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

Iljitsch van Beijnum iljitsch at muada.com
Fri Jun 22 14:09:42 PDT 2012

On 22 Jun 2012, at 22:45 , Julian Reschke wrote:

>> As to the discussion about XML2RFC as the canonical new RFC format: I don't think we can assume the ability to work with this format meets our longevity goals.

> Can you explain how you came to that conclusion?

As far as I know, there are two ways to display XML2RFC documents:

1. Convert them to something displayable
2. Get a browser to display them

As for 1, we now have RFCs that are about 40 years old. Do we really expect XML2RFC to be around and be compatible with how it operates today in 40 years?

About 2: I don't really know how this works. But as far as I can tell, this is a pretty obscure browser feature. It works well with the last ftp64 draft that I wrote in Safari, but Firefox 3.5 (yes, I know it's old) doesn't like the references to RFCs that I used (should be fixable, but it's strange that Safari has no problem and Firefox does) and Chrome just shows an empty window. All of this fails to inspire the requisite confidence.

>> Adopting XML2RFC as the canonical format would also make changes to the format much harder, depriving XML2RFC users of innovation.
>> ...

> It makes *incompatible* changes harder. How would that be different for other formats, though?

Not sure how something could be different but "compatible". Small things can have large consequences.

It's not different from other formats, but the likelihood of the IETF changing other formats seems smaller.

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