[rfc-i] RFC citations committee I-D issued

Henning Schulzrinne hgs at cs.columbia.edu
Fri Feb 11 18:44:44 PST 2011


I wonder if you've talked to a patent lawyer, librarian or historian of technology about your position.

There is demonstrated value in being able to retrieve old ideas, even if only for giving proper credit and keeping the patent trolls at bay. And non-preserved IETF mailing lists have made life more difficult in patent cases - I've been there.

The notion that an author would hesitate to commit an idea as an I-D because it persists more than six months seems pure conjecture. It would be useful to cite some evidence for this. In any event, any author who relies on that to protect his reputation or anything else clearly has a limited understanding of the persistence of I-Ds or anything else that is stored on somebody else's disk or indexed by Google.

Just because not all IETF mailing lists are preserved and not all I-Ds will survive forever means that deliberately destroying them is a good idea. 

For centuries, we've had various degrees of conservation, ranging from no efforts for ephemera to the Gutenberg bible. Quite a few historians are grateful today that completely worthless invoices and bills of lading were preserved...

This does not mean that we give every grocery bill or email an ISBN number and a permanent place in the Library of Congress.

Henning

On Feb 11, 2011, at 9:15 PM, Joe Touch wrote:

> 
> 
> On 2/11/2011 5:48 PM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> On 2/11/2011 5:18 PM, Joe Touch wrote:
>>> I don't think the I-D process is designed to ensure the right of
>>> others to
>>> revive old work.
>> 
>> 
>> Joe, I am reasonably certain that you are expressing views held by a
>> measurable constituency in the IETF.
>> 
>> What I am having difficulty with is understanding how such an
>> entrenched, counter-productive position is at all helpful for the IETF.
> 
> I think you may underestimate the value of I-Ds being deliberately ephemeral, as encouraging early dissemination of rough ideas.
> 
> Nobody expects email archives to persist forever, or to cite them as persistent. Nobody bemoans the "rights" of the community to revive ideas expressed in email.
> 
> IMO, I-Ds are just a larger format of a form of expression like e-mail.
> 
> Make them archival and persistent, and you risk squelching the very reason they are NOT RFCs; the ability to cast an idea out *without* it "haunting" the author forever.
> 
> Yes, I think that property is a valuable, if not *defining* property of an I-D, and yes, I think *it* is worth preserving.
> 
> Take that away, and let's just call everything an RFC and move on.
> 
> Joe
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