[rfc-i] draft-flanagan-rfc-framework-00 and transition

Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Thu Sep 11 11:47:34 PDT 2014

Hash: SHA1

On 9/11/14, 11:30 AM, Russ Housley wrote:
> These comments are on Section 7 of
> draft-flanagan-rfc-framework-00.
> Section 7.1 on the Testing Phase says: "...  final publication
> will continue to be in plain text only."  Why?  I recognize that
> the plain text document will be the canonical document at this
> point, but why not publish the PDF as well since it is allowed by
> the current rules? In my view, doing so would allow the community
> to better see what is coming.  This will facilitate the
> identification of process problems.

The PDF format that will be created in the new format
world--PDF/A-3--will require an XML file.  So, we have three options,
assuming the authors have only chosen to submit plain text:

a) have the RFC Editor create the XML file and one or more publication

b) create a PDF from the plain-text file which will not be PDF/A-3'

c) have the single plain-text file as the only published format.

I am opposed to (a) on the grounds that the authors should review the
canonical file, and if they cannot or will not review XML, it should
not be created and posted as the canonical format.  I think having a
text-to-XML tool is still a good idea for authors that need to be
boot-strapped into XML, but I don't think the RFC Editor should be
*solely* responsible for XML creation.

I think (b) will engender some confusion in the long run, particularly
when we're talking about what to archive.  As far as I know, there are
no separate file name extensions to differentiate between PDF 1.7 and

I think (c) offers the least amount of confusion in the long run.

> Section 7.2 on the Transition Phase does not offer any
> expectations about the duration of this phase.  I can see reasons
> for it to take a long time if major problems are found with the
> tools.  That said, I think the RSE should tell the community the
> minimum duration of this phase.

Someone else made a similar point.  I've added the following to that

This phase will require more work on the part of the RPC to support
both old and new publication processes for at least six months.

Does that mitigate your concern?

> As I understand the format that is submitted to the RFC Editor
> during each phase: - Testing -- tester must submit XML - Transition
> -- author can submit plain text or XML - Completion -- author can
> submit plain text or XML
> While I understad that some tools might be developed to assist the 
> RFC Production Center (RPC) in converting an Internet-Draft to
> XML, it seems to me that we really reach success when all
> submissions to the RPC are in XML.  This seems like a milestone at
> the end of the 3rd phase.  Such a cut off should not happen without
> an explicit decision by the IAB with input from the RSE, RSOC, and
> the whole community.  Yet, this seems like something that ought to
> appear in this document.

That is the ideal, I agree.  But I think the promise made during
various plenaries and format sessions was that the RFC Editor would
_always_ accept plain text.  That's probably a bit of a broad
statement to make, but it is what I said based on conversations I had
with the community.

Is it worth mentioning the ideal in the framework document?

Thank you for the review!


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