[Docs] [txt|pdf] [Tracker] [Email] [Diff1] [Diff2] [Nits]

Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 RFC 4897

Network Working Group                                         J. Klensin
Internet-Draft                                         December 18, 2006
Expires: June 21, 2007


          A Process Experiment in Normative Reference Handling
                     draft-klensin-norm-ref-02.txt

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
   applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
   have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
   aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-
   Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/ietf/1id-abstracts.txt.

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/shadow.html.

   This Internet-Draft will expire on June 21, 2007.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2006).

Abstract

   The IETF and RFC Editor have a long-standing rule that a document at
   a given maturity level cannot be published until all documents it
   references as normative are at that maturity level or higher.  This
   rule has sometimes resulted in very long publication delays for
   documents and some claims that it was a major obstruction to
   advancing documents in maturity level.  The IETF agreed to a way to
   bypass this rule with RFC 3967.  This document proposes a one-year
   process experiment in which the "hold on normative reference" rule
   will be replaced by a "note downward normative reference and move on"



Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 1]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


   approach.


Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   3.  Proposal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
     3.1.  Source Documents Not Yet Processed by the IESG  . . . . . . 4
     3.2.  Documents Already in RFC Editor Queue . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   4.  Target Documents that Can Be Referenced This Way  . . . . . . . 4
   5.  Target documents not on the standards track . . . . . . . . . . 5
   6.  Discussion of Experiment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   9.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   10. Changes for version -02 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   11. Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements  . . . . . . . . . . 8































Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 2]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


1.  Introduction

   The IETF and RFC Editor have a long-standing rule (see, e.g., RFC
   2026, Section 4.2.4 [RFC2026] and the extended discussion in RFC 3967
   [RFC3967]) that a document at a given maturity level cannot be
   published until all documents it references as normative are at that
   maturity level or higher.  This rule has sometimes resulted in very
   long publication delays for documents and some claims that it was a
   major obstruction to advancing documents in maturity level.
   Recognizing the problems that rule sometimes caused, RFC 3967
   established an exception procedure for normative downward references
   under some specific circumstances.  Perhaps because of its fairly
   stringent requirements, RFC 3967 has not proven adequate either to
   clear the backlog of documents awaiting upgraded documents or to
   prevent additional documents from joining that queue.

   This document assumes that downward references are possible only to
   standards-track documents (including BCPs) that are already
   published.  While downward references to, e.g., Internet Drafts, are
   theoretically possible, they are not contemplated here.

   This document proposes a one-year process experiment in which the
   "hold on normative reference" rule will be replaced by a "note
   downward normative reference and move on" approach.


2.  Terminology

   A reference involves two documents, the one in which the reference is
   embedded and the document referenced.  Where needed for clarity,
   these documents are referred to as the "source document" and "target
   document" respectively.

   The term "standards track document", as used in this specification,
   is assumed to include BCPs but not Informational or Experimental
   documents of any variety or origin.


3.  Proposal

   This document specifies a one-year RFC 3933 [RFC3933] process
   experiment (see the next section) that creates an alternative to
   holding source documents until all target documents referenced
   normatively are upgraded or by applying the procedure of RFC 3967.







Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 3]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


3.1.  Source Documents Not Yet Processed by the IESG

   An author or editor who requires a normative downward reference uses
   the following very simple procedure:

   o  The reference text (i.e., in the "Normative References" section of
      the source document) is written as usual.
   o  A note is included in the reference text that indicates that the
      reference is to a target document of a lower maturity level, that
      some caution should be used since it may be less stable than the
      document from which it is being referenced, and, optionally,
      explaining why the downward reference is appropriate.

   The IESG may, at its discretion, specify the exact text to be used.

   These annotations are part of the source document.  If members of the
   community consider either the downward reference or the annotation
   text to be inappropriate, those issues can be raised at any time in
   the document life cycle, just as with any other text in the document.
   There is no separate review on these references.

   At the option of the author, similar notes may be attached to non-
   normative references.

3.2.  Documents Already in RFC Editor Queue

   The IESG may, at its discretion, specify a procedure to be applied to
   source documents that are already in the RFC Editor queue, awaiting
   target referenced documents.  That procedure might involve asking the
   RFC Editor to apply an appropriate annotation to all such documents,
   or to a selective list of documents.  It might alternately involve
   the application of some additional review process to those documents,
   such as by directorates or other AD-appointed review committees,
   working group chairs, or appointed experts, each subject to appeal.
   That list of options is not intended to limit what the IESG might
   specify, but to give some indication of possibilities.  While nothing
   in this document would prevent the IESG from concluding that each
   document now on hold for normative references to published target
   documents at a lower maturity level should be put through an
   additional Last Call to eliminate the restriction, that decision
   would definitely not be in the spirit of the experiment proposed
   here.


4.  Target Documents that Can Be Referenced This Way

   The "downward reference by annotation" model specified here is
   applicable only to published standards track RFCs at lower maturity



Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 4]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


   levels.  If references are needed to informational document, the
   procedures specified in RFC 3967 MUST be used for downward references
   (see Section 5).

