[ih] The Postel Principle
Jack Haverty via Internet-history
internet-history at elists.isoc.org
Sat Nov 9 16:02:03 PST 2019
Curious. I never received that message from Brian. Internet Managers,
what's the problem with your networks' mail service!!? Ohh, not
you...who do I talk to?... Why are you all pointing fingers? [Sigh.]
I looked at that draft iab document, and the abstract brought a sense of
"The robustness principle, often phrased as "be conservative in what you
send, and liberal in what you accept", has long guided the design and
implementation of Internet protocols. The posture this statement
advocates promotes interoperability in the short term, but can
negatively affect the protocol ecosystem over time. For a protocol that
is actively maintained, the robustness principle can, and should, be
I recall having exactly that discussion with Jon back in the day, when
we were both on the ICCB(IAB). Several times. My much less eloquent
argument was that you should fix bugs, not let them fester forever
hidden by bandaids of "be liberal". If there's a bug, report it, and
make an interim workaround if possible. Otherwise you're just laying
land mines hidden in flawed code all over the Internet that will some
day blow up and be much harder to fix. It's similar to dealing with a
new nasty virus - find Patient Zero, contain the problem and get it
fixed asap before it explodes as a pandemic.
I lost that argument with Jon about the Robustness Principle, but have
always been supportive of Consensus and Code - and you pragmatically
couldn't get consensus unless you had running code.
I must shamefully admit that I haven't been following RFCs since about
when they became 4-digit numbers. Maybe it exceeded the number of bits
in some header field in my brain. I had been fighting such kinds of
"interoperability" fights for a while - e.g., see
https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc722 which came about during the email
wars, errr, discussions in the 70s.
Sounds like 2019 is when those land mines are becoming an issue...
On 11/9/19 10:15 AM, Dave Taht wrote:
> Brian E Carpenter via Internet-history
> <internet-history at elists.isoc.org> writes:
>> This deserves to be a new thread. It turns out to be a warm, if not hot, topic.
>> On 09-Nov-19 15:32, Jack Haverty wrote:
>>> In the annals of Internet History, did Jon Postel's mantra of "Rough
>>> Consensus and Running Code" fade away over time?
>> First, read this draft:
>> There's a discussion thread at:
> I have tended to revser the dictum - RUNNING code and rough
> consensus. It seems to be the only way to make progress.
>> As you will see, your question is apposite to that draft. I'm a bit
>> biased, because I was document editor for
>> https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1958 and of course Jon had a hand in
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