[rfc-i] [IAB Trac] #266: Requirement for "Clear Printing"

IAB issue tracker trac+iab at trac.tools.ietf.org
Fri Feb 15 14:37:06 PST 2013

#266: Requirement for "Clear Printing"

Comment (by bernard_aboba at hotmail.com):

 From Ran Atkinson (see http://www.rfc-editor.org/pipermail/rfc-


   A key feature of the current RFC publication process is
 that a given RFC (or I-D) will have identical pagination
 -- regardless of whether it is printed on A4 paper,
 printed on US-Letter paper, or even viewed in a web browser
 (i.e., browser showing text/plain format, rather than
 a browser showing HTML format).

   This means that when working with colleagues, one
 can talk about some RFC (or I-D) and use the page
 number as a reference/anchor point in our discussions.
 Today, even folks working from an electronic copy
 (if using the text/plain ".txt" format, rather than the
 HTML format) also have that pagination visible to them.

   It would be a nightmare to have a colleague refer
 to (his/her) "page 4" and have that be "page 3" or
 "page 5" on my own copy.  That would be a huge waste
 of a lot of folks' time, and seems easily avoidable.

   While I'm sure that individual custom varies, nearly
 all of the implementers that I know well normally work
 from a printed copy.  Similarly, many reviewers of I-Ds
 and readers of RFCs find it more effective to work from
 a printed copy.

   Curiously, in my own (non-scientific) sample of people,
 there is no "generational" aspect to this.  This practice
 of working from print when coding or designing an implementation
 seems as common among folks who are 20-something as it is
 with folks who are 40-something.

   While I have no objection to making RFCs available
 in other formats (e.g., HTML without pagination), I would
 be greatly obliged if a print-oriented format with existing
 fixed/predictable/consistent pagination and fixed/predictable
 line-length remained available for those who wish to continue
 to work from the decades-long text/plain (".txt") format.

   The 2 current text/plain format rules cause printing
 to work equally well with A4 and US-Letter paper sizes.
 So one can work trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific and all
 be on the same page:
         * 58 lines/page
         * 72 characters (plus CR and LF)/line

    So my requested action is that Section 3.3. be revised
 to delete the "retirement" of the 58 lines/page and
 72 characters (plus CR and LF)/line rules.

   I'd be quite happy if these 2 rules were scoped to apply only
 to the "text/plain" format of RFCs (and I-Ds), such that those
 2 rules did NOT apply if one were generating an HTML format
 or some other format.  Of course, this implies continuing the
 automatic generation of a print-oriented format (i.e., text/plain
 with ".txt" filename extension) that DOES comply with those
 2 rules.

   This change to the RFC Format Requirements draft would retain
 the critical uniformity of pagination in the existing widely used
 printable format, while allowing flexibility in line-length and
 pagination in other formats (e.g, HTML).


 Ran Atkinson

 Reporter:                           |       Owner:  draft-iab-
  bernard_aboba at hotmail.com          |  rfcformatreq at tools.ietf.org
     Type:  defect                   |      Status:  new
 Priority:  major                    |   Milestone:  milestone1
Component:  draft-iab-rfcformatreq   |     Version:  1.0
 Severity:  In WG Last Call          |  Resolution:
 Keywords:                           |

Ticket URL: <http://wiki.tools.ietf.org/group/iab/trac/ticket/266#comment:2>
IAB Trac <http://tools.ietf.org/group/iab/trac/>

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