The Tao of IETF - A Novice's Guide to the Internet Engineering Task Force
RFC 3160

Document Type RFC - Informational (August 2001; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 4677
Obsoletes RFC 1718
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
Formats plain text pdf html bibtex
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG IESG state RFC 3160 (Informational)
Consensus Boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
Network Working Group                                          S. Harris
Request for Comments: 3160                                 Merit Network
FYI: 17                                                      August 2001
Obsoletes: 1718
Category: Informational

    The Tao of IETF - A Novice's Guide to the Internet Engineering
                               Task Force

Status of this Memo

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

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2001).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This document describes the inner workings of IETF meetings and
   Working Groups, discusses organizations related to the IETF, and
   introduces the standards process.

Table of Contents

   Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   1. What Is the IETF?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
      1.1 Humble Beginnings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
      1.2 The Hierarchy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
          1.2.1 ISOC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
          1.2.2 IESG . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . .   6
          1.2.3 IAB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
          1.2.4 IANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
          1.2.5 RFC Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
          1.2.6 IETF Secretariat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
      1.3  IETF Mailing Lists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   2.  IETF Meetings   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       2.1 Registration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       2.2 Newcomers' Orientation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       2.3 Dress Code. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       2.4 Seeing Spots Before Your Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       2.5 Terminal Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       2.6 Meals and Other Delights. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       2.7 Social Event. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14

Harris                       Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 3160                    The Tao of IETF                  August 2001

       2.8 Agenda. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       2.9 Where Do I Fit In?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
           2.9.1  IS Managers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
           2.9.2  Network Operators and ISPs . . . . . . . . . . .  15
           2.9.3  Networking Hardware and Software Vendors . . . .  15
           2.9.4  Academics  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
           2.9.5  Computer Trade Press . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
       2.10 Proceedings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
       2.11 Other General Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   3.  Working Groups. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
       3.1 Working Group Chairs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
       3.2 Getting Things Done in a Working Group. . . . . . . . .  19
       3.3 Preparing for Working Group Meetings    . . . . . . . .  19
       3.4 Working Group Mailing Lists   . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
       3.5 Interim Working Group Meetings  . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   4.  BOFs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   5.  New to the IETF?  STOP HERE! (Temporarily). . . . . . . . .  22
   6.  RFCs and Internet Drafts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       6.1 Getting a Standard Published  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       6.2 Letting Go Gracefully . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
       6.3 Internet Drafts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
           6.3.1 Recommended Reading for Writers . . . . . . . . .  25
           6.3.2 Filenames and Other Matters . . . . . . . . . . .  26
       6.4 Standards-Track RFCs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
           6.4.1 Telling It Like It Is -- Using MUST and
                 SHOULD and MAY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
           6.4.2 Normative References in Standards . . . . . . . .  28
           6.4.3 IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  29
           6.4.4 Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . .  29
           6.4.5 Patents in IETF Standards . . . . . . . . . . . .  30
       6.5 Informational and Experimental RFCs . . . . . . . . . .  31
   7. How to Contribute to the IETF -- What You Can Do . . . . . .  31
       7.1  What Your Company Can Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32
   8. IETF and the Outside World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  33
       8.1 IETF and Other Standards Groups . . . . . . . . . . . .  33
       8.2 Press Coverage of the IETF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  33
   9. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
Show full document text