   Obviously such downward references are part of the relevant source
   document at IETF Last Call and subject to comments from the
   community.

   Advancing documents, when appropriate, is still considered preferable
   to the use of either this procedure or the one specified in RFC 3967.
   This specification does not impose a specific test or requirement to
   determine appropriateness, partially because it would be impossible
   to do so for the general case, but the intention is to permit the
   IESG and the community to balance the importance of getting a source
   document published against the time and difficulty associated with
   upgrading a target document.  That requirement is intended to be less
   stringent than the one of RFC 3967.


5.  Target documents not on the standards track

   For consistency, in the case of a normative reference to a document
   not on the standards track that is approved under the procedures
   defined in RFC 3967, the annotation described in Section 3.1, or the
   retrospective annotation described in Section 3.2, SHOULD be added to
   the reference unless the IESG, after consideration of Last Call
   input, concludes it is inappropriate.


6.  Discussion of Experiment

   Several claims have been made about problems that are being caused by
   the "no downward references" rule.  The number of documents waiting
   for lower-maturity documents in the RFC Editor queue is objective and
   easily-measured.  But claims about how many documents would be
   completed and processed to higher maturity levels if the normative
   reference rule were eliminated are impossible to validate without
   this type of experiment.  Consequently, this experiment should serve
   three purposes:

   1.  Prevent any new documents from entering the "hold for normative
       reference" queue for standards-track documents already published
       (see Section 4) unless there is an explicit decision made that
       doing so is desirable.
   2.  At the option of the IESG, and under rules it adopts, clear the
       RFC Editor's current "hold for normative reference" queue of
       documents that reference appropriate target document already
       published or approved.



Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 5]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


   3.  Permit the community to examine questions of how much effective
       elimination of the normative reference rule increases document
       throughput and the number of documents being advanced.

   Should the community conclude that the experiment had undesirable
   impacts, i.e., that a more traditional view of downward references
   was appropriate, we will have some set of documents that will have
   been approved and published under these rules.  It might then be
   appropriate to note in the various indexes that those documents
   contained dependencies that would not generally be acceptable, at
   least until those dependencies were resolved.

   At the end of the year, if the IESG judges that the experiment has
   been a success, the procedure may be used for a further six months to
   allow time for the drafting of a suitable BCP.


7.  Security Considerations

   This document specifies an IETF procedure.  It is not believed to
   raise any security issues although, in principle, relaxing the
   normative downward reference rules for references associated with
   security mechanisms could make a specification less stable and hence
   less secure.


8.  IANA Considerations

   This document requires no actions by the IANA.


9.  Acknowledgments

   This proposal was suggested by a comment by Spencer Dawkins and many
   complaints about the negative impact of the current rules.  The
   author is unsure about the validity of some of those complaints; the
   proposal is, in part, a way to test the validity question.  Spencer
   also provided helpful comments on a preliminary draft.  It was
   revised in response to extensive discussion in the IESG and benefited
   significantly by comments by Brian Carpenter.


10.  Changes for version -02

   [[anchor8: RFC Editor, please remove this section.]]

   The proposal has been significantly trimmed based on discussion with
   the IESG during and after Last Call.  In particular, the provisions



Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 6]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


   for downward references to approved, but unpublished, Internet-Drafts
   and for references to Informational documents have been removed.  The
   revised procedure applies only to published standards-track documents
   at a lower maturity level.

   Because of these changes, a section has been added that updates RFC
   3967 to add annotations parallel to those specified here if that
   procedure is used.

   Some editorial corrections have also been made to improve clarity.


11.  Normative References

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [RFC3933]  Klensin, J. and S. Dawkins, "A Model for IETF Process
              Experiments", BCP 93, RFC 3933, November 2004.

   [RFC3967]  Bush, R. and T. Narten, "Clarifying when Standards Track
              Documents may Refer Normatively to Documents at a Lower
              Level", BCP 97, RFC 3967, December 2004.


Author's Address

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

   Phone: +1 617 491 5735
   Email: john-ietf@jck.com

















Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 7]

Internet-Draft            Normative References             December 2006


Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2006).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
   contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
   retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an
   "AS IS" basis and THE CONTRIBUTOR, THE ORGANIZATION HE/SHE REPRESENTS
   OR IS SPONSORED BY (IF ANY), THE INTERNET SOCIETY, THE IETF TRUST AND
   THE INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS
   OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF
   THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED
   WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.


Intellectual Property

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   Intellectual Property Rights or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; nor does it represent that it has
   made any independent effort to identify any such rights.  Information
   on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC documents can be
   found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
   assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an
   attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the use of
   such proprietary rights by implementers or users of this
   specification can be obtained from the IETF on-line IPR repository at
   http://www.ietf.org/ipr.

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights that may cover technology that may be required to implement
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF at
   ietf-ipr@ietf.org.


Acknowledgment

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is provided by the IETF
   Administrative Support Activity (IASA).





Klensin                   Expires June 21, 2007                 [Page 8]


Html markup produced by rfcmarkup 1.109, available from https://tools.ietf.org/tools/rfcmarkup/