|The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 2
Board, Internet Engineering Steering Group
Network Working Group Internet Architecture Board and
Request for Comments: 1602 Internet Engineering Steering Group
Obsoletes: 1310 March 1994
The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 2
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo
does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of
this memo is unlimited.
This informational memo presents the current procedures for creating
and documenting Internet Standards. This document is provisional,
pending legal review and concurrence of the Internet Society
Trustees. It is being published in this form to keep the Internet
Community informed as to the current status of policies and
procedures for Internet Standards work.
This document is a revision of RFC 1310, which defined the official
procedures for creating and documenting Internet Standards.
This revision (revision 2) includes the following major changes:
(a) The new management structure arising from the POISED Working
Group is reflected. These changes were agreed to by the IETF
plenary and by the IAB and IESG in November 1992 and accepted by
the ISOC Board of Trustees at their December 1992 meeting.
(b) Prototype status is added to the non-standards track maturity
levels (Section 2.4.1).
(c) The Intellectual Property Rights section is completely revised,
in accordance with legal advice. Section 5 of this document
replaces Sections 5 and 6 of RFC-1310. The new section 5 has
been reviewed by legal counsel to the Internet Society.
(d) An appeals procedure is added (Section 3.6).
(e) The wording of sections 1 and 1.2 has been changed to clarify
the relationships that exist between the Internet Society and
the IAB, the IESG, the IETF, and the Internet Standards process.
(f) An Appendix B has been added, listing the contact points for the
RFC editor, the IANA, the IESG, the IAB and the ISOC. The
"future issues" are now listed in Appendix C.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION ................................................. 3
1.1 Internet Standards. ...................................... 4
1.2 Organizations ............................................ 6
1.3 Standards-Related Publications ........................... 8
1.4 Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) ................ 10
2. NOMENCLATURE ................................................. 11
2.1 The Internet Standards Track ............................. 11
2.2 Types of Specifications .................................. 12
2.3 Standards Track Maturity Levels .......................... 13
2.4 Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels ...................... 15
2.5 Requirement Levels ....................................... 17
3. THE INTERNET STANDARDS PROCESS ............................... 19
3.1 Review and Approval ...................................... 19
3.2 Entering the Standards Track ............................. 20
3.3 Advancing in the Standards Track ......................... 21
3.4 Revising a Standard ...................................... 22
3.5 Retiring a Standard ...................................... 22
3.6 Conflict Resolution and Appeals .......................... 23
4. EXTERNAL STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS ........................ 24
5. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS ................................. 26
5.1. General Policy .......................................... 26
5.2. Definitions ............................................. 26
5.3 Trade Secret Rights ...................................... 27
5.4. Rights and Permissions .................................. 27
5.5. Notices ................................................. 30
5.6. Assurances .............................................. 31
6. REFERENCES ................................................... 34
APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS ................................. 35
APPENDIX B: CONTACT POINTS ....................................... 35
APPENDIX C: FUTURE ISSUES ........................................ 36
Security Considerations .......................................... 37
Authors' Addresses ............................................... 37
This memo documents the process currently used by the Internet
community for the standardization of protocols and procedures. The
Internet Standards process is an activity of the Internet Society
that is organized and managed on behalf of the Internet community by
the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering
1.1 Internet Standards
The Internet, a loosely-organized international collaboration of
autonomous, interconnected networks, supports host-to-host
communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and
procedures defined by Internet Standards. There are also many
isolated internets, i.e., sets of interconnected networks, which
are not connected to the Internet but use the Internet Standards.
Internet Standards were once limited to those protocols composing
what has been commonly known as the "TCP/IP protocol suite".
However, the Internet has been evolving towards the support of
multiple protocol suites, especially the Open Systems
Interconnection (OSI) suite. The Internet Standards process
described in this document is concerned with all protocols,
procedures, and conventions that are used in or by the Internet,
whether or not they are part of the TCP/IP protocol suite. In the
case of protocols developed and/or standardized by non-Internet
organizations, however, the Internet Standards process may apply
only to the application of the protocol or procedure in the
Internet context, not to the specification of the protocol itself.
In general, an Internet Standard is a specification that is stable
and well-understood, is technically competent, has multiple,
independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial
operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is
recognizably useful in some or all parts of the Internet.
The procedures described in this document are designed to be fair,
open and objective; to reflect existing (proven) practice; and to
o These procedures are intended to provide a fair, open, and
objective basis for developing, evaluating, and adopting
Internet Standards. They provide ample opportunity for
participation and comment by all interested parties. At each
stage of the standardization process, a specification is
repeatedly discussed and its merits debated in open meetings
and/or public electronic mailing lists, and it is made
available for review via world-wide on-line directories.
o These procedures are explicitly aimed at recognizing and
adopting generally-accepted practices. Thus, a candidate
specification is implemented and tested for correct operation
and interoperability by multiple independent parties and
utilized in increasingly demanding environments, before it
can be adopted as an Internet Standard.
o These procedures provide a great deal of flexibility to adapt
to the wide variety of circumstances that occur in the
standardization process. Experience has shown this
flexibility to be vital in achieving the goals listed above.
The goal of technical competence, the requirement for prior
implementation and testing, and the need to allow all interested
parties to comment, all require significant time and effort. On
the other hand, today's rapid development of networking technology
places an urgency on timely development of standards. The
Internet standardization rules described here are intended to
balance these conflicting goals. The process is believed to be as
short and simple as possible without undue sacrifice of technical
competence, prior testing, or openness and fairness.
In summary, the goals for the Internet standards process are:
* technical excellence;
* prior implementation and testing;
* clear, short, and easily understandable documentation;
* openness and fairness; and
In outline, the process of creating an Internet Standard is
straightforward: a specification undergoes a period of development
and several iterations of review by the Internet community and
revision based upon experience, is adopted as a Standard by the
appropriate body (see below), and is published. In practice, the
process is more complicated, due to (1) the difficulty of creating
specifications of high technical quality; (2) the need to consider
the interests of all of the affected parties; (3) the importance
of establishing widespread community consensus; and (4) the
difficulty of evaluating the utility of a particular specification
for the Internet community.
From its inception, the Internet has been, and is expected to
remain, an evolving system whose participants regularly factor new
requirements and technology into its design and implementation.
Users of the Internet and providers of the equipment, software,
and services that support it should anticipate and embrace this
evolution as a major tenet of Internet philosophy.
The procedures described in this document are the result of three
years of evolution, driven both by the needs of the growing and
increasingly diverse Internet community, and by experience.
