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[ih] FTP Design

On 7/3/2012 9:23 AM, Dave Walden wrote:
> perhaps this is one of those cases (which we hear about in technology
>  history) where the intersection of constraints resulted in the
> "simple" idea.

glad you phrased it that way...

I did a chapter for the Lynch/Rose Internet System Handbook on the IETF
standards process, and then a version of it for ACM Standards View:

    Making Standards the IETF Way

Its ending is relevant to Dave's point:

    /"*The Ironic Contrast*

      Over the last five years, work from the Internet community has
shown vastly greater market acceptance and use than the work of the OSI
community. It's puzzling to try to determine the engineering rule of
thumb that explains this. One possibility is the OSI community's desire
for functional completeness and accommodation of all interests leads to
the philosophy of including as much as possible in a design. In
contrast, successful IETF working groups are driven by near-term needs
and consequently try to produce designs that remove as much as possible.
At first blush, this should produce highly limited designs. The trick in
the process appears to be the group consensus requirement. As one would
expect, each participant contributes their list of desired features, but
the short time-fuse on the work requires that the group reach consensus
quickly. This can only be done by removing features, since only a small
core of features will be clearly acceptable to most participants. (The
alternative approach of including all of everyone's preferences requires
too much group debate and results in a design that is too-obviously
unacceptable.) However, the process of removing features also requires
some assurance that some of those features can be added later. Hence,
the design usually permits extensibility which is itself, designed with
an approximate sense of the sorts of extensions that are likely to be

Quite a bit of current IETF work appears slanted more towards an initial 
completeness that attempts to satisfy the /union/ of participants' 
desires, rather than the earlier IETF mode of seeking an initial version 
that satisfied only the /intersection/, deferring the remainder for 
later enhancement efforts.

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking