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Versions: 00 01 02                                                      
Network Working Group                                         J. Klensin
Internet-Draft                                              July 1, 2018
Updates: 1311, 2026 (if approved)
Intended status: Best Current Practice
Expires: January 2, 2019


                STD Numbers and the IETF Standards Track
                      draft-klensin-std-numbers-02

Abstract

   STD numbers are assigned to IETF Standards Track specifications in
   order to provide a stable reference even when RFCs are revised and
   the underlying documents change.  However, the numbers are only
   assigned when the specifications reach Full Standard maturity level,
   significantly reducing their utility in the contemporary world in
   which few specifications advance beyond the first standardization
   maturity level.  For that reason, one recent proposal suggested
   eliminating the numbers entirely.  This document argues that stable
   references for Standards Track specifications are actually useful and
   that the solution is not to abolish the numbers but to change the
   point at which they are assigned.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on January 2, 2019.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2018 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents



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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction and Rationale  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Proposal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  Changes to RFC 2026 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  RFC 1311 Changes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Transition  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction and Rationale

   Note in Draft: With the exception of date, file name info, updated
   references, and this paragraph, this version of this I-D is identical
   to the one posted on 14 February 2011.  In particular, to discussion
   of XML2RFC capabilities has not been updated to reflect new XML2RFC
   definitions and tools and terms like "recent" may need to be
   interpreted in the 2011 context.  It is provided for the convenience
   of the "RFCplusplus" BOF at IETF 102 in support of the hypothesis
   that, if a set of new numbering series are a solution to the
   perceived problem, then overlaying those numbers on the archival RFC
   numbers is likely to be a more realistic experiment than the one
   outlined in the bOF proposal.

   STD numbers [1] are assigned to IETF Standards Track specifications
   in order to provide a stable reference even when RFCs are revised and
   the underlying documents change.  However, as specified in BCP 9 [1],
   the numbers are only assigned when the specifications reach Full
   Standard maturity level, significantly reducing their utility in the
   contemporary world in which few specifications advance beyond the
   first ("Proposed") standardization level.  For that reason, an early
   version of one recent proposal suggested eliminating the numbers
   entirely.  The more recent version, approved and published as RFC
   6410 [5], leaves the question open, but poses the question as a




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   choice between elimination of the STD numbers and retaining the
   current system.

   This document argues that stable references for Standards Track
   specifications are actually useful and that the solution is neither
   to abolish the numbers nor to retain the assignment only to Full
   Standards specified in RFC 2026, but to change the point at which
   they are assigned.

   We note that similar stable references have proven to be very useful
   in the BCP case and might be even more useful if better supported by
   available tools (there are no provisions in xml2rfc (RFC 2629 et seq.
   [3]) for easily constructing references to multiple-document BCPs or
   STDs, nor does the current RFC Style Manual provide guidance as to
   how such references should be laid out).

   Note in Draft: The author strongly prefers a more comprehensive
   solution to current perceived problems with maturity levels and STD
   numbers, a solution such as that described in [6], but it seems
   useful to get a narrowly-scoped proposal about STD numbers on the
   table at this time.

2.  Proposal

2.1.  Changes to RFC 2026

   Update RFC 2026, BCP 9, as follows:

   Section 2.1, paragraph 5
      Change: "Some RFCs document Internet Standards"
      To: "Some RFCs document IETF Standards at various maturity
      lavels".

      Change the note: "(see section 4.1.3)"
      To: "(see Section 4)"

   Section 4  Add a new paragraph after the first paragraph of this
      section ("Specifications that are intended to become...") that
      reads:

      A specification that reaches the status of Proposed Standard is
      assigned a number in the STD series.  It retains that STD number
      as it progresses along the Standards Track (that progression
      usually involves a change in RFC numbers).  The STD number is also
      retained when the relevant protocol is updated or replaced for
      other reasons (see [2]).





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   Section 4.1.3  Remove the second paragraph, which begins "A
      specification that reaches..."

2.2.  RFC 1311 Changes

   Informally, this document also updates the Informational RFC 1311 to
   make it refer to all Standards Track documents.  It may be useful to
   replace RFC 1311 at some point, but that should not be a high-
   priority task, nor should it block approval of the change suggested
   in this document.

3.  Transition

   STD numbers are useful for documentation and other references.
   Whether they are assigned or not does not change the actual status of
   any given document.  STD numbers have historically been assigned by
   the RFC Editor and this document does not propose to change that
   responsibility (even though, in the current multi-stream model for
   RFCs, having them assigned by the Secretariat under IESG supervision
   might make more sense).  In the interest of avoiding both heavyweight
   processes and the need for a period of concentrated effort, STD
   numbers will be assigned only when:

   1.  A new Standards Track specification is published, at any maturity
       level.

   2.  An update or replacement is published for a Standards track
       specification for which an STD number has not already been
       assigned, specifically including changes or grade or recycling in
       grade.  Authors, WGs, or ADs responsible for such specifications
       are strongly encouraged to supply the RFC Editor with any desired
       grouping information, i.e., the identification of specifications
       that should also be assigned the same STD number.

   3.  On the request of any Area Director who concludes that assignment
       of an STD number to a particular specification or group of
       specifications would facilitate documentation, understanding of
       the specification, or other uses.  Especially when the number is
       to be assigned to a group of specifications, Area Directors are
       encouraged to seek community input on the decisions being made,
       but neither such input nor a more formal Last Call are required
       by this document.

   This transition approach explicitly recognizes the principle that STD
   numbers that would not be used need not be assigned and that not
   assigning them does no harm.  It prefers a "when approved" approach
   for new specification and a "just in time" one for existing
   specifications.



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4.  Acknowledgements

   This document is an intellectual descendant of a NEWTRK WG
   specification called "Identifying Standards Track Documents" [4].  It
   differs from that specification largely by suggesting an even
   lighter-weight transition process.  The present work would not have
   been possible without those earlier discussions.

5.  IANA Considerations

   [[CREF1: RFC Editor: Please remove this section before publication.]]

   This memo includes no requests to or actions for IANA.

6.  Security Considerations

   This document affects an IETF administrative procedure and has no
   direct effect on the Security of the Internet.  However, better use
   of stable identifiers for Standards Track document and related groups
   of such documents may make critical information easier to find.
   That, may, in turn, have positive security implications.

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [1]        Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, DOI 10.17487/RFC2026, October 1996,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2026>.

7.2.  Informative References

   [2]        Postel, J., "Introduction to the STD Notes", RFC 1311,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC1311, March 1992,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1311>.

   [3]        Rose, M., "Writing I-Ds and RFCs using XML", RFC 2629,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2629, June 1999,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2629>.

   [4]        Klensin, J., "Identifying Standards Track Documents",
              February 2006, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/
              draft-ietf-newtrk-docid/>.

   [5]        Housley, R., Crocker, D., and E. Burger, "Reducing the
              Standards Track to Two Maturity Levels", BCP 9, RFC 6410,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6410, October 2011,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6410>.



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   [6]        Klensin, J., "Internet Standards Documentation (ISDs) and
              Maturity Levels", July 2010,
              <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-klensin-isdbis/>.

Author's Address

   John C Klensin
   1770 Massachusetts Ave, Ste 322
   Cambridge, MA  02140
   USA

   Phone: +1 617 245 1457
   Email: john-ietf@jck.com






































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