Comments and suggestions are invited for improving these
The remainder of this section describes the organizations and
publications involved in Internet standardization. Section 2
presents the nomenclature for different kinds and levels of
Internet standard technical specifications and their
applicability. Section 3 describes the process and rules for
Internet standardization. Section 4 defines how relevant
externally-sponsored specifications and practices, developed and
controlled by other standards bodies or by vendors, are handled in
the Internet standardization process. Section 5 presents the
rules that are required to protect intellectual property rights
and to assure unrestricted ability for all interested parties to
practice Internet Standards.
The following organizations are involved in the Internet standards
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a loosely self-
organized group of people who make technical and other
contributions to the engineering and evolution of the
Internet and its technologies. It is the principal body
engaged in the development of new Internet Standard
specifications, although it is not itself a part of the
Internet Society. The IETF is composed of individual Working
Groups, which are grouped into Areas, each of which is
coordinated by one or more Area Directors. Nominations to
the Internet Architecture Board and the Internet Engineering
Steering Group are made by a nominating committee selected at
random from the ranks of regular IETF meeting attendees who
have volunteered to serve as nominating committee members.
Internet standardization is an organized activity of the
Internet Society (ISOC). The ISOC is a professional society
that is concerned with the growth and evolution of the
worldwide Internet, with the way in which the Internet is and
can be used, and with the social, political, and technical
issues that arise as a result. The ISOC Board of Trustees is
responsible for approving appointments to the Internet
Architecture Board from among the nominees submitted by the
IETF nominating committee.
The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) is responsible
for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet
Standards process. As part of the Internet Society, it
administers the Internet Standards process according to the
rules and procedures given in this document, which have been
accepted and ratified by the Internet Society Trustees. The
IESG is directly responsible for the actions associated with
entry into and movement along the "standards track", as
described in section 3 of this document, including final
approval of specifications as Internet Standards. The IESG
is composed of the IETF Area Directors and the chairperson of
the IETF, who also serves as the chairperson of the IESG.
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a technical advisory
group of the Internet Society. It is chartered by the
Internet Society Trustees to provide oversight of the
architecture of the Internet and its protocols, and to serve
in the context of the Internet Standards process as a body to
which the decisions of the IESG may be appealed (as described
in section 3.6 of this document). The IAB is responsible for
approving appointments to the IESG from among the nominees
submitted by the IETF nominating committee.
Any member of the Internet community with the time and interest is
urged to participate actively in one or more IETF Working Groups
and to attend IETF meetings. In many cases, active Working Group
participation is possible through email alone; furthermore,
Internet video conferencing is being used experimentally to allow
remote participation. Participation is by individual technical
contributors rather than formal representatives of organizations.
The process works because the IETF Working Groups display a spirit
of cooperation as well as a high degree of technical maturity;
IETF participants recognize that the greatest benefit for all
members of the Internet community results from cooperative
development of technically superior protocols and services.
Members of the IESG and IAB are nominated for two-year terms by a
committee that is drawn from the roll of recent participation in
the IETF and chartered by the ISOC Board of Trustees. The
appointment of IESG and of IAB members are made from these
nominations by the IAB and by the ISOC Board of Trustees,
The Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) is not directly part of
the standards process. It investigates topics considered to be
too uncertain, too advanced, or insufficiently well-understood to
be the subject of Internet standardization. When an IRTF activity
generates a specification that is sufficiently stable to be
considered for Internet standardization, the specification is
processed through the IETF using the rules in this document.
1.3 Standards-Related Publications
1.3.1 Requests for Comments (RFCs)
Each distinct version of a specification is published as part
of the "Request for Comments" (RFC) document series. This
archival series is the official publication channel for
Internet standards documents and other publications of the
IESG, IAB, and Internet community. RFCs are available for
anonymous FTP from a number of Internet hosts.
The RFC series of documents on networking began in 1969 as part
of the original ARPA wide-area networking (ARPANET) project
(see Appendix A for glossary of acronyms). RFCs cover a wide
range of topics, from early discussion of new research concepts
to status memos about the Internet. RFC publication is the
direct responsibility of the RFC Editor, under the general
direction of the IAB.
The rules for formatting and submitting an RFC are defined in
reference . Every RFC is available in ASCII text, but some
RFCs are also available in PostScript. The PostScript version
of an RFC may contain material (such as diagrams and figures)
that is not present in the ASCII version, and it may be
* A stricter requirement applies to standards-track *
* specifications: the ASCII text version is the *
* definitive reference, and therefore it must be a *
* complete and accurate specification of the standard, *
* including all necessary diagrams and illustrations. *
The status of Internet protocol and service specifications is
summarized periodically in an RFC entitled "Internet Official
Protocol Standards" . This RFC shows the level of maturity
and other helpful information for each Internet protocol or
service specification. See Section 3.1.3 below.
Some RFCs document Internet standards. These RFCs form the
'STD' subseries of the RFC series . When a specification
has been adopted as an Internet Standard, it is given the
additional label "STDxxxx", but it keeps its RFC number and its
place in the RFC series.
Not all specifications of protocols or services for the
Internet should or will become Internet Standards. Such non-
standards track specifications are not subject to the rules for
Internet standardization. Generally, they will be published
directly as RFCs at the discretion of the RFC editor and the
IESG. These RFCs will be marked "Prototype", "Experimental" or
"Informational" as appropriate (see section 2.3).
* It is important to remember that not all RFCs *
* are standards track documents, and that not all *
* standards track documents reach the level of *
* Internet Standard. *
1.3.2 Internet Drafts
During the development of a specification, draft versions of
the document are made available for informal review and comment
by placing them in the IETF's "Internet Drafts" directory,
which is replicated on a number of Internet hosts. This makes
an evolving working document readily available to a wide
audience, facilitating the process of review and revision.
An Internet Draft that is published as an RFC, or that has
remained unchanged in the Internet Drafts directory for more
than six months without being recommended by the IESG for
publication as an RFC, is simply removed from the Internet
Draft directory. At any time, an Internet Draft may be
replaced by a more recent version of the same specification,
restarting the six-month timeout period.
An Internet Draft is NOT a means of "publishing" a
specification; specifications are published through the RFC
mechanism described in the previous section. Internet Drafts
have no formal status, are not part of the permanent archival
record of Internet activity, and are subject to change or
removal at any time.
* Under no circumstances should an Internet Draft *
* be referenced by any paper, report, or Request-for-*
* Proposal, nor should a vendor claim compliance *
* with an Internet-Draft. *
Note: It is acceptable to reference a standards-track
specification that may reasonably be expected to be published
as an RFC using the phrase "Work in Progress", without
referencing an Internet Draft.
