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Appeal to the IAB on the site-local issue (Tony Hain) - 2003-10-09
Appeal - 2003-10-09

Appeal to IAB concerning the IPv6 WG decision on site-local addresses.

Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 16:59:38 -0700
From: "Tony Hain" <>
To: "IAB" <>
Cc: "The IESG" <>, <>, "IETF" <>
Subject: Appeal to the IAB on the site-local issue

I am saddened that it has come to this, but the IESG action has simply prolonged the process. The only clarity in their ‘…somewhere to the left…’ justification is their willingness to let personal technical biases blind them to the process failure. As such, please consider this note to be an appeal to the IAB against the IESG decision to reject my appeal.

Contrary to their claim, the full spectrum of choices was not presented at the SF meeting. Then, if it weren’t for the seriousness of the issue, their inability to do a quick check of the Atlanta minutes (which shows that 125 attendees were against complete removal, not the limited model) would be humorous. In response to the overwhelming rejection of her preferred path, in Atlanta the chair declared ‘The wg has agreed we don’t want to remove them completely …’ so there was no documentation developed discussing the impacts of complete removal. Therefore there could be no substantive presentation of that position. As noted in my original 4/10/2003 appeal to the chairs, the mail list claims that the RFC 3513 Site-Local addresses ‘have issues that outweigh the benefits’, or ‘does not meet the requirements’ are invalid because there was no document listing the requirements, therefore no way to conduct an evaluation which would justify those positions.

This lack of documentation became acute when the participants from the applications area were invited to join in the discussion. While I acknowledge that cross area participation helps refine the specifications (and had personally been lobbying the Apps Area to participate), that refinement only happens through extended discussion and informed debate. An hour and twenty minutes of inciting the mob does not constitute informed discussion. In fact 10 minutes before the question, Dave Thaler pointed out there was no draft about elimination, but that detail was ignored by the chair. Shortly after that, Brian Carpenter pointed out that he couldn’t vote for keeping SL unless he knew the details of that outcome, to which the chair eventually countered we don’t have any details about what it means to remove them either and ‘we may have to wave our hands around a little bit’. The chair chose to conduct the vote with no clear outcome for either position, leaving the result that the chair could later tell the working group what it had decided.

The further comment by the IESG that the action has resulted in working group activity to address the issues is equally flawed. There were attempts to disambiguate the FEC0 space prior to the SF fiasco, but those were consistently savaged by those who want nothing more than to declare the routing space to be globally flat by IETF fiat. Those same people are working to prevent a different form of local prefix from being defined, and now are feeling emboldened as it appears that this current work is an addition to the architecture rather than a refinement. Which returns us to the ambiguity of the original question, was this a vote about removing ambiguity from the site-local prefix, or removing limited routing scope from the architecture? People expressed opinions about each of those as the basis of their yes vote, but the scope of routing is an operational decision of network managers, therefore not something the IETF gets to decide. Since the votes were mixed as a common Yes, the vote must be invalidated.

At every step, this exercise has exposed failures in how the IETF conducts its business. It is now up to the IAB to recommend that the IESG go back, *seriously* set aside their technical biases, and reconsider the process breakdowns. Anything less and we set the precedent that it really doesn’t matter how badly a chair abuses the process as long as the IESG agrees with the outcome.


FYI: video of the SF session:

The IESG has reviewed the appeal by Tony Hain of the IPv6 Working Group chairs’ declaration of consensus on the issue of site local addresses in the IPv6 address architecture.

Tony’s appeal requests that the declaration of consensus be overturned due to the ambiguity of the question asked.

As is to be expected of a technical discussion where there are many opinions, the discussion of the site-local issue at the San Francisco IETF meeting went all over the map, with many unanswered questions. However, the question asked by the chairs, with clarification from the AD, was clear. “Does the group want to go away from site-local addressing, deprecate it, work out how to get it out, [or] does the group want to keep it and figure out what the right usage model is for it?” The clarifying statement was “Deprecate […] means somewhere to the left of the ‘limited use’ model?” The spectrum of choices, including the ‘limited use’ model, had been presented during that same meeting. Although the group had decided to rule out the ‘limited use’ model (and presumably anything to the left of it as well) in Atlanta, nothing precludes new information from prompting a review of old decisions.

The question posed on the list was more concise, simply “Should we deprecate IPv6 site-local unicast addressing?” This question is not ambiguous.

The deprecation of site-local addresses in their current form has served a useful role in forcing the working group to recognize the problems that the original definition had and work to address them. The IESG finds nothing unusual about how the question was asked or how the working group has proceeded.

There is strong consensus in the IESG that deprecation is the correct technical decision, but we have done our best to separate our technical preferences from the process issue in considering this appeal.

In summary, the IESG upholds the chairs’ and INT ADs’ decisions.