[rfc-i] Data point [Re: Fwd: I-D ACTION:draft-hoffman-utf8-rfcs-03.txt]

Dave CROCKER dhc2 at dcrocker.net
Mon Oct 6 21:12:31 PDT 2008

Paul Hoffman wrote:
> At 5:01 PM -0700 10/6/08, Dave CROCKER wrote:
>> By my reading of your results, your test demonstrates that raw UTF-8
>> produces unpredictable and/or undesirable outcomes with common tools.
>> Hence it fails the requirement.
> To which "the requirement" are you referring? 

The one that was in the immediately preceding sentence, in the paragraph that 
you did not include:

    "I've understood that robustness as being a continuing requirement."

>       We explicitly did not put any
> requirements in our document because no such requirements appear in RFC 2223.
> Our document proposes a change in the encoding, *not* a change in the
> requirements for the RFC series.

Sure it does.  The long-standing requirement has been robustness in surviving 
varied handling and retaining readability.  Concern for that requirement has 
been at the core of every rejection for proposed encoding/format enhancement 
made in at least the last 15 years.

Brian's test scenario demonstrates a substantial change in survivability. In 
other words, the document becomes much more fragile than it ever has been. 
That's a very basic change from the history of RFCs.

> Personally, my requirement is that RFCs be the most useful to the largest of
> the intended audiences, namely implementers and operators. 

"Useful" comes in many forms and is best not treated as local optimization.

RFCs work now and have worked for a long time.  Any improvement needs to come 
without causing problems in established behavior.  The kind of handling that 
Brian performed is a reasonable exemplar in how RFCs are typically handled, 
while remaining useful.  If a raw document no longer survives the kind of 
handling, their usefulness is reduced.


   Dave Crocker
   Brandenburg InternetWorking

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