group's product(s) in significant
   jeopardy.  The first issue is a difficulty with Working Group
   process;  the latter is an assertion of technical error.  These two
   types of disagreement are quite different, but both are handled by
   the same process of review.

   A person who disagrees with a Working Group recommendation shall
   always first discuss the matter with the Working Group's chair(s),
   who may involve other members of the Working Group (or the Working
   Group as a whole) in the discussion.  If the disagreement cannot be
   resolved in this way, it shall be brought to the attention of the
   Area Director(s) for the area in which the Working Group is
   chartered.  The Area Director(s) shall attempt to resolve the
   dispute.  If the disagreement cannot be resolved by the Area
   Director(s) the matter may be brought before the IESG as a whole.  In
   all cases a decision concerning the disposition of the dispute, and
   the communication of that decision to the parties involved, must be
   accomplished within a reasonable period of time.

   A person who disagrees with an IESG decision should first discuss the
   matter with the IESG chair, who may involve other members of the
   IESG, or the whole IESG, in the discussion.

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   If the disagreement is not resolved to the satisfaction of the
   parties at the IESG level, any of the parties involved may appeal the
   decision to the IAB by sending notice of such appeal to the IAB
   electronic mail list.  The IAB's review of the dispute shall be
   informed by the findings of the IESG, by any additional
   representation that the original petitioner(s) or others wish to make
   in response to the IESG's findings, and by its own investigation of
   the circumstances and the claims made by all parties.  The IAB shall
   make and announce its decision within a reasonable period of time.

   [NOTE:  These procedures intentionally and explicitly do not
   establish a fixed maximum time period that shall be considered
   "reasonable" in all cases.  The Internet standards process places a
   premium on consensus and efforts to achieve it, and deliberately
   foregoes deterministically swift execution of procedures in favor of
   a latitude within which more genuine technical agreements may be

   The IAB decision is final with respect to the question of whether or
   not the Internet standards procedures have been followed and with
   respect to all questions of technical merit.

   Further recourse is available only in cases in which the procedures
   themselves (i.e., the procedures described in this document) are
   claimed to be inadequate or insufficient to the protection of the
   rights of all parties in a fair and open Internet standards process.
   Claims on this basis may be made to the Internet Society Board of
   Trustees, by formal notice to the ISOC electronic mail list.  The
   President of the Internet Society shall acknowledge such an appeal
   within two weeks, and shall at the time of acknowledgment advise the
   petitioner of the expected duration of the Trustees' review of the
   appeal (which shall be completed within a reasonable period of time).
   The Trustees' decision upon completion of their review shall be final
   with respect to all aspects of the dispute.

   At all stages of the appeals process, the individuals or bodies
   responsible for making the decisions have the discretion to define
   the specific procedures they will follow in the process of making
   their decision.


   Internet standards have generally been concerned with the technical
   specifications for hardware and software required for computer
   communication across interconnected networks.  The Internet itself is
   composed of networks operated by a great variety of organizations,
   with diverse goals and rules.  However, good user service requires

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   that the operators and administrators of the Internet follow some
   common guidelines for policies and operations. While these guidelines
   are generally different in scope and style from protocol standards,
   their establishment needs a similar process for consensus building.

6.1 BCP Review Process

   The BCP process is similar to that for proposed standards.  The BCP
   is submitted to the IESG for review, and the existing review process
   applies, including a Last-Call on the IETF announcement mailing list.
   However, once the IESG has approved the document, the process ends
   and the document is published.  The resulting document is viewed as
   having the technical approval of the IETF, but it is not, and cannot
   become an official Internet Standard.

   Specifically, a document to be considered for the status of BCP must
   undergo the procedures outlined in sections 5.1, and 5.5 of this
   document. It is also under the restrictions of section 5.2 and the
   process may be appealed according to the procedures in section 5.6.


   Many standards groups other than the IETF create and publish
   standards documents for network protocols and services.  When these
   external specifications play an important role in the Internet, it is
   desirable to reach common agreements on their usage -- i.e., to
   establish Internet Standards relating to these external

   There are two categories of external specifications:

   (1)  Open Standards

      Accredited national and international standards bodies, such as
      ANSI, ISO, IEEE, and ITU-TS, develop a variety of protocol and
      service specifications that are similar to Technical
      Specifications defined here.  National and international groups
      also publish "implementors' agreements" that are analogous to
      Applicability Statements, capturing a body of implementation-
      specific detail concerned with the practical application of their
      standards.  All of these are considered to be "open external
      standards" for the purposes of the Internet standards process.