1.4 Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA)
Many protocol specifications include numbers, keywords, and other
parameters that must be uniquely assigned. Examples include
version numbers, protocol numbers, port numbers, and MIB numbers.
The IAB has delegated to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(IANA) the task of assigning such protocol parameters for the
Internet. The IANA publishes tables of all currently assigned
numbers and parameters in RFCs titled "Assigned Numbers" .
Each category of assigned numbers typically arises from some
protocol that is on the standards track or is an Internet
Standard. For example, TCP port numbers are assigned because TCP
is a Standard. A particular value within a category may be
assigned in a variety of circumstances; the specification
requiring the parameter may be in the standards track, it may be
Experimental, or it may be private. Note that assignment of a
number to a protocol is independent of, and does not imply,
acceptance of that protocol as a standard.
Chaos could result from accidental conflicts of parameter values,
so we urge that every protocol parameter, for either public or
private usage, be explicitly assigned by the IANA. Private
protocols often become public. Programmers are often tempted to
choose a "random" value or to guess the next unassigned value of a
parameter; both are hazardous.
The IANA is expected to avoid frivolous assignments and to
distinguish different assignments uniquely. The IANA accomplishes
both goals by requiring a technical description of each protocol
or service to which a value is to be assigned. Judgment on the
adequacy of the description resides with the IANA. In the case of
a standards track or Experimental protocol, the corresponding
technical specifications provide the required documentation for
IANA. For a proprietary protocol, the IANA will keep confidential
any writeup that is supplied, but at least a short (2 page)
writeup is still required for an assignment.
2.1 The Internet Standards Track
Specifications that are destined to become Internet Standards
evolve through a set of maturity levels known as the "standards
track". These maturity levels -- "Proposed Standard", "Draft
Standard", and "Standard" -- are defined and discussed below in
Even after a specification has been adopted as an Internet
Standard, further evolution often occurs based on experience and
the recognition of new requirements. The nomenclature and
procedures of Internet standardization provide for the replacement
of old Internet Standards with new ones, and the assignment of
descriptive labels to indicate the status of "retired" Internet
Standards. A set of maturity levels is defined in Section 3.3 to
cover these and other "off-track" specifications.
2.2 Types of Specifications
Specifications subject to the Internet standardization process
fall into two categories: Technical Specifications (TS) and
Applicability Statements (AS).
2.2.1 Technical Specification (TS)
A Technical Specification is any description of a protocol,
service, procedure, convention, or format. It may completely
describe all of the relevant aspects of its subject, or it may
leave one or more parameters or options unspecified. A TS may
be completely self-contained, or it may incorporate material
from other specifications by reference to other documents
(which may or may not be Internet Standards).
A TS shall include a statement of its scope and the general
intent for its use (domain of applicability). Thus, a TS that
is inherently specific to a particular context shall contain a
statement to that effect. However, a TS does not specify
requirements for its use within the Internet; these
requirements, which depend on the particular context in which
the TS is incorporated by different system configurations, is
defined by an Applicability Statement.
2.2.2 Applicability Statement (AS)
An Applicability Statement specifies how, and under what
circumstances, one or more TSs are to be applied to support a
particular Internet capability. An AS may specify uses for TSs
that are not Internet Standards, as discussed in Section 4.
An AS identifies the relevant TSs and the specific way in which
they are to be combined, and may also specify particular values
or ranges of TS parameters or subfunctions of a TS protocol
that must be implemented. An AS also specifies the
circumstances in which the use of a particular TS is required,
recommended, or elective.
An AS may describe particular methods of using a TS in a
restricted "domain of applicability", such as Internet routers,
terminal servers, Internet systems that interface to Ethernets,
or datagram-based database servers.
The broadest type of AS is a comprehensive conformance
specification, commonly called a "requirements document", for a
particular class of Internet systems, such as Internet routers
or Internet hosts.
An AS may not have a higher maturity level in the standards
track than any standards-track TS to which the AS applies. For
example, a TS at Draft Standard level may be referenced by an
AS at the Proposed Standard or Draft Standard level, but not by
an AS at the Standard level.
An AS may refer to a TS that is either a standards-track speci-
fication or is "Informational", but not to a TS with a maturity
level of "Prototype", "Experimental", or "Historic" (see
Although TSs and ASs are conceptually separate, in practice a
standards-track document may combine an AS and one or more related
TSs. For example, Technical Specifications that are developed
specifically and exclusively for some particular domain of
applicability, e.g., for mail server hosts, often contain within a
single specification all of the relevant AS and TS information.
In such cases, no useful purpose would be served by deliberately
distributing the information among several documents just to
preserve the formal AS/TS distinction. However, a TS that is
likely to apply to more than one domain of applicability should be
developed in a modular fashion, to facilitate its incorporation by
2.3 Standards Track Maturity Levels
ASs and TSs go through stages of development, testing, and
acceptance. Within the Internet standards process, these stages
are formally labeled "maturity levels".
This section describes the maturity levels and the expected
characteristics of specifications at each level.
2.3.1 Proposed Standard
The entry-level maturity for the standards track is "Proposed
Standard". A Proposed Standard specification is generally
stable, has resolved known design choices, is believed to be
well-understood, has received significant community review, and
appears to enjoy enough community interest to be considered
valuable. However, further experience might result in a change
or even retraction of the specification before it advances.
Usually, neither implementation nor operational experience is
required for the designation of a specification as a Proposed
Standard. However, such experience is highly desirable, and
will usually represent a strong argument in favor of a Proposed
The IESG may require implementation and/or operational
experience prior to granting Proposed Standard status to a
specification that materially affects the core Internet
protocols or that specifies behavior that may have significant
operational impact on the Internet. Typically, such a
specification will be published initially with Experimental or
Prototype status (see below), and moved to the standards track
only after sufficient implementation or operational experience
has been obtained.
A Proposed Standard should have no known technical omissions
with respect to the requirements placed upon it. However, the
IESG may recommend that this requirement be explicitly reduced
in order to allow a protocol to advance into the Proposed
Standard state, when a specification is considered to be useful
and necessary (and timely), even absent the missing features.
Implementors should treat Proposed Standards as immature
specifications. It is desirable to implement them in order to
gain experience and to validate, test, and clarify the
specification. However, since the content of Proposed
Standards may be changed if problems are found or better
solutions are identified, deploying implementations of such
standards into a disruption-sensitive customer base is not
2.3.2 Draft Standard
A specification from which at least two independent and
interoperable implementations have been developed, and for
which sufficient successful operational experience has been
obtained, may be elevated to the "Draft Standard" level. This
is a major advance in status, indicating a strong belief that
the specification is mature and will be useful.
