[rfc-i] Does the canonical RFC format need to be "readable" by developers and others?

Yoav Nir ynir at checkpoint.com
Thu Jun 21 14:00:36 PDT 2012

On Jun 21, 2012, at 10:05 PM, Paul Hoffman wrote:

> Greetings again. Andrew's and Yoav's last comments indicate a dislike for the idea that the canonical RFC format might be "code" like HTML or XML because those formats are not meant for reading. My proposal for "one canonical, many display" formats assumes that anyone who wants to read an RFC will read it in a format they like, and that format is not likely to be the canonical format. (To be clear, someone doesn't normally *read* an HTML file, they display it in an HTML rendering program like a browser.)

That is not what I said. My preferred "canonical" format is a source code, whether it's XML, HTML, nroff or TeX.

> Yoav suggests that there be a preferred display format. I don't see a value in publicly preferring any of the formats, and I explicitly reject the idea that we need to become junior lawyers and try to guess what some court in some country would or would not understand.

It has nothing to do with being a lawyer. It's that printed (or handwritten or typewritten) paper documents have been the standard form of "official" document for centuries, and PDF is the closest electronic equivalent. It works OK on (decently sized) screens as well as print, and has a "page" concept that some (even on this list) like. Yes, it's awkward on phones, but I think it's a more versatile output format than HTML.

I'm talking about an "official" format to hand out to outsiders and maybe also as an archival format. I think most of us would prefer the HTML output version, especially if it looks like the output from XML2RFC.


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