   (2)  Vendor Specifications

      A vendor-proprietary specification that has come to be widely used
      in the Internet may be treated by the Internet community as if it

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      were a "standard".  Such a specification is not generally
      developed in an open fashion, is typically proprietary, and is
      controlled by the vendor or vendors that produced it.

   To avoid conflict between competing versions of a specification, the
   Internet community will not standardize a TS or AS that is simply an
   "Internet version" of an existing external specification unless an
   explicit cooperative arrangement to do so has been made.  However,
   there are several ways in which an external specification that is
   important for the operation and/or evolution of the Internet may be
   adopted for Internet use.

   (a)  Incorporation of an Open Standard

      An Internet Standard TS or AS may incorporate an open external
      standard by reference.  For example, many Internet Standards
      incorporate by reference the ANSI standard character set "ASCII"
      [2].  The reference must be to a specific version of the external
      standard, e.g., by publication date or by edition number,
      according to the prevailing convention of the organization that is
      responsible for the specification.  Whenever possible, the
      referenced specification shall be available online.

   (b)  Incorporation of a Vendor Specification

      Vendor-proprietary specifications may be incorporated by reference
      to a specific version of the vendor standard.  If the vendor-
      proprietary specification is not widely and readily available, the
      IESG may request that it be published as an Informational RFC.

      For a vendor-proprietary specification to be incorporated within
      the Internet standards process, the proprietor must meet the
      requirements of section 8, and the specification shall be made
      available online.

      The IESG shall not favor a particular vendor's proprietary
      specification over the technically equivalent and competing
      specification(s) of other vendors by making any incorporated
      vendor specification "required" or "recommended".

   (c)  Assumption

      An IETF Working Group may start from an external specification and
      develop it into an Internet TS or AS.  This is acceptable only if
      (1) the specification is provided to the Working Group in
      compliance with the requirements of section 8, and (2) change
      control has been conveyed to IETF by the original developer of the
      specification.  Sample text illustrating the way in which a vendor

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      might convey change control to the Internet Society is contained
      in [10].


8.1.  General Policy

   In all matters of intellectual property rights and procedures, the
   intention is to benefit the Internet community and the public at
   large, while respecting the legitimate rights of others.

8.2  Confidentiality Obligations

   No contribution that is subject to any requirement of confidentiality
   or any restriction on its dissemination may be considered in any part
   of the Internet standards process, and there must be no assumption of
   any confidentiality obligation with respect to any such contribution.

   8.3.  Rights and Permissions

   In the course of standards work, the IETF receives contributions in
   various forms and from many persons.  To best facilitate the
   dissemination of these contributions, it is necessary to understand
   any encumbrances relating to the contributions.

8.3.1.  All Contributions

   By submission of a contribution a contributor is deemed to agree to
   the following terms and conditions:

   l. Contributor grants a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free,
      world-wide right and license under any copyrights to publish and
      distribute in any way the contribution, and to develop derivative
      works that are based on or incorporate all or part of the
      contribution, and that such derivative works will inherit the
      right and license of the original contribution.

   2. The contributor acknowledges that the IETF has no duty to publish
      or otherwise use or disseminate every contribution.

   3. The contributor grants permission to reference the name(s) and
      address(s) of the contributor as well as other persons who are
      named as contributors.

   4. The contributor represents that there no limits to the
      contributor's ability to make the grants and acknowledgments above
      that are reasonably and personally known to the contributor.

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8.4.2. Standards Track Documents

   (A)  The IESG shall not approve any TS, or advance any TS along the
      standards track which can be practiced only by using technology
      that is subject to known patents or patent applications, or other
      proprietary rights, except with the prior written assurance of the
      claimer of such rights that upon approval by the IESG of the
      relevant Internet standards track TS(s), any party will be able to
      obtain the right to implement and use the technology or works
      under specified, reasonable, non-discriminatory terms.

   (B)  The IESG disclaims any responsibility for identifying the
      existence of or for evaluating the applicability of any claimed
      copyrights, patents, patent applications, or other rights in the
      fulfilling of the its obligations under (A), and will take no
      position on the validity or scope of any such rights.

8.4.3  Determination of Reasonable and Non-discriminatory Terms

   The IESG will not make any explicit determination that the assurance
   of reasonable and non-discriminatory terms for the use of a
   technology has been fulfilled in practice.  It will instead use the
   normal requirements for the advancement of Internet Standards to
   verify that the terms for use are reasonable.  If the two unrelated
   implementations of the standard that are required to advance from
   Proposed to Draft have been produced by different vendors or if the
   "significant implementation and successful operational experience"
   required to advance from Draft to full Standard has been achieved the
   assumption is that the terms must be reasonable and to some degree,
   non-discriminatory.  This assumption may be challenged during the
   Last-Call period.