A Draft Standard must be well-understood and known to be quite
stable, both in its semantics and as a basis for developing an
implementation. A Draft Standard may still require additional
or more widespread field experience, since it is possible for
implementations based on Draft Standard specifications to
demonstrate unforeseen behavior when subjected to large-scale
use in production environments.
2.3.3 Internet Standard
A specification for which significant implementation and
successful operational experience has been obtained may be
elevated to the Internet Standard level. An Internet Standard
(which may simply be referred to as a Standard) is
characterized by a high degree of technical maturity and by a
generally held belief that the specified protocol or service
provides significant benefit to the Internet community.
A Draft Standard is normally considered to be a final
specification, and changes are likely to be made only to solve
specific problems encountered. In most circumstances, it is
reasonable for vendors to deploy implementations of draft
standards into the customer base.
2.4 Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels
Not every TS or AS is on the standards track. A TS may not be
intended to be an Internet Standard, or it may be intended for
eventual standardization but not yet ready to enter the standards
track. A TS or AS may have been superseded by more recent
Internet Standards, or have otherwise fallen into disuse or
Specifications not on the standards track are labeled with one of
four off-track maturity levels: "Prototype, "Experimental",
"Informational", and "Historic". There are no time limits
associated with these non-standard track labels, and the documents
bearing these labels are not Internet standards in any sense. As
the Internet grows, there is a growing amount of credible
technical work being submitted directly to the RFC Editor without
having been gone through the IETF. It is possible that such
outside submissions may overlap or even conflict with ongoing IETF
activities. In order for the best technical result to emerge for
the community, we believe that the such outside submissions should
be given the opportunity to work within IETF to gain the broadest
It is also possible that supporters of a view different from the
IETF may wish to publish their divergent view. For this reason,
it is important that, ultimately, authors should have the
opportunity to publish Informational and Experimental RFCs should
they wish to. However, it is also possible that this could open a
loophole in which developers could try to bypass the IETF
consensus process completely by publishing an Informational RFC
(and relying on the prestige of the RFC series to gain community
support for their document).
For all these reasons, the IESG and the RFC Editor have agreed to
the following policy for publishing Info and Exp RFCs:
1. The RFC Editor will bring to the attention of the IESG all
Informational and Experimental submissions that the RFC
Editor feels may be related to, or of interest to, the IETF
2. The IESG will review all such referrals within a fixed length
of time and make a recommendation on whether to publish, or
to suggest that the author bring their work within the IETF.
3. If the IESG recommends that the work be brought within the
IETF, but the author declines the invitation, the IESG may
add disclaimer text into the standard boilerplate material
added by the RFC Editor (e.g., "Status of this memo").
For new protocols which affect core services of the
Internet or for which the interactions with existing
protocols are too complex to fully assimilate from the
written specification, the IESG may request that
operational experience be obtained prior to advancement to
Proposed Standard status. In these cases, the IESG will
designate an otherwise complete specification as
"Prototype". This status permits it to be published as an
RFC before it is entered onto the standards track. In
this respect, "Prototype" is similar to "Experimental",
except that it indicates the protocol is specifically
being developed to become a standard, while "Experimental"
generally indicates a more exploratory phase of
The "Experimental" designation on a TS typically denotes a
specification that is part of some research or development
effort. Such a specification is published for the general
information of the Internet technical community and as an
archival record of the work. An Experimental
specification may be the output of an organized Internet
research effort (e.g., a Research Group of the IRTF), or
it may be an individual contribution.
Documents intended for Experimental status should be
submitted directly to the RFC Editor for publication. The
procedure is intended to expedite the publication of any
responsible Experimental specification, subject only to
editorial considerations, and to verification that there
has been adequate coordination with the standards process.
An "Informational" specification is published for the
general information of the Internet community, and does
not represent an Internet community consensus or
recommendation. The Informational designation is intended
to provide for the timely publication of a very broad
range of responsible informational documents from many
sources, subject only to editorial considerations and to
verification that there has been adequate coordination
with the standards process.
Specifications that have been prepared outside of the
Internet community and are not incorporated into the
Internet standards process by any of the provisions of
Section 4 may be published as Informational RFCs, with the
permission of the owner.
A TS or AS that has been superseded by a more recent
specification or is for any other reason considered to be
obsolete is assigned to the "Historic" level. (Purists
have suggested that the word should be "Historical";
however, at this point the use of "Historic" is
2.5 Requirement Levels
An AS may apply one of the following "requirement levels" to
each of the TSs to which it refers:
(a) Required: Implementation of the referenced TS, as specified
by the AS, is required to achieve minimal conformance. For
example, IP and ICMP must be implemented by all Internet
systems using the TCP/IP Protocol Suite.
(b) Recommended: Implementation of the referenced TS is not
required for minimal conformance, but experience and/or
generally accepted technical wisdom suggest its desirability
in the domain of applicability of the AS. Vendors are
strongly encouraged to include the functions, features, and
protocols of Recommended TSs in their products, and should
omit them only if the omission is justified by some special
(c) Elective: Implementation of the referenced TS is optional
within the domain of applicability of the AS; that is, the AS
creates no explicit necessity to apply the TS. However, a
particular vendor may decide to implement it, or a particular
user may decide that it is a necessity in a specific
As noted in Section 2.4, there are TSs that are not in the
standards track or that have been retired from the standards
track, and are therefore not required, recommended, or elective.
Two additional "requirement level" designations are available for
(d) Limited Use: The TS is considered appropriate for use only
in limited or unique circumstances. For example, the usage
of a protocol with the "Experimental" designation should
generally be limited to those actively involved with the
(e) Not Recommended: A TS that is considered to be inappropriate
for general use is labeled "Not Recommended". This may be
because of its limited functionality, specialized nature, or
The "Official Protocol Standards" RFC lists a general requirement
level for each TS, using the nomenclature defined in this section.
In many cases, more detailed descriptions of the requirement
levels of particular protocols and of individual features of the
protocols will be found in appropriate ASs.
3. THE INTERNET STANDARDS PROCESS
3.1 Review and Approval
A "standards action" -- entering a particular specification into,
advancing it within, or removing it from, the standards track --
must be approved by the IESG.
3.1.1 Initiation of Action
Typically, a standards action is initiated by a recommendation
to the appropriate IETF Area Director by the individual or
group that is responsible for the specification, usually an
IETF Working Group.
After completion to the satisfaction of its author and the
cognizant Working Group, a document that is expected to enter
or advance in the Internet standardization process shall be
made available as an Internet Draft. It shall remain as an
Internet Draft for a period of time that permits useful
community review, at least two weeks, before submission to the
IESG with a recommendation for action.
