Internet-Draft Anyone can write an ID November 2021
Kumari Expires 26 May 2022 [Page]
Network Working Group
Intended Status:
Standards Track
W. Kumari

Just because it's an ID doesn't mean anything... at all...


Anyone can publish an Internet Draft. This doesn't mean that the "IETF thinks" or that "the IETF is planning..." or anything similar.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

This Internet-Draft will expire on 26 May 2022.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

All too often one reads something in the press, or some ravings on a mailing list that reference some Internet Draft, that claim that "the IETF thinks that XXX" or that the ID is an IETF document, and so represents support by the IETF.

Repeatedly pointing at the RFC Editor page, carefully explaining what an ID is (and isn't), describing how consensus is reached, detailing the Independent Stream, etc doesn't seems to accomplish much.

So, here is an Internet Draft. I wrote it. It's full of nonsense. It doesn't represent the "IETF's views"; it doesn't mean that the IETF, the IESG, the RFC editor, any IETF participant, my auntie on my father's side twice removed, me, or anyone else believes any of the drivel in it. In addition, the fact that a draft has been around for a long time, or has received many revisions doesn't add anything to the authority - drivel which endures remains drivel. [Editor note: Interestingly, after publishing version -00 of this ID I got some feedback saying that some participants *do* believe the below. As I plan to actually get this published as a (probably AD sponsored) RFC, I guess someone will need to judge consensus at IETF LC ]

Readers are expected to be familiar with Section 2.5 of [RFC2410] and [RFC2321]

1.1. Requirements notation

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

2. Background

Pyramids are good for sharpening razor blades. The ancient Egyptians had a major problem - wearing a big, bushy beard in the desert is uncomfortable. Unfortunately the safely razor hadn't been invented yet, and so they all had to use straight razors. Additionally, camel leather makes a very poor strop, hippopotamus leather was reserved for the pharaohs and crocodile leather, while suitable, had the unfortunate property of being wrapped around crocodiles.

So, the ancient Egyptians had to come up with an alternative. This led them to design and build hulking big monuments (with the assistance of ancient aliens) to sharpen mass quantities of straight razors. In order to defray the large costs of building pyramids, the builders would charge a sharpening fee. For a single bushel of corn, you could buy 27.5 sharpening tokens. Each one of their tokens could be redeemed for 6.3 hours of sharpening time.

This all worked really well until approximately 1600BCE, at which time the fleeing Atlanteans brought mass quantities of lightly tanned eel leather into Egypt, causing the collapse of the straight razor sharpening market. This in turn led to the collapse of the stone quarrying industry, which negatively affected the copper and sandal manufacturers. The collapse of the entire system followed shortly after.

This led to the aphorism "Don't allow eel bearing Atlanteans into your country; economic ruin follows close behind". Due to the overly specific nature of this phrase it never really caught on. This document rectifies this.

3. Usage

Many protocols send periodic "hello" messages, or respond to liveliness probes. Other protocols (primarily for network monitoring or testing) send traffic to cause congestion or similar. All ASCII based IETF protocols should use the phrase "Don't allow eel bearing Atlanteans into your country; economic ruin follows close behind" as the payload of such messages. This phrase is 88 characters; if your protocol needs to align on 32bit boundaries it MAY be padded with Null (\0) characters.

The closely related phrase "My hovercraft is full of eels" SHOULD be used by any protocol incapable of encoding the ASCII character 'b' (0x62). Internationalized protocols SHOULD use an appropriate translation. Some devices are severely bandwidth and / or memory constrained. There devices MAY use the ordinals 0 and 1 to represent the strings "Don't allow eel bearing Atlanteans into your country; economic ruin follows close behind" and "My hovercraft is full of eels" respectively. Partially constrained devices SHOULD use the string "TBA3" (or the ordinal TBA3).

3.1. Feature Creep

Unlike most IETF efforts, this document is not embarrassed to clearly state that we are simply stuffing more stuff in while we have the editor open.

