Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Y. Sheffer Request for Comments: 7942 Intuit BCP: 205 A. Farrel Obsoletes: 6982 Juniper Networks Category: Best Current Practice July 2016 ISSN: 2070-1721 Improving Awareness of Running Code: The Implementation Status Section
AbstractThis document describes a simple process that allows authors of Internet-Drafts to record the status of known implementations by including an Implementation Status section. This will allow reviewers and working groups to assign due consideration to documents that have the benefit of running code, which may serve as evidence of valuable experimentation and feedback that have made the implemented protocols more mature. This process is not mandatory. Authors of Internet-Drafts are encouraged to consider using the process for their documents, and working groups are invited to think about applying the process to all of their protocol specifications. This document obsoletes RFC 6982, advancing it to a Best Current Practice. Status of This Memo This memo documents an Internet Best Current Practice. This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Further information on BCPs is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841. Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7942.
Copyright Notice Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved. This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License. 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2. The "Implementation Status" Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2.1. Introductory Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3. Alternative Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 4. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 5. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 6. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Tao] and can identify with its pragmatic approach. However, implementation is not a requirement for publication as an RFC. There are many examples of Internet-Drafts containing protocol specifications that have gone through to publication as Proposed Standard RFCs without implementation. Some of them may never get implemented. Over time, a variety of policies have been applied within the IETF to consider running code. In the Routing Area, it used to be a requirement that one or more implementations must exist before an Internet-Draft could be published as a Proposed Standard RFC [RFC1264]. That RFC was later obsoleted and the requirement for implementation was lifted, but each working group was given the authority to impose its own implementation requirements [RFC4794] and at least one working group, Inter-Domain Routing (IDR), continues to require two independent implementations.
The hypothesis behind the current document is that there are benefits to the IETF standardization process of producing implementations of protocol specifications before publication as RFCs. These benefits, which include determining that the specification is comprehensible and that there is sufficient interest to implement, are further discussed in Section 4. This document describes a simple mechanism that allows authors of Internet-Drafts to record and publicize the status of known implementations by including an Implementation Status section. The document defines (quite informally) the contents of this section to ensure that the relevant information is included. This will allow reviewers and working groups to assign due consideration to documents that have the benefit of running code, which may serve as evidence of valuable experimentation and feedback that have made the implemented protocols more mature. It is up to the individual working groups to use this information as they see fit, but one result might be the preferential treatment of documents, resulting in them being processed more rapidly. We recommend that the Implementation Status section should be removed from Internet-Drafts before they are published as RFCs. As a result, we do not envisage changes to this section after approval of the document for publication, e.g., the RFC errata process does not apply. This process is not mandatory. Authors of Internet-Drafts are encouraged to consider using the process for their documents, and working groups are invited to think about applying the process to all of their protocol specifications. The scope of this process is all Internet-Drafts (I-Ds) that contain implementable specifications, whether produced within IETF working groups or outside working groups but intended for IETF consensus. I-Ds published on the Independent Stream are explicitly out of scope. It is expected that the greatest benefit will be seen with Standards Track documents developed within working groups. This process was initially proposed as an experiment in [RFC6982]. That document is now obsoleted, and the process advanced to Best Current Practice. Historically, there have been other ways for experience based on protocol implementations to feed back into the IETF process. Many "implementation reports" have been published, in some cases several years after the protocol was originally published. Providing
Working group chairs and area directors (ADs) are requested to ensure that this section is not used as a marketing venue for specific implementations. Since this information is necessarily time dependent, it is inappropriate for inclusion in a published RFC. The authors should include a note to the RFC Editor requesting that the section be removed before publication.
- When a working group already maintains an active wiki and prefers to use it for this purpose. - If the working group decides that the information is still valuable (and needs to be kept current) after the I-D is published as an RFC, and the Implementation Status section had been removed from it. It is highly desirable for all readers of the Internet-Draft to be made aware of this information. Initially, this can be done by replacing the Implementation Status section's contents with a URL pointing to the wiki. Later, the IETF Tools may support this functionality, e.g., by including such a link in the HTML file of the document, similar to the IPR link. If the implementation status is published separately from the I-D, then this information needs to be openly available without requiring authentication, registration, or access controls if it is to have any useful effects.
- In the case of open source, people may want to study the code to better understand the protocol and its limitations, determine if the implementation matches the protocol specification, and whether the protocol specification has omissions or ambiguities. - And lastly, some protocol features may be hard to understand, and for such features, the mere assurance that they can be implemented is beneficial. We note though that code should never be used in lieu of a clear specification. We do not specify here whether and to what degree working groups are expected to prefer proposals that have "running code" associated with them, over others that do not. Working group chairs are invited to suggest this mechanism to document editors in their working groups, and to draw the attention of their working group participants to Implementation Status sections where they exist. [RFC1264] Hinden, R., "Internet Engineering Task Force Internet Routing Protocol Standardization Criteria", RFC 1264, DOI 10.17487/RFC1264, October 1991, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1264>. [RFC1369] Kastenholz, F., "Implementation Notes and Experience for the Internet Ethernet MIB", RFC 1369, DOI 10.17487/RFC1369, October 1992, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1369>. [RFC4794] Fenner, B., "RFC 1264 Is Obsolete", RFC 4794, DOI 10.17487/RFC4794, December 2006, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4794>. [RFC5080] Nelson, D. and A. DeKok, "Common Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS) Implementation Issues and Suggested Fixes", RFC 5080, DOI 10.17487/RFC5080, December 2007, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5080>.
[RFC6982] Sheffer, Y. and A. Farrel, "Improving Awareness of Running Code: The Implementation Status Section", RFC 6982, DOI 10.17487/RFC6982, July 2013, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6982>. [Tao] Hoffman, P., Ed., "The Tao of IETF: A Novice's Guide to the Internet Engineering Task Force", 2012, <http://www.ietf.org/tao.html>.