3.1.2 IESG Review and Approval
The IESG shall determine whether a specification satisfies the
applicable criteria for the recommended action (see Sections
3.2 and 3.3 of this document).
The IESG shall determine if an independent technical review of
the specification is required, and shall commission one when
necessary. This may require creating a new Working Group, or
an existing group may agree to take responsibility for
reviewing the specification. When a specification is
sufficiently important in terms of its potential impact on the
Internet or on the suite of Internet protocols, the IESG shall
form an independent technical review and analysis committee to
prepare an evaluation of the specification. Such a committee
is commissioned to provide an objective basis for agreement
within the Internet community that the specification is ready
The IESG shall communicate its findings to the IETF to permit a
final review by the general Internet community. This "last-
call" notification shall be via electronic mail to the IETF
mailing list. In addition, for important specifications there
shall be a presentation or statement by the appropriate Working
Group or Area Director during an IETF plenary meeting. Any
significant issues that have not been resolved satisfactorily
during the development of the specification may be raised at
this time for final resolution by the IESG.
In a timely fashion, but no sooner than two weeks after issuing
the last-call notification to the IETF mailing list, the IESG
shall make its final determination on whether or not to approve
the standards action, and shall notify the IETF of its decision
Following IESG approval and any necessary editorial work, the
RFC Editor shall publish the specification as an RFC. The
specification shall then be removed from the Internet Drafts
An official summary of standards actions completed and pending
shall appear in each issue of the Internet Society Newsletter.
This shall constitute the "journal of record" for Internet
standards actions. In addition, the IESG shall publish a
monthly summary of standards actions completed and pending in
the Internet Monthly Report, which is distributed to all
members of the IETF mailing list.
Finally, the IAB shall publish quarterly an "Internet Official
Protocol Standards" RFC, summarizing the status of all Internet
protocol and service specifications, both within and outside
the standards track.
3.2 Entering the Standards Track
A specification that is potentially an Internet Standard may
(a) an ISOC-sponsored effort (typically an IETF Working Group),
(b) independent activity by individuals, or
(c) an external organization.
Case (a) accounts for the great majority of specifications that
enter the standards track. In cases (b) and (c), the work might
be tightly integrated with the work of an existing IETF Working
Group, or it might be offered for standardization without prior
IETF involvement. In most cases, a specification resulting from
an effort that took place outside of an IETF Working Group will be
submitted to an appropriate Working Group for evaluation and
refinement. If necessary, an appropriate Working Group will be
For externally-developed specifications that are well-integrated
with existing Working Group efforts, a Working Group is assumed to
afford adequate community review of the accuracy and applicability
of the specification. If a Working Group is unable to resolve all
technical and usage questions, additional independent review may
be necessary. Such reviews may be done within a Working Group
context, or by an ad hoc review committee established specifically
for that purpose. Ad hoc review committees may also be convened
in other circumstances when the nature of review required is too
small to require the formality of Working Group creation. It is
the responsibility of the appropriate IETF Area Director to
determine what, if any, review of an external specification is
needed and how it shall be conducted.
3.3 Advancing in the Standards Track
A specification shall remain at the Proposed Standard level for at
least six (6) months.
A specification shall remain at the Draft Standard level for at
least four (4) months, or until at least one IETF meeting has
occurred, whichever comes later.
These minimum periods are intended to ensure adequate opportunity
for community review without severely impacting timeliness. These
intervals shall be measured from the date of publication of the
corresponding RFC(s), or, if the action does not result in RFC
publication, the date of IESG approval of the action.
A specification may be (indeed, is likely to be) revised as it
advances through the standards track. At each stage, the IESG
shall determine the scope and significance of the revision to the
specification, and, if necessary and appropriate, modify the
recommended action. Minor revisions are expected, but a
significant revision may require that the specification accumulate
more experience at its current maturity level before progressing.
Finally, if the specification has been changed very significantly,
the IESG may recommend that the revision be treated as a new
document, re-entering the standards track at the beginning.
Change of status shall result in republication of the
specification as an RFC, except in the rare case that there have
been no changes at all in the specification since the last
publication. Generally, desired changes will be "batched" for
incorporation at the next level in the standards track. However,
deferral of changes to the next standards action on the
specification will not always be possible or desirable; for
example, an important typographical error, or a technical error
that does not represent a change in overall function of the
specification, may need to be corrected immediately. In such
cases, the IESG or RFC Editor may be asked to republish the RFC
with corrections, and this will not reset the minimum time-at-
When a standards-track specification has not reached the Internet
Standard level but has remained at the same status level for
twenty-four (24) months, and every twelve (12) months thereafter
until the status is changed, the IESG shall review the viability
of the standardization effort responsible for that specification.
Following each such review, the IESG shall approve termination or
continuation of the development. This decision shall be
communicated to the IETF via electronic mail to the IETF mailing
list, to allow the Internet community an opportunity to comment.
This provision is not intended to threaten a legitimate and active
Working Group effort, but rather to provide an administrative
mechanism for terminating a moribund effort.
3.4 Revising a Standard
A new version of an established Internet Standard must progress
through the full Internet standardization process as if it were a
completely new specification. Once the new version has reached
the Standard level, it will usually replace the previous version,
which will move to Historic status. However, in some cases both
versions may remain as Internet Standards to honor the
requirements of an installed base. In this situation, the
relationship between the previous and the new versions must be
explicitly stated in the text of the new version or in another
appropriate document (e.g., an Applicability Statement; see
3.5 Retiring a Standard
As the technology changes and matures, it is possible for a new
Standard specification to be so clearly superior technically that
one or more existing Internet Standards for the same function
should be retired. In this case, the IESG shall approve a change
of status of the superseded specification(s) from Standard to
Historic. This recommendation shall be issued with the same
Last-Call and notification procedures used for any other standards
3.6 Conflict Resolution and Appeals
IETF Working Groups are generally able to reach consensus, which
sometimes requires difficult compromises between differing
technical solutions. However, there are times when even
reasonable and knowledgeable people are unable to agree. To
achieve the goals of openness and fairness, such conflicts must be
resolved with a process of open review and discussion.
Participants in a Working Group may disagree with Working Group
decisions, based either upon the belief that their own views are
not being adequately considered or the belief that the Working
Group made a technical choice which essentially will not work.
The first issue is a difficulty with Working Group process, and
the latter is an assertion of technical error. These two kinds of
disagreements may have different kinds of final outcome, but the
resolution process is the same for both cases.