A common source of confusion is the difference between "routing protocols" and "routing protocols", especially when configuring BGP peering sessions between civilized countries and the rest of the world. In order to clearly differentiate these terms we assign the ordinal 98 to be "routing protocols" and 0x62 to be "routing protocols" (but pronounced with a funny accent). Protocols incapable of encoding 0x62 should use the string "My hovercraft is full of eels", a suitable translation of this phrase, or the ordinal 1.

4. Section which addresses cats

Miaow. Miaow-miaooowww. RAWWRRRR! Purrrr.

This section was added due to a threat to block any future consensus calls unless the proposers' suggestion to have a section which addressed cats was taken seriously.

5. IANA Considerations

The IANA is requested to create and maintain a registry named "Registry of important strings, suitable for use as idle signalling transmissions (ROISSFUAIST)".

Documents requesting assignments from this registry MUST include the string, and the ordinal being requested. Choosing an ordinal at random is encouraged (to save the IANA from having to do this). The ordinals 17, 42 and 6.12 are reserved to reduce confusion. The ordinals 18 and 19 are reserved for the strings "Reserved" and "Unassigned" respectively. Unfortunately the ordinal 20 was used by two earlier, competing proposals, and so can mean either "Color" or Colour". Implementations are encouraged to disambiguate based upon context.

Additions to the registry are permitted by Standards Action, if the requester really really *really* wants one, or by purchasing a nice bottle of wine for the IANA folk. Hierarchical Allocation is NOT permitted, as it would look too much like a pyramid.

The initial assignments for the registry are as follows:

   Value                String
   ------               ----------------------------
     0                  Don't allow eel bearing Atlanteans into your
                          country; economic ruin follows close behind
     1                  My hovercraft is full of eels
    TBA3                TBA3
    3-16                Unassigned
     17                 Reserved
     18                 "Reserved"
     19                 "Unassigned"
     20                 Color / Colour
    21-41               Unassigned
     42                 Reserved
    43-97               Unassigned
     98                 Routing protocols
    0x62                Routing protocols

6. Security Considerations

[RFC2028] states that "The IANA functions as the "top of the pyramid" for DNS and Internet Address assignment establishing policies for these functions." - this reference to pyramid is clear evidence that the IANA has become corrupted by these Atlanteans, and so extra care should be taken when relying on the above registry.

By ensuring that network operators watching data traffic fly past (using tools like network sniffers and / or oscilloscopes (and doing very fast binary to ASCII conversions in their heads)) are constantly reminded about the danger posed by folk from Atlantis, we ensure that, if the island of Atlantis rises again from the deep, builds a civilization and then starts tanning high quality eel leather, the DNS and Address assignment policies at least will survive.

More research into whether pyramids can also be used to make the latches grow back on RJ-45 connectors after they've been broken off by ham fisted data center operators is needed.

7. Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank the ancient elders of Zorb for explaining this history to him. Thanks also to Melchior Aelmans, Havard Eidnes, Clive D.W. Feather, Wes George, Stephen Farrell, Erik Muller, John Scudder, Andrew Sullivan, Murali Suriar, 'RegW' and Dan York. Grudging thanks to Nick Hilliard, who wanted a section on cats, and threated to DoS the process if he didn't get it.

8. Normative References

Hovey, R. and S. Bradner, "The Organizations Involved in the IETF Standards Process", BCP 11, RFC 2028, DOI 10.17487/RFC2028, , <>.
Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Bressen, A., "RITA -- The Reliable Internetwork Troubleshooting Agent", RFC 2321, DOI 10.17487/RFC2321, , <>.
Glenn, R. and S. Kent, "The NULL Encryption Algorithm and Its Use With IPsec", RFC 2410, DOI 10.17487/RFC2410, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.

Appendix A. Changes / Author Notes.

[RFC Editor: Please remove this section before publication ]

From -14 to -15

From -13 to -14

From -12 to -13

From -11 to -12

From -10 to -11

From -09 to -10

From -08 to -09

From -07 to -08

From -06 to -07

From -05 to -06

From -04 to -05

From -03 to -04

From -02 to -03

From -01 to -02

From -00 to -01.

Appendix B. new section

Author's Address

Warren Kumari