[rfc-i] 'gaps' in the RFC index

Alfred =?hp-roman8?B?SM5uZXM=?= ah at TR-Sys.de
Fri Oct 2 02:19:07 PDT 2009


Hello again,
as some kind of update to previous messages to the RFC Editor
and/or the rfc-interest list, I would like to once more point out
a sustained deficiency of the RFC metadata and index.

(The most recent one of these -- roughly annual -- reminders was:
  > From: ah at TR-Sys.de
  > To: rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org
  > Message-Id: <200805161820.UAA06323 at TR-Sys.de>
  > Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 20:20:24 +0200 (MESZ)
)

The RFC index used to document which RFC numbers have never been
issued (and will not be issued any more).  To this end, the
"rfc-index.txt" file, as indicated in its preface, contains
entries of the form:

  #### Not Issued.

and these entries appear in the XML version of the RFC index as:

  <rfc-not-issued-entry>
      <doc-id>RFC####</doc-id>
  </rfc-not-issued-entry>

Unfortunately, the useful practice to insert such entries has
been ceased gradually during the last years.  The last such entry
added was for RFC 4637, but there are many gaps left open earlier
as well.

It would be appreciated very much for clarity and visibility
if decisions to not publish RFCs with specific numbers were made
visible in the RFC metadata, in this established tradition.

The upcoming transition of the RFC Editor function might be a
good opportunity to perform such cleanup.

There are three classes of RFC numbers missing from the RFC index
(list current up to RFC number 5650, omitting documents in AUTH48):

a)  RFC xx00  (STD 1)  series:

                                                        3800, 3900,
        4000, 4100, 4200, 4300, 4400, 4500, 4600, 4700, 4800, 4900,
              5100, 5200, 5300, 5400, 5500, 5600

b)  RFC xx99  (Summary)  series:

                          3399,             3699, 3799, 3899, 3999,
        4099, 4199, 4299, 4399, 4499, 4599, 4699, 4799, 4899, 4999,
        5099, 5199, 5299, 5399, 5499, 5599

c)  sporadic numbers:

        3333, 3350, 3907, 3908,
        4232, 4658, 4751, 4921, 4922, 4989,
        5245, 5312, 5313, 5314, 5315, 5319, 5522, 5644

Discussion:

Re a)

RFC 5000 has been published, its predecessor was RFC 3700.
Remarkably, RFC numbers 3100, 3200, 3400, and 3500 indeed are
already listed as "Not Issued".
It is not expected that the other gaps in the RFC xx00 series will
be filled; a future STD 1 (if any) will likely be assigned a higher,
then 'current' RFC number.
So most likely the decision has been made to _not_ fill the gaps
mentioned above in group a) any more.

Hence, I suggest to formally 'close' these gaps by establishing
"Not Issued" entries.

Additionally, if the old RFC xx00 practice is confirmed as ceased
definitely, the xx00 numbers might become candidates for assignment
to 'normal' documents in the future.

Re b)

Apparently, RFC 3399 once has been delayed waiting for a decision
on RFC 3333 being published or not.  I assume that RFC 3333 will
_not_ be published any more.  So for the sake of continuity,
preferably the draft for RFC 3399 (reportedly, it exists)
should be finalized and published.

This would provide for a continuous style up to RFC 3599.

The decision to not publish more recent xx99 RFCs any more has
never been announced firmly.

I suggest that either this decision be made now and corresponding
"Not Issued" entries be filed for RFC xx99 with 'xx' > 35, or else
it be confirmed on the list that the decision is still left open.

Additionally, if the old RFC xx99 practice is confirmed as ceased
definitely, the xx99 numbers might become candidates for assignment
to 'normal' documents in the future.

Re c)

Many of the RFC numbers listed above correspond to 'late' DNP
decisions; sometimes successors have been produced before the
RFCs could be published (e.g. 3907/3908).

I conjecture that for the majority of RFC numbers listed above
(perhaps with exceptions for some 5??? numbers in the 3rd line),
the decision already has been made, or can be made now, whether
or not that number is still regarded for assignment to a document.

In the former case, that should be documented by filing the
corresponding "Not Issued" entry.


Kind regards,
  Alfred HÎnes.

-- 

+------------------------+--------------------------------------------+
| TR-Sys Alfred Hoenes   |  Alfred Hoenes   Dipl.-Math., Dipl.-Phys.  |
| Gerlinger Strasse 12   |  Phone: (+49)7156/9635-0, Fax: -18         |
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