Working Group participants always should first attempt to discuss
their concerns with the Working Group chair. If this proves
unsatisfactory, they should raise their concerns with an IESG Area
Director or other IESG member. In most cases, issues raised to
the level of the IESG will receive consideration by the entire
IESG, with the relevant Area Director or the IETF Chair being
tasked with communicating results of the discussion.
For the general community as well as Working Group participants
seeking a larger audience for their concerns, there are two
opportunities for explicit comment. (1) When appropriate, a
specification that is being suggested for advancement along the
standards track will be presented during an IETF plenary. At that
time, IETF participants may choose to raise issues with the
plenary or to pursue their issues privately, with any of the
relevant IETF/IESG management personnel. (2) Specifications that
are to be considered by the IESG are publicly announced to the
IETF mailing list, with a request for comments.
Finally, if a problem persists, the IAB may be asked to adjudicate
* If a concern involves questions of adequate Working Group
discussion, the IAB will attempt to determine the actual
nature and extent of discussion that took place within the
Working Group, based upon the Working Group's written record
and upon comments of other Working Group participants.
* If a concern involves questions of technical adequacy, the
IAB may convene an appropriate review panel, which may then
recommend that the IESG and Working Group re-consider an
alternate technical choice.
* If a concern involves a reasonable difference in technical
approach, but does not substantiate a claim that the Working
Group decision will fail to perform adequately, the Working
Group participant may wish to pursue formation of a separate
Working Group. The IESG and IAB encourage alternative points
of view and the development of technical options, allowing
the general Internet community to show preference by making
its own choices, rather than by having legislated decisions.
4. EXTERNAL STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS
Many standards groups other than the IETF create and publish
standards documents for network protocols and services. When these
external specifications play an important role in the Internet, it is
desirable to reach common agreements on their usage -- i.e., to
establish Internet Standards relating to these external
There are two categories of external specifications:
(1) Open Standards
Accredited national and international standards bodies, such as
ANSI, ISO, IEEE, and ITU-TS, develop a variety of protocol and
service specifications that are similar to Technical
Specifications defined here. National and international groups
also publish "implementors' agreements" that are analogous to
Applicability Statements, capturing a body of implementation-
specific detail concerned with the practical application of
(2) Vendor Specifications
A vendor-proprietary specification that has come to be widely
used in the Internet may be treated by the Internet community as
if it were a "standard". Such a specification is not generally
developed in an open fashion, is typically proprietary, and is
controlled by the vendor or vendors that produced it.
To avoid conflict between competing versions of a specification, the
Internet community will not standardize a TS or AS that is simply an
"Internet version" of an existing external specification unless an
explicit cooperative arrangement to do so has been made. However,
there are several ways in which an external specification that is
important for the operation and/or evolution of the Internet may be
adopted for Internet use.
(a) Incorporation of an Open Standard
An Internet Standard TS or AS may incorporate an open external
standard by reference. The reference must be to a specific
version of the external standard, e.g., by publication date or
by edition number, according to the prevailing convention of the
organization that is responsible for the specification.
For example, many Internet Standards incorporate by reference
the ANSI standard character set "ASCII" . Whenever possible,
the referenced specification shall be made available online.
(b) Incorporation of a Vendor Specification
Vendor-proprietary specifications may be incorporated by
reference to a specific version of the vendor standard. If the
vendor-proprietary specification is not widely and readily
available, the IESG may request that it be published as an
For a vendor-proprietary specification to be incorporated within
the Internet standards process, the proprietor must meet the
requirements of section 5 below, and in general the
specification shall be made available online.
The IESG shall not favor a particular vendor's proprietary
specification over the technically equivalent and competing
specifications of other vendors by making it "required" or
An IETF Working Group may start from an external specification
and develop it into an Internet TS or AS. This is acceptable if
(1) the specification is provided to the Working Group in
compliance with the requirements of section 5 below, and (2)
change control has been conveyed to IETF by the original
developer of the specification. Continued participation in the
IETF work by the original owner is likely to be valuable, and is
The following sample text illustrates how a vendor might convey
change control to the Internet Society:
"XXXX Organization asserts that it has the right to transfer to
the Internet Society responsibility for further evolution of the
YYYY protocol documented in References (1-n) below. XXXX
Organization hereby transfers to the Internet Society
responsibility for all future modification and development of
the YYYY protocol, without reservation or condition."
5. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
5.1. General Policy
In all matters of intellectual property rights and procedures, the
intention is to benefit the Internet community and the public at
large, while respecting the legitimate rights of others.
As used in this section, the following terms have the indicated
o "Trade secrets" are confidential, proprietary information.
o "Contribution" means any disclosure of information or ideas,
whether in oral, written, or other form of expression, by an
individual or entity ("Contributor").
o "Standards track documents" are specifications and other
documents that have been elevated to the Internet standards
track in accordance with the Internet Standards Process.
o "Copyrights" are purportedly valid claims to copyright in all
or part of a contribution to standards work, whether or not
the contribution becomes a standards track document,
including but not limited to any works by third parties that
the contribution is based on or incorporates.
o "ISOC" refers to the Internet Society and its trustees,
officers, employees, contractors, and agents, as well as the
IAB, IETF, IESG, IRTF, IRSG, and other task forces,
committees, and groups coordinated by the Internet Society.
o "Standards work" is work involved in the creation, testing,
development, revision, adoption, or maintenance of an
Internet standard that is carried out under the auspices of
o "Internet community" refers to the entire set of persons,
whether individuals or entities, including but not limited to
technology developers, service vendors, and researchers, who
use the Internet, either directly or indirectly, and users of
any other networks which implement and use Internet
5.3 Trade Secret Rights
Except as otherwise provided under this section, ISOC will not
accept, in connection with standards work, any idea, technology,
information, document, specification, work, or other contribution,
whether written or oral, that is a trade secret or otherwise
subject to any commitment, understanding, or agreement to keep it
confidential or otherwise restrict its use or dissemination; and,
specifically, ISOC does not assume any confidentiality obligation
with respect to any such contribution.
5.4. Rights and Permissions
In the course of standards work, ISOC receives contributions in
various forms and from many persons. To facilitate the wide
dissemination of these contributions, it is necessary to establish
specific understandings concerning any copyrights, patents, patent
applications, or other rights in the contribution. The procedures
set forth in this section apply to contributions submitted after 1
April 1994. For Internet standards documents published before
this date (the RFC series has been published continuously since
April 1969), information on rights and permissions must be sought
directly from persons claiming rights therein.
5.4.1. All Contributions
By submission of a contribution to ISOC, and in consideration
of possible dissemination of the contribution to the Internet
community, a contributor is deemed to agree to the following
terms and conditions:
l. Contributor agrees to grant, and does grant to ISOC, a
perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, world-wide right
and license under any copyrights in the contribution to
reproduce, distribute, perform or display publicly and
prepare derivative works that are based on or incorporate
all or part of the contribution, and to reproduce,
distribute and perform or display publicly any such
derivative works, in any form and in all languages, and to
authorize others to do so.
