[rfc-i] Code embedded in RFCs

Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Fri Jun 28 17:13:15 PDT 2013

On 6/28/13 8:10 AM, Dearlove, Christopher (UK) wrote:
> It's been suggested to me that this is the appropriate place 
> to bring up something I raised on the IETF list.
> My interest was (is) in RFC 6234, but other examples have been 
> given.
> RFC 6234 contains embedded code. Extracting that is possible (and 
> a tool that performs part of the task has been pointed out) but it's
> not very efficient if everyone has to do that. One participant o the
> list indicated it took him twenty minutes to extract and verify.
> Instead, would it not be more sensible if the RFC Editor maintained, 
> together with any RFC containing code (this could probably be limited
> to code that spans more than a page) the code files. Or (an
> alternative suggestion that has been made - though I prefer the
> former) a suitable form of script to extract the code. Apparently
> (I have not followed this up) some RFCs include such a script.
> In reply to one comment made about maintaining code versions, that is 
> not what is suggested, but rather the snapshot of the code that is
> embedded in the RFC. (There might be an issue if any errata applied
> to the code, but let's walk before running.)

This does seem like an interesting idea, though probably not as easy as
it should be in a sane and rational world.  First, as was pointed out in
another thread, being very clear on any legal ramifications - from
copyright to those charming export laws - and whether any changes to the
Trust Legal Provisions will be required, is a necessity.  Next, we need
to understand the process behind putting code in a repository - would
authors of the RFCs have access to modify that code in case of errata,
or would this be a new task for the RFC Editor?  And to round out the
first set of questions, in looking at this from the proposed new RFC
format, what would we need to do there to make this kind of code
extraction easier in the future?

These are the questions I have off the top of my head.  I am sure there
are more!  The good news is that I can at least follow up on the legal
question and feed this potential requirement in to the format work as a
natural starting point.  If, for whatever reason, it seems the idea of a
code repository will not work, it is a small investment in time to spend.

-Heather Flanagan, RSE

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