[rfc-i] What the text version is used for (was Re: The <tt> train wreck)

John Levine johnl at taugh.com
Mon Aug 23 14:27:43 PDT 2021

It appears that Julian Reschke  <julian.reschke at gmx.de> said:
>> txt is compact; not as compact as Shannon would allow but I have seen
>> pdf in the IETF that are some 50 times the size of the txt version. Yes,
>> computers get bigger and faster but not that much.
>Example? (The only reasons I can think of are either scanned documents,
>or documents with lots of graphics not present in the TXT version).

For the RFCs published since we switched xml, the total text is 25MB, the html
is 59MB, and the PDFs are 120MB.  They're larger but it doesn't seem like a
qualitative difference to me.

>Well, depends on "processing". How well does your smart phone "process"
>plain text formatted for printing on A4/letter?

Even on a stock Windows or Mac laptop, the tools to handle text files are pretty poor.

We have tools that only work on the text rendering of RFCs, most notably rfcdiff.
But that means we need to improve our tool set, not that we should be stuck with
fixed pitch text forever.


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