IETF "paywall"

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On Sun, Mar 01, 2015 at 04:45:07AM +0530, Pranesh Prakash wrote:

It seems like a fiction because it is a fiction.

Check the IETF main list where there is discussion going on about CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) footing the bills for participants.

That doesn't sound like a person participating in their personal capacity to me.

At 03:07 01/03/2015, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

Quite apart from what John says, I'd like to know what you think determines when someone is participating in their personal capacity. You seem to be suggesting that the source of the funding automatically determines what a participant does or says.

I can tell you that my employer subsidizes participation of a number of us in the IETF because my employer thinks the Internet is better if the IETF is strong and full of independent voices. We do not co-ordinate our positions. My employer does not have a view (or at least not one it has expressed) about what I ought to interest myself in at the IETF. The biggest problem I have ever had is juggling these obligations (which my employer recognizes and supports) with the rest of my day job.

So, if you prefer to say that I'm still not acting "in my personal capacity", very well; but I'd like to know what the difference is (in operationalized terms, please).

At 15:35 02/03/2015, JFC Morfin wrote:

Dear Andrew and Brian,

Thank you for your key inputs. At least in the way I see them.

Please consider carefully the RFC 6852 current paradigm. In a nutshell, it is "open permissionless innovation by global community economic coopetition". This is not a bad approach and I understand the IETF, NTIA, ICANN, etc. are progressively adapting to it (IANAPLAN). However, for this to be fully effective, one has to admit that:

1. this coopetition fractally also applies within each global community, etc. down to the corporation, and down to individuals. This is what your employer seems to have understood. This is naturally moderated by

  • people's self-restriction in order to not endanger their job;
  • unselfishness of dedicated independent consultants
  • and because "as a matter of objective fact, people's participation, their technical perceptions, and their achievements are affected by their employment. It would be delusional to imagine that anything else is possible" (Brian Carpenter).

2. the IETF itself is one of these global communities since there is no documented ultimate technical referent, or economic referent to read and evaluate the market decisions. The ISOC/IETF has chosen the NTIA as its ultimate decision maker (most probably meaning the FCC in the long range), and ICANN seems to adopt the WEF as their economic reader. All of this and many other things makes the IETF system - however imperfect - to be largely able to resist corporate bullying (cf. Brian Carpenter).

Such a situation is acceptable in a multistakeholder approach where global communities are identified and mutually agreed on (Edge Providers, States, ICANN, RIRs, USCC). Let us say that the IETF is an RFC 6852 informal default SDO for TCP/IP, mainly for the OECD/US-TPP-TAFTA industrial community.

It is not advisable in the omnistakeholder multitechnology global governance context that I defend.

Moreover, this implies an additional problem/clarifying feature: the IETF dedication to end to end TCP/IP issues, i.e. to the covering of only a very large but reducing part of the digital catenet's (global multitech network of networks) intelligent use needs. Therefore, its Internet technology is to be considered increasingly as one of the datacommunications technologies being used on the catenet and/or one of the proposal's source concerning the multi-technologcal common needs.

The IETF doesn’t want to document - at least at this stage - the IEN 48 second motivation's intended master/fundamental catenet protocol set, as we have known/used one with the "NSA-over-compatible" Tymnet Protocol or even with Telenet originated CCITT X.75/25.

The real issue is not in practical protocol issues, but rather in the whole digital architectonic and multi-architectural framework, societal understanding, and political governance. The IETF is engaged in a consumerist scheme that is different from the WSIS' “ people centered, à caractère humain, centrada en la persona” consensus. This means that it can accept every kind of diversity within that framework but it is inadequate to internally discuss an alternate framework. This did belong to IAB: RFC 6852 now assigns the job to the market competition.

All of this causes many problems. My feeling is that the solution is not in an ethically divided catch-all organization, but rather in a harmonious sponsored SDOs coopetitive network (cf. RFC 6852 again).

Where the IETF is the best, the IETF should be. For what does not belong to that IETF, new structures are to be helped to emerge or adapt, so that incumbents will be able to welcome and help them. IMHO, the experience of the WHATWG is important to consider.


I tried some rendezvous between the IETF, lead-users, Libre, as an IETF non-WG mailing list (iucg@ietf.org). This is possibly of interest as a liaison if it was widely publicized/accepted, but it cannot stand alone on its own. What is needed is a Libre's Google like transnational corporation. Because it will be necessary for it to organize an internal omnistakeholderist process that can in turn play its political, normative, and industrial part in the multistakeholderist polylogue. This calls for structure, exposure, money, and (probably disruptive) adequate major industrial innovation.

This is the idea behind the Catenet Cooperative Corporation (CCC) project. If it succeeds it will have its own normalization/standardization system that will relate with the IETF within the RFC 6852 framework on an equal footing basis. This will be because its solutions will be on an equal technical footing basis via the market, as will be the NDNconsortium, RINA, SDN, etc. name them, in their respective areas.

For this to happen and succeed it must start as the IETF did: a small group but of Libre researchers this time, instead of US-government-fundedones. May be some will be from the IETF.

If the IETF thinks it needs a "paywall" in addition to its "trollwall" system in order to address its RFC 3774bis remote participation issues, I see no problem with it. We all need the IETF to continue being successful and consistent. RFC 6852 is for everyone to liaise, as IETF does with the ITU, being forced to do it by the market.

My only real concerns are:

  • the way RFCs are presented in that they are not very attractive and transparent for people who did not participate in their writing.
  • what Brian says "I remind you that this thread started around the question of how can we fund a model with more emphasis on remote participation and less emphasis on face-to-face meetings. It's a sad fact that without money at the level of a few $M per year, we can't fund any model at all". The target for us users is an intelligent use of our digital tools to be documented. This also means a free, smart use: how could it be deemed attractive for the internet to use IETF solutions if using these very tools to document them would cost so much?