RFC Series Format Requirements and Future Development
RFC 6949

Document Type RFC - Informational (May 2013; No errata)
Updates RFC 2223
Last updated 2013-05-14
Stream IAB
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Stream IAB state Published RFC
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RFC Editor Note (None)
Internet Architecture Board (IAB)                            H. Flanagan
Request for Comments: 6949                             RFC Series Editor
Updates: 2223                                                N. Brownlee
Category: Informational                   Independent Submissions Editor
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                 May 2013

         RFC Series Format Requirements and Future Development

Abstract

   This document describes the current requirements and requests for
   enhancements for the format of the canonical version of RFCs.  Terms
   are defined to help clarify exactly which stages of document
   production are under discussion for format changes.  The requirements
   described in this document will determine what changes will be made
   to RFC format.  This document updates RFC 2223.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
   and represents information that the IAB has deemed valuable to
   provide for permanent record.  It represents the consensus of the
   Internet Architecture Board (IAB).  Documents approved for
   publication by the IAB are not a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6949.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 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
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

Brownlee & Flanagan           Informational                     [Page 1]
RFC 6949             RFC Series Format Requirements             May 2013

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
      1.1. Terminology ................................................3
   2. History and Goals ...............................................4
      2.1. Issues Driving Change ......................................5
           2.1.1. ASCII Art ...........................................5
           2.1.2. Character Encoding ..................................6
           2.1.3. Pagination ..........................................7
           2.1.4. Reflowable Text .....................................8
           2.1.5. Metadata and Tagging ................................8
      2.2. Further Considerations .....................................9
           2.2.1. Creation and Use of RFC-Specific Tools ..............9
           2.2.2. Markup Language ....................................10
      2.3. RFC Editor Goals ..........................................10
   3. Format Requirements ............................................10
      3.1. Original Requirements to Be Retained ......................10
      3.2. Requirements to Be Added ..................................11
      3.3. Requirements to Be Retired ................................12
   4. Security Considerations ........................................13
   5. Informative References .........................................13
   6. Acknowledgements ...............................................13

1  Introduction

   Over 40 years ago, the RFC Series began as a collection of memos in
   an environment that included handwritten RFCs, typewritten RFCs, RFCs
   produced on mainframes with complicated layout tools, and more.  As
   the tools changed and some of the source formats became unreadable,
   the core individuals behind the Series realized that a common format
   that could be read, revised, and archived long in the future was
   required.  US-ASCII was chosen for the encoding of characters, and
   after a period of variability, a well-defined presentation format was
   settled upon.  That format has proved to be persistent and reliable
   across a large variety of devices, operating systems, and editing
   tools.  That stability has been a continuing strength of the Series.
   However, as new technology, such as small devices and advances in
   display technology, comes into common usage, there is a growing
   desire to see the format of the RFC Series adapt to take advantage of
   these different ways to communicate information.

   Since the format stabilized, authors and readers have suggested
   enhancements to the format.  However, no suggestion developed clear
   consensus in the Internet technical community.  As always, some
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