Annus Mirabilis

2015-12-16

Somehow I managed to publish 15 RFCs at the IETF this year, clustered around security, internationalization, and messaging:

  1. Summarizing Known Attacks on Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Datagram TLS (DTLS)
  2. Recommendations for Secure Use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS)
  3. PRECIS Framework: Preparation, Enforcement, and Comparison of Internationalized Strings in Application Protocols
  4. The 'acct' URI Scheme
  5. Interworking between the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP): Instant Messaging
  6. Interworking between the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP): One-to-One Text Chat Sessions
  7. Use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) in the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)
  8. Preparation, Enforcement, and Comparison of Internationalized Strings Representing Usernames and Passwords
  9. Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP): Address Format
  10. The Jabber Scribe Role at IETF Meetings
  11. Using DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE) TLSA Records with SRV Records
  12. Preparation, Enforcement, and Comparison of Internationalized Strings Representing Nicknames
  13. Interworking between the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP): Groupchat
  14. PKIX over Secure HTTP (POSH)
  15. Domain Name Associations (DNA) in the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)

For what it's worth, 96 percent of RFC authors have published less than 15 RFCs in their entire career at the IETF. It's a typical power law distribution: 55% have published one, 16% have published two, 8% have published three, and so on. I've published 39 so far, which puts me in the top 1%. (Yes, I'm a one-percenter now!) To be fair, some of the specs I've published are fixes to or updates of older standards, so they're not all that novel.

I hesitate to guess how many hours I've spent working on industry standards at the IETF - maybe 5,000 or more. And that gets to the heart of the matter: standardization is usually less a matter of inspiration and more a matter of perspiration - specifically, the dogged persistence necessary to address the objections that seem to arise every step of the way. So perhaps this "annus mirabilis" is not so impressive after all. ;-)


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