Candidates for Historic Status

Once the IETF has published an RFC, that RFC effectively sticks around forever.

Moving to Historic

Sometimes, the stuff in a document describes something that we really don't want to recommend that people use any more, either because there's a better way, or because it turned out to be a bad idea.

In the IETF formal rules, this is accomplished by reassigning the documents to Historic status, and should be done if it is:

Although it isn't mandatory, it may also be appropriate to move Experimental or Informational documents to Historic in some cases.

Candidates for Historic

The following RFCs that are more or less Applications area have been suggested as candidates for Historic. No formal Last Call on the question has been made, but the ADs would like to know if someone has a strong opinion on these.

  • RFC 934 (No standing): message encapsulation using dashes - obsoleted by MIME multipart.
  • RFC 1153 (Experimental): digest format using strings of dashes - obsoleted by MIME multipart/digest. Current thinking is to not move on this before new MIME docs giving more guidance on how to use multipart/digest are made official.
  • RFC 1505 (Experimental): Encoding: header - obsoleted by MIME (this would also move RFC 1154, its predecessor).
  • RFC 1049 (Standard): the original Content-type: - obsoleted by MIME; shouldn't be dropped before MIME is Full Standard.
  • RFC 952 (No standing): Host Table specification - replaced by DNS (this obsoletes 810 and 608 too).

Formal candidates for Historic

The 24-month limit from RFC 2026 section 6.2 means at the moment (May 2009) anything earlier than RFC 4884 (published in April 2007) is a formal candidate for being moved off the standards track.

But those include a LOT of important protocols, so this document lists just a few:

Very old Proposed standards that don't seem to be obsoleted by others (summary from RFC 1800) include:

  • RFC 1274 The COSINE and Internet X.500 Schema
  • RFC 1276 Replication and Distributed Operations extensions to provide an Internet Directory using X.500
  • RFC 1277 Encoding Network Addresses to Support Operation Over Non-OSI Lower Layers
  • RFC 1314 A File Format for the Exchange of Images in the Internet (effectively superceded by the FAX WG documents)
  • RFC 1328 X.400 1988 to 1984 downgrading (updated by RFC 1495)
  • RFC 1413 Identification Protocol (IDENT)
  • RFC 1415 FTP-FTAM Gateway Specification
  • RFC 1648 Postmaster Convention in X.400 Operations

Also, the following have Draft status in the same kind of timerange:

  • RFC 954 Whois protocol
  • RFC 1288 Finger protocol

A separate problem is the issue of the Telnet options, which from RFC 1920 section 6.6 includes the following RFCs that may need to be moved to Historic:

  • Proposed: 698, 727, 735, 736, 779, 885, 927, 933, 946, 1041, 1043, 1053, 1073, 1079, 1091, 1096, 1372, 1572
  • Draft: 1184

If you have an interest in some protocol on this list, and don't know of ongoing work in the area, you MAY choose to consider this a call to arms.....