[rfc-i] Graceful degradation is key, was: Re: draft-hildebrand-html-rfc

Martin Rex mrex at sap.com
Mon Jul 16 11:38:33 PDT 2012

I don't like this approach of
"how can we make requirements so that _everything_ besides xml2rfc
will get killed on the way".

Could you simply accept that there are more active current uses
of the TXT version of RFC and I-Ds besides what _you_yourself_
are doing, and that there are I-D authoring tools in use that
are magnitudes easier to operate than xml2rfc, and that they
are perfectly sufficient to do the job for a number of current
and prospective authors, authors which may not want having to
learn XML first and operate awkward toolchains, do not want to
maintain huge amounts of meta-data and do not need graphics
to express their ideas.

Joe Hildebrand (jhildebr) wrote:
> And you don't have a single box on which you can install
> whatever software you like

While I have three boxes where I can install software myself,
"whatever software you like" does not apply to any machine that
is not my very own property.

But really, even if I was allowed, having to maintain software
on 100+ distinct machines sounds like a big waste of time.
Even trying to keep my own machines at home "up to date"
is a tedious waste of precious lifetime.

> Do you read RFC's on all of those boxes?

Correct, I regularly read RFCs on ANY arbitrary machines from these.
Within xterms, of which i can easily fit 6 of them simultaneously
on a 1600x1200 screen (-fn 7x14b -geometry 80x44) without having to shuffle

When implementing stuff, I typically need lots of RFCs open at the
same time (like rfc5246,rfc4346,rfc2246,ssl302.txt/rfc6101,rfc5280,rfc2459)
and another one or two for searching, in order to figure out what is
necessary for interop with implementations based on different revisions
of specifications.

Implementing RFCs from a browser view, or doing a detailed review is pretty
frustrating because of the constant need to switch between documents.
Having to take the fingers off the keyboard in order to navigate with
the mouse is also a huge waste of time.

I also try to make my work environment as portable as possible, so it
must not matter at which machine I'm sitting (in the office or at home)
or what underlying OS (Linux or Windows) my "frontend" uses, and how
fast or thorough the connectivity is, the experience needs to be as
similar as possible.

I also do not want to constantly have to care about the particular
OS & release of the machines have that I happened to have ssh'ed to
in the next best xterm I've chosen to type "vrfc 5280" in.

> but I don't expect anyone to need to read an RFC on one of them either since
> they (for the most part) can't do outbound HTTP (or other) connections and
> everything is logged and audited.

Requiring internet access to be able to read an RFC in order for rewiewing
or implementing would be extremely unreasonable.  Why do you think they're
"unlimited distribution"?  I can access my TXT mirror from all our
our development machines (I don't use rsync, but instead I'm manually
piping all ietf-announce Mails to a perl download script on the machine
where I read my Email and have internet connectivity).

And it does happen occasionally that the internet connectivity fails
for several hours.  It would be quite unreasonalbe to create a work
environment in my office where implementing RFCs was vitally dependent
on internet connectivity being available.


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