2. Contributor acknowledges that ISOC has no duty to publish
or otherwise use or disseminate every contribution.
3. Contributor grants ISOC permission to reference the
name(s) and address(s) of the contributor as well as other
persons who are named as contributors.
4. Where the contribution was prepared jointly with others,
or is a work for hire, the contributor represents and
warrants that the other owner(s) of rights have been
informed of the rights and permissions granted to ISOC and
that any required authorizations have been obtained.
Copies of any such required authorizations will be
furnished to ISOC, upon request.
5. Contributor acknowledges and agrees that ISOC assumes no
obligation to maintain any confidentiality with respect to
any aspect of the contribution, and warrants that the the
contribution does not violate the rights of others.
6. All material objects in which contributions are submitted
to ISOC become the property of ISOC and need not be
returned to the contributor.
Where appropriate, written confirmation of the above terms and
conditions will be obtained in writing by ISOC, usually by
electronic mail; however, a decision not to obtain such
confirmation in a given case shall not act to revoke the prior
grant of rights and permissions with respect to the
contribution as provided herein. Except as provided below, the
Executive Director of the IETF Secretariat, or a person
designated by the Executive Director, will be responsible for
obtaining written confirmations.
In the case of IETF Working Groups, the responsibility for
identifying the principal contributor(s) for purposes of
obtaining written confirmation of the above rights and
permissions will be assumed by the Editor or Chair of the
particular Group. While only those persons named as principal
contributor(s) will generally be requested to provide written
confirmation, it is the responsibility of all contributors to
standards work to inform the IETF Secretariat of any
proprietary claims in any contributions and to furnish the
Secretariat with any required confirmation.
Where any person participating in standards work asserts any
proprietary right in a contribution, it is the responsibility
of such person to so inform the Editor or Chair of the group,
promptly, in writing. The Editor or Chair will then determine
whether to list the person as a principal contributor, or to
revise the document to omit the particular contribution in
5.4.2. Standards Track Documents
(A) ISOC will not propose, adopt, or continue to maintain any
standards, including but not limited to standards labelled
Proposed, Draft or Internet Standards, which can only be
practiced using technology or works that are subject to
known copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other
rights, except with the prior written assurance of the
owner of rights that:
l. ISOC may, without cost, freely implement and use the
technology or works in its standards work;
2. upon adoption and during maintenance of an Internet
Standard, any party will be able to obtain the right
to implement and use the technology or works under
specified, reasonable, non-discriminatory terms; and
3. the party giving the assurance has the right and
power to grant the licenses and knows of no other
copyrights, patents, patent applications, or other
rights that may prevent ISOC and members of the
Internet community from implementing and operating
under the standard.
(B) ISOC disclaims any responsibility for identifying the
existence of or for evaluating any copyrights, patents,
patent applications, or other rights, on behalf of or for
the benefit of any member of the Internet community, and
ISOC takes no position on the validity or scope of any
such rights. Further, ISOC will take no position on the
ownership of inventions made during standards work, except
for inventions of which an employee or agent of the
Internet Society is a joint inventor. In the latter case,
the Internet Society will make its rights available under
license to anyone in the Internet community in accordance
with the written assurances set forth below.
(A) When a written assurance has been obtained as set forth
below, the relevant standards track documents shall include
the following notice:
"__________(name of rights' owner) has provided written
assurance to the Internet Society that any party will be
able to obtain, under reasonable, nondiscriminatory
terms, the right to use the technology covered
by__________(list copyrights, patents, patent
applications, and other rights) to practice the
standard. A copy of this assurance may be obtained from
the Executive Director of the IETF Secretariat. The
Internet Society takes no position on the validity or
scope of the copyrights, patents, patent applications,
or other rights, or on the appropriateness of the terms
and conditions of the assurances. The Internet Society
does not make any representation there are no other
rights which may apply to the practice of this standard,
nor that it has made any effort to identify any such
rights. For further information on the Internet
Society's procedures with respect to rights in standards
and standards-related documentation, see RFC_____,
(B) ISOC encourages all interested parties to bring to its
attention, at the earliest possible time, the existence of
any copyrights, patents, patent applications, or other rights
pertaining to Internet Standards. For this purpose, each
standards document will include the following invitation:
"The Internet Society invites any interested party to
bring to its attention any copyrights, patents or patent
applications, or other proprietary rights which purport
to cover technology or works that may be required to
practice this standard. Please address the information
to the Executive Director of the Internet Engineering
Task Force Secretariat."
(C) When applicable, the following sentence will be included in
"As of __________, no information about any copyrights,
patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
rights has been received."
(D) The following copyright notice and disclaimer will be
included in all ISOC standards-related documentation:
"Copyright (c) ISOC (year date). Permission is granted
to reproduce, distribute, transmit and otherwise
communicate to the public any material subject to
copyright by ISOC, provided that credit is given to the
source. For information concerning required
permissions, please contact the Executive Director of
the Internet Engineering Task Force Secretariat."
ISOC hereby informs the Internet community and other
persons that any standards, whether or not elevated to
the Internet Standard level of maturity, or any
standards-related documentation made available under the
auspices of ISOC are provided on an "AS IS" basis and
ISOC DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF
MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR
THAT ANY STANDARD OR DOCUMENTATION DOES NOT VIOLATE THE
RIGHTS OF OTHERS.
The agreement on assurances set forth below will normally be
entered into between the owner of rights and ISOC at the time a
standards track document in which proprietary rights are claimed
reaches the "Proposed Standard" stage of maturity:
This is an agreement between ______________(hereinafter
called "Rights Holder") and the Internet Society on behalf of
itself and its trustees, officers, employees, contractors and
agents, the Internet Architecture Board, Internet Engineering
Steering Group, Internet Engineering Task Force, and other task
forces, committees and groups coordinated by the Internet Society
(hereinafter called "ISOC"), and for the benefit of all users of
the Internet and users of any other networks which implement and
use Internet Standards (hereinafter together with ISOC called
"Internet community"). This agreement takes effect when signed on
behalf of the Rights Holder and the Internet Society.
The Rights Holder represents that it has or will have rights
in patent applications, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and
other proprietary rights in various countries (hereinafter called
"Rights") which may block or impede the ability of the Internet
community to implement and operate under the standards set forth
in ISOC standards document ____,____, and ____(the listed
standards and any similar or related standards now existing or
later developed are together hereinafter called "Standards"). The
Rights as they presently exist are listed on attached Schedule A.