8.5.  Notices

   (A)  Standards track documents shall include the following notice:

         "The IETF takes no position on the validity or scope of any
         claimed encumbrances to the implementation or use of the
         technology described in this document, nor that it has made any
         effort to identify any such encumbrances.  For further
         information on the IETF's procedures with respect to rights in
         standards and standards-related documentation, see RFC-1602bis,
         dated in the future.  Copies of all claims of encumbrances
         submitted to the IETF for posting and copies of all statements
         of the ability to obtain the right to implement and use the
         technology under specified, reasonable, non-discriminatory
         terms that have been received by the IETF referring to this
         technology may be found in the "rights" subdirectory in the RFC

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   (B)  The IETF encourages all interested parties to bring to its
      attention, at the earliest possible time, the existence of any
      encumbrances pertaining to Internet Standards.  For this purpose,
      each standards document shall include the following invitation:

         "The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its
         attention any copyrights, patents or patent applications, or
         other proprietary rights which purport to cover technology that
         may be required to practice this standard.  Please address the
         information to the Executive Director of the Internet
         Engineering Task Force."

   (C)  The following copyright notice and disclaimer shall be included
      in all ISOC standards-related documentation:

         Copyright (year) The Internet Society. All Rights Reserved.
         This document may be copied and furnished to others without
         restriction of any kind provided the document is not modified
         in any way, such as by removing this copyright notice or
         references to The Internet Society or other Internet

         The document may be modified as needed for the purpose of
         developing Internet standards provided this notice is (1)
         included in the modified document without change and (2) the
         person or organization making the modifications clearly
         identifies, within the modified document, the changes that have
         been made and who made them.

         The permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
         revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

         This document is provided on an "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET


   There have been a number of people involved with the development of
   the documents defining the IETF standards process over the years.
   The process was first described in RFC 1310 then revised in RFC 1602
   before the current effort (which relies heavily on its predecessors).
   Specific acknowledgments must be extended to Lyman Chapin, Phill

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   Gross and Christian Huitema as the editors of the previous versions,
   to Jon Postel and Dave Crocker for their inputs to those versions,
   and to Andy Ireland, Geoff Stewart, Jim Lampert and Dock Holleman for
   their reviews of the legal aspects of the procedures described

   In addition much of the credit for the refinement of the details of
   the IETF processes belongs to the many members of the various
   incarnations of the POISED working group.


   Security issues are not discussed in this memo.


   [1]  Postel, J., "Internet Official Protocol Standards", STD 1,
         USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1994.

   [2]  ANSI, Coded Character Set -- 7-Bit American Standard Code for
         Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1986.

   [3]  Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2,
         USC/Information Sciences Institute, July 1992.

   [4]  Postel, J., "Introduction to the STD Notes", RFC 1311,
         USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1992.

   [5]  Postel, J., "Instructions to RFC Authors", RFC 1543,
         USC/Information Sciences Institute, October 1993.

         ti 3 [6]  Postel, J., T. Li, and Y. Rekhter "Best Current
         Practices, RFC 1818, USC/Information Sciences Institute, Cisco
         Systems, August 1995.

   [7] foo, "Standard Form for Conveyance of Change Control to the
         Internet Society", RFC xxxx.


         Scott O. Bradner Harvard University Holyoke Center, Room 813
         1350 Mass. Ave.  Cambridge, MA  02138 USA +1 617 495 3864


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   ANSI:                           American National Standards Institute
   ARPA:                        (U.S.) Advanced Research Projects Agency
   AS:  Applicability Statement
   ASCII:             American Standard Code for Information Interchange
   ITU-TS:            Telecommunications Standardization sector of the  International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN
        treaty organization; ITU-TS was formerly called CCITT.
   IAB:                                      Internet Architecture Board
   IANA:                             Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
   IEEE:               Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
   ICMP:                               Internet Control Message Protocol
   IESG:                             Internet Engineering Steering Group
   IETF:                                 Internet Engineering Task Force
   IP:  Internet Protocol
   IRSG                                 Internet Research Steering Group
   IRTF:                                    Internet Research Task Force
   ISO: International Organization for Standardization
   ISOC:                                                Internet Society
   MIB: Management Information Base
   OSI: Open Systems Interconnection
   RFC: Request for Comments
   TCP: Transmission Control Protocol
   TS:  Technical Specification

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