[rfc-i] Resetting this format debate a bit

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Sun Mar 25 15:12:31 PDT 2012

On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM, James M. Polk <jmpolk at cisco.com> wrote:

> IMO you're overreaching on #1 by making it seem as if it's all of #1, and
> nothing but all that's in #1.  In other words, the way you've phrased it,
> it's like you're saying:

Fair enough. I thought it was obvious that #1 couldn't couldn't be
achieved in one fell swoop, and would require extended stepwise work.
I’ve also volunteered to pitch in should there be agreement to start
such an effort.  I also predict a fair degree of difficulty achieving
consensus in this effort, perhaps even as much trouble as it might
take to achieve consensus on appropriate energy policies.

> Apply that philosophy to our discussion on your #1. If we don't drill now,
> we're only putting off what we know we need to go after. That said, #1 as
> written, is not what I've been talking about with a lot of folks over the
> years, they simply want non-ASCII art, which is far far less than how #1 is
> written now. A *LOT* of folks would be happy to get past the ASCII art issue
> - which we all agree is a pain in the $%& to draw in, and can't represent
> what we want to draw in anything more than simple box diagrams and a few
> created arrows without tools.

Actually, we don’t all agree. I think the absence of diagrams in IETF
specifications has historically been a strength not a weakness.  I
really think you’re underestimating the difficulty of getting
consensus on document-format issues.

> BTW - regarding #3, since when does it take a "lot of disk space" to load
> what would be WORD for a Mac? A couple of hundred MBs is generally _nothing_

Sigh, I would have agreed up until recently, when a lot of us moved to
Macs equipped with SSDs which are amazingly fast but cruelly limited
in size compared to what they replaced. This is admittedly probably a
temporary condition.

I will admit to having negative feelings about having to purchase any
commercial software from anyone to accomplish the simple goal of
printing a spec properly, particularly when I have no other use for
such products and can print lots of other complex technical documents
all the time without requiring any such tools.  -Tim

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