The Rights Holder further agrees to review the Rights listed in
Schedule A from time to time, and, in particular, immediately
prior to the elevation of the Standards to the Internet Standard
level of maturity in accordance with the Internet Standards
Process, and to inform the Executive Director of the Internet
Engineering Task Force Secretariat promptly upon learning of any
new Rights in the Standards that should be added to the list in
The Rights Holder believes and affirms that it will derive
benefits by permitting ISOC and the Internet community to
implement and operate under the Standards without interference of
any of the Rights. The policy of ISOC is not to propose, adopt,
or continue to maintain the Standards unless written assurances
are given by the Rights Holder with respect to proprietary rights.
Accordingly, in consideration of the benefits noted above and
other good and valuable consideration, the Rights Holder makes the
assurances set forth herein.
The Rights Holder grants to ISOC a cost-free, perpetual,
non-exclusive, world-wide license under the Rights with respect to
implementing and operating under the Standards. The license
extends to all activities of ISOC involving the Standards without
limit, including the rights to reproduce, distribute, propose,
test, develop, analyze, enhance, revise, adopt, maintain,
withdraw, perform and display publicly, and prepare derivative
works in any form whatsoever and in all languages, and to
authorize others to do so. The Rights Holder also grants ISOC
permission to use the name and address of Rights Holder in
connection with the Standards.
The Rights Holder relinquishes any right or claim in any
trade secret which is part of the Rights, and makes the trade
secrets available without restriction to the Internet community.
The Rights Holder hereby acknowledges that ISOC assumes no
obligation to maintain any confidentiality with respect to any
aspect of the Standards, and warrants that the Standards do not
violate the rights of others.
The Rights Holder assures ISOC that the Rights Holder shall
grant to any member of the Internet community, as a beneficiary of
this agreement, a non-exclusive, perpetual, world-wide license
under the Rights, with respect to operating under the Standards
for a reasonable royalty and under other terms which are
reasonable considering the objective of ISOC to assure that all
members of the Internet community will be able to operate under
the Standards at a minimal cost. The license discussed in this
paragraph shall permit the licensee to make, have made, test,
enhance, implement, and use methods, works, computer programs, and
hardware as needed or desirable for operating under the Standards.
Every license shall include a clause automatically modifying the
terms of the license to be as favorable as the terms of any other
license under the Rights previously or later granted by the Rights
A form of the license shall always be publicly accessible on
the Internet, and shall become effective immediately when the
member of the Internet community executes it and posts it for
delivery to the Rights Holder either by mail or electronically.
The initial version of the license shall be in the form attached
as Schedule B.
The Rights Holder represents and warrants that its rights are
sufficient to permit it to grant the licenses and give the other
assurances recited in this agreement. The Rights Holder further
represents and warrants that it does not know of any rights of any
other party in any country which would block or impede the ability
of ISOC and the Internet community to implement or operate under
the Standards, or that would prevent the Rights Holder from
granting the licenses and other assurances in this agreement.
This agreement shall not be construed to obligate the ISOC to
propose, adopt, develop, or maintain any of the Standards or any
 Postel, J., "Internet Official Protocol Standards", STD 1, RFC
1600, USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1994.
 ANSI, Coded Character Set -- 7-Bit American Standard Code for
Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1986.
 Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2, RFC
1340, USC/Information Sciences Institute, July 1992.
 Postel, J., "Introduction to the STD Notes", RFC 1311,
USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1992.
 Postel, J., "Instructions to RFC Authors", RFC 1543,
USC/Information Sciences Institute, October 1993.
APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS
ANSI: American National Standards Institute
ARPA: (U.S.) Advanced Research Projects Agency
AS: Applicability Statement
ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange
ITU-T: Telecommunications Standardization sector of the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN treaty organization;
ITU-T was formerly called CCITT.
IAB: Internet Architecture Board
IANA: Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ICMP: Internet Control Message Protocol
IESG: Internet Engineering Steering Group
IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force
IP: Internet Protocol
IRTF: Internet Research Task Force
ISO: International Organization for Standardization
ISOC: Internet Society
MIB: Management Information Base
OSI: Open Systems Interconnection
RFC: Request for Comments
TCP: Transmission Control Protocol
TS: Technical Specification
APPENDIX B: CONTACT POINTS
To contact the RFC Editor, send an email message to: "rfc-
To contact the IANA for information or to request a number, keyword or
parameter assignment send an email message to: "firstname.lastname@example.org".
To contact the IESG, send an email message to: "email@example.com".
To contact the IAB, send an email message to: "firstname.lastname@example.org".
To contact the Executive Director of the ISOC, send an email message to
APPENDIX C: FUTURE ISSUES
It has been suggested that additional procedures in the following areas
should be considered.
o Policy Recommendations and Operational Guidelines
Internet standards have generally been concerned with the technical
specifications for hardware and software required for computer
communication across interconnected networks. The Internet itself
is composed of networks operated by a great variety of
organizations, with diverse goals and rules. However, good user
service requires that the operators and administrators of the
Internet follow some common guidelines for policies and operations.
While these guidelines are generally different in scope and style
from protocol standards, their establishment needs a similar
process for consensus building. Specific rules for establishing
policy recommendations and operational guidelines for the Internet
in an open and fair fashion should be developed, published, and
adopted by the Internet community.
o Industry Consortia
The rules presented in Section 4 for external standards should be
expanded to handle industry consortia.
o Tracking Procedure
It has been suggested that there should be a formal procedure for
tracking problems and change requests as a specification moves
through the standards track. Such a procedure might include
written responses, which were cataloged and disseminated, or simply
a database that listed changes between versions. At the present
time, there are not sufficient resources to administer such a
A simpler proposal is to keep a change log for documents.
o Time Limit
An explicit time limit (e.g., 3 months) has been suggested for IESG
resolution concerning a standards action under the rules of Section
3.1.2. If it were necessary to extend the time for some reason,
the IETF would have to be explicitly notified.
o Bug Reporting
There is no documented mechanism for an individual community member
to use to report a problem or bug with a standards-track
specification. One suggestion was that every standards RFC should
include an email list for the responsible Working Group.
Security issues are not discussed in this memo.
Christian Huitema, IAB Chairman
2004 Route des Lucioles
F-06561 Valbonne Cedex
Phone: +33 93 65 77 15
Phill Gross, IESG Chairman
Director of Broadband Engineering
MCI Data Services Division
2100 Reston Parkway, Room 6001
Reston, VA 22091
Phone: +1 703 715 7432
Fax: +1 703 715 7436