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Anybody can participate in the IETF (Was: Why is IPv6 broken?)

In a message written on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 11:28:58AM -0400, Ronald Bonica wrote:
> Maybe we can fix this by:
> a) bringing together larger groups of clueful operators in the IETF
> b) deciding which issues interest them
> c) showing up and being vocal as a group in protocol developing working groups
> To some degree, we already do this in the IETF OPS area, but judging by your comments, we don't do it nearly enough.

I don't think it's that simple, sadly.  I'll no doubt get flamed
by the 5 people on NANOG that also participate in the IETF in a
regular basis, but the reality is most operators don't want to sit
through multi-year protocol devopment work, or have much of anything
to do with "pie in the sky" ideas.

The IETF can, should, and does do both of those things today.  Where the
friction occurs is there is no good place to loop the operators back in,
so they are often  kicked out, discouraged, or just uninterested on the
front end (we're going to go play with new ideas kids!) and then not
brought back in (it's ready for deployment, wait, why are no operators

So it's not that individual issues are of interest to operators (outside
of the IETF OPS area, which is a special case), it's that the process
needs work.

I'll pick on LISP as an example, since many operators are at least
aware of it.  Some operators have said we need a locator and identifier
split.  Interesting feedback.  The IETF has gone off and started
playing in the sandbox, trying to figure out how to make that go.
Several years of coding have occured, a bunch of proof of concept
testing is going on.  Even many of the operators who wanted such a spit
are not really interested in following the details of the work right
now.  Of course, if you are, you can, I'm not advocating any exclusions.

But there is no roadmap in the IETF process now for LISP that says
"We've got this 90% baked, we need to circulate a draft to the NANOG
mailing list, request operator comments, and actively solicit operators
to participate in the expanded test network".  We need that mechanism to
tell folks "hey, it's real enough your operational feedback is now
useful" and "come test our new idea".

Today the IETF just finishes their work, "tosses it over the wall" and
hopes for the best.  Generally it's not 100%, and vendors make
propretary changes to the standards slowly over time to meet the needs
of operators.  It would be far better if there was at least one round of
"ask the operators" and incorproate feedback before it went over the
wall, and in paricular before working groups disbanded.

In short, make it easy for the operators to participate at the right
time in the process.  It will be better for everyone!

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/