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Re: (revised) HTTP working group status

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 17:42:29 PDT
To: koen@win.tue.nl
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <96Aug19.174229pdt."2757"@golden.parc.xerox.com>
> - there is a desire to make a shared recommendation on the use of the
> 1.1 version number

As far as I am concerned, this is out of scope of the HTTP working
group. It's our job to come to consensus on Internet standards
documents. We cannot control what various vendors marketing
departments might do, and our recommendation on the use of the version
number is already out there: draft-ietf-http-v11-spec-07.* Anyone can
read RFC 1602 on the Internet Standards Process and come to their own
conclusions about what they will or will not do with regard to
employing that specification or its designation.  As a working group,
all WE can do is to change the version number of our specification. We
may yet threaten to do so, with decreasing credibility.

> - when creating 1.1, we used the following rule a number of times:

>  Any proposed HTTP/1.1 features not in HTTP/1.0 for which there is no
>  consensus will revert to HTTP/1.0 status in 1.1 and be considered for
>  inclusion in HTTP/1.2.

We have done so. Starting a month before the last IETF, we've called
for people to consider those issues remaining and decide which ones we
should actually include as future work. The result of that call was a
limited number of issues; those are the issues we're considering
now. I've not heard anyone mention any other issues, and I have no
desire to raise anything that isn't of concern at this point.

> This rule also implies a promise that deferred proposals would not
> disappear into the bit bucket.
> I therefore propose an action item to gather such `not 1.1' things
> from the 1.1 issues list and record them in a document, to be passed
> on to any future 1.2 WG.  (By the way, have we decided already that
> this WG would not do 1.2?)

I think you misunderstood. There's been ample opportunity to do this
already.  This working group will deal with all remaining important
issues in HTTP 1.x and then close. We're currently scheduled to do so
by December. We may call the resulting protocol HTTP 1.2, if we need
to increment the version number. (It's not clear to me at this point
that it will be necessary to increment the version number.)

If you think there are a list of issues that were raised before, are
not dealt with in HTTP/1.1 and need to be before the working group
closes, please name them. In lieu of WG consensus to process those
items, though, we should stop.

Personal opinion:

I believe that HTTP 1.x is near the end of its evolutionary life as a
protocol.  Most of the things people want to do with the web either
can already be done with HTTP/1.1 or else are so completely beyond its
capabilities that some other protocol family is needed (RealAudio,
Internet Telephony, etc.)  I think dramatically better performance,
security and reliability also require substantial incompatible
protocol changes.

It's often the tendency of working groups to thrash a while after
they're actually done; I think we should resist. There's no need for
an endless stream of HTTP versions, and continually fiddling with the
protocol is counter-productive -- the world needs the standards to be
stable, so that we can build real applications without "continuous
improvement".

I think we've identified a few issues where it's worth our while to
pursue standardization, and we should continue investigation. However,
I'm personally skeptical about most of the things that are _currently_
on our action list, and am not looking for more to add.

Larry
Received on Monday, 19 August 1996 17:44:53 EDT

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