The Tao of the IETF: A Guide for New Attendees of the Internet Engineering Task Force
RFC 1391

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 1993; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 1539
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                          G. Malkin
Request for Comments: 1391                                Xylogics, Inc.
FYI: 17                                                     January 1993

                            The Tao of IETF
    A Guide for New Attendees of the Internet Engineering Task Force

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is
   unlimited.

Abstract

   Over the last two years, the attendance at Internet Engineering Task
   Force (IETF) Plenary meetings has grown phenomenally.  Approximately
   38% of the attendees are new to the IETF at each meeting.  About 33%
   of those go on to become regular attendees.  When the meetings were
   smaller, it wasn't very difficult for a newcomer to get to know
   people and get into the swing of things.  Today, however, a newcomer
   meets many more new people, some previously known only as the authors
   of Request For Comments (RFC) documents or thought provoking email
   messages.

   The purpose of this For Your Information (FYI) RFC is to explain to
   the newcomers how the IETF works.  This will give them a warm, fuzzy
   feeling and enable them to make the meeting more productive for
   everyone.  This FYI will also provide the mundane bits of information
   which everyone who attends an IETF meeting should know.

Acknowledgments

   The IETF Secretariat is made up of the following people: Steve Coya
   (Executive Director of the IETF), Cynthia Clark, Megan Davies, Debra
   Legare, and Greg Vaudreuil.  These are the people behind the
   Registration Table, and the success, of the IETF meetings.  I thank
   them for their hard work, and for their input and review of this
   document.  Thanks also to Vinton Cerf, Phillip Gross, and Craig
   Partridge for their review and comments.  And, as always, special
   thanks to April Marine and Skippy.

   I would also like to thank the management of Xylogics for their
   strong, continuing support of my IETF activities.

Internet Engineering Task Force                                 [Page 1]
RFC 1391                    The Tao of IETF                 January 1993

Table of Contents

   Section 1 - The "Fun" Stuff
      What is the IETF? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
      Humble Beginnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      The Hierarchy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      IETF Mailing Lists  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
      Registration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      Dress Code  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
      Seeing Spots Before Your Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
      Terminal Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      Social Event  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      Agenda  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      Other General Things  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8

   Section 2 - The "You've got to know it" Stuff
      Registration Bullets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
      Mailing Lists and Archives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
      Important Email Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
      IETF Proceedings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
      Be Prepared . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
      RFCs and Internet-Drafts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
      Frequently Asked Questions (and Their Answers)  . . . . . . . 13
      Pointers to Useful Documents and Files  . . . . . . . . . . . 14

   Section 3 - The "Reference" Stuff
      Tao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
      IETF Area Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
      Acronyms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
      References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
      Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
      Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

What is the IETF?

   The IETF is the protocol engineering, development, and
   standardization arm of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).  Its
   mission includes:

   o  Identifying, and proposing solutions to, pressing operational and
      technical problems in the Internet;

   o  Specifying the development or usage of protocols and the near-term
      architecture to solve such technical problems for the Internet;

   o  Making recommendations to the IAB regarding standardization of
      protocols and protocol usage in the Internet;

Internet Engineering Task Force                                 [Page 2]
RFC 1391                    The Tao of IETF                 January 1993

   o  Facilitating technology transfer from the Internet Research Task
      Force (IRTF) to the wider Internet community; and
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