[rfc-i] Requirement for "clear printing"

Martin Rex mrex at sap.com
Wed Feb 20 07:37:49 PST 2013

Ole Jacobsen wrote:
> I think what we are really discussing here is a "presentation format" 
> and it *might* be worth thinking about this in the context of the 
> evolution of the RFC Series and vis a vis other SDOs.
> I *can* imagine a future in which we have RFCs that look just as 
> "professional" as ITU or ISO standards, complete with line graphics, 
> widown and orphan control, carefully chosen fonts, perhaps even a 
> column that runs alongside a graphic (".... the diagram on the left 
> shows ....").

Now the problem I have with this is that it wastes tons of
engineering resources on waste of the eye-candy type.

I do not mind if those who do are annoyed and have nothing else to
do with their time spend lots of time on such issues.  It has been
possible for years to publish a colorful and graphically enriched
version of RFCs, so anyone who wants to spend most of his time
contributing to the IETF in producing colorful eye-candy rather
than engineering technical solutions, can do so right aways without
interfering with those who rather want to do work.

The important thing for the IETF as an SDO is to facilitate it for
contributors to convey their ideas, without having to spend lots
of time on document meta-data or creating pretty eye-candy,
because that is a significant waste of precious engineering resources.

Tools like NRoffEdit facilitate production of I-Ds by a huge margin
over awkward toolchains such as xml2rfc -- for folks who do not know
XML nor xml2rfc nor any tools around it.

It is also important that updating existing standards remains similarily
easy, e.g. re-using 90% of an existing document and just changing or
adding 10%.  For this to remain possible, the canonical&normative
format of the I-D and/or RFC needs to remain sufficiently "clean"
that it can be easily reauthored with existing user-friendly authoring
solutions like NRoffEdit.


More information about the rfc-interest mailing list