[rfc-i] draft-rfc-image-files-03

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Sun Apr 8 13:27:13 PDT 2012

One option that is supported in some browsers at least is to use MIME
archive format.

Email messages already contain HTML text and embedded images in one
file. The only problem being that the format is really not properly
specified as a standard and it is BASE64 based so not wonderfully

It really should be possible to exchange HTML+ graphics objects in one
data blob. This would be useful IETF work even if IETF does not end up
using it for RFCs.

On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 4:20 PM, Paul E. Jones <paulej at packetizer.com> wrote:
> Put this draft into context.  It was submitted before a heck of a lot of
> dialog happened on the mailing list.  It was one idea and I'm not sure how
> many others were formally submitted for consideration; at the very least we
> should thank the authors for putting forward a formal proposal.  Put your
> hatchet away. :-)
> As you know, there are several proposals on the table.  It would appear
> (from making a pass over the archive) that a subset of HTML in UTF-8 and
> storing images using <img src="data:/image/png;..."> is preferred.  It's
> still not clear whether any image format would be acceptable or if people
> want SVG.  I even saw some arguing images should not be allowed at all,
> though I think flow diagrams, message sequence charts, etc. are usually
> helpful in understanding a protocol.  Thus, I support a format that allows
> images.
> Paul
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: rfc-interest-bounces at rfc-editor.org [mailto:rfc-interest-
>> bounces at rfc-editor.org] On Behalf Of Iljitsch van Beijnum
>> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 2:16 PM
>> To: RFC Interest
>> Subject: [rfc-i] draft-rfc-image-files-03
>> I just had a look at http://tools.ietf.org/id/draft-rfc-image-files-03.txt
>> I think this is a spectacularly bad idea. This way, we would have all the
>> downsides of PDF, all the downsides of formatted ASCII text, and lose the
>> advantage that we only have a single file.
>> This also locks us into pagination even deeper, while IMO that's something
>> we should move away from, because the number of times when US letter
>> pagination is convenient are dwarfed by the number of times when it is
>> not.
>> There are lots of tools that read and write PDFs, but that doesn't mean
>> it's necessarily reasonably possible to round trip an image from an image
>> editing program to PDF and back without losing a lot of information. For
>> instance, the image may be rasterized so what was a vector image is now a
>> high resolution bitmap. Or logical structures are broken up in lots of
>> small structures but the relationship between them is lost.
>> I don't think these issues are easily avoidable without blessing a
>> specific tool. And tools tend to go away on decades timescales. Therefore
>> I think that if we want to allow images as authoritative parts of RFCs
>> (which I still have to see a good case for) this needs to be relatively
>> low resolution bitmaps in an open format, like PNG. Bitmaps have the
>> advantage that they are very simple structures that are easily manipulated
>> with simple software, not unlike ASCII files.
>> Finally, let me observe that a lot of people here are applying a
>> tinkering/hacking mindset, trying to get some benefits with modest
>> changes. I don't think that's the right approach here. It's perfectly fine
>> to make very big changes if that gives us what we need. Small steps are a
>> bad thing here, that means that 20 years from now the tools that scrape
>> the RFC repository need to support many variations that were around for
>> only a short time rather than just "old" and "new".
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