The Tao of IETF - A Guide for New Attendees of the Internet Engineering Task Force
RFC 1539

Document Type RFC - Informational (October 1993; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 1718
Obsoletes RFC 1391
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                          G. Malkin
Request for Comments: 1539                                Xylogics, Inc.
Obsoletes: 1391                                             October 1993
FYI: 17
Category: Informational

                            The Tao of IETF
    A Guide for New Attendees of the Internet Engineering Task Force

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is
   unlimited.

Abstract

   Over the last two years, the attendance at Internet Engineering Task
   Force (IETF) Plenary meetings has grown phenomenally.  Approximately
   38% of the attendees are new to the IETF at each meeting.  About 33%
   of those go on to become regular attendees.  When the meetings were
   smaller, it wasn't very difficult for a newcomer to get to know
   people and get into the swing of things.  Today, however, a newcomer
   meets many more new people, some previously known only as the authors
   of Request For Comments (RFC) documents or thought provoking email
   messages.

   The purpose of this For Your Information (FYI) RFC is to explain to
   the newcomers how the IETF works.  This will give them a warm, fuzzy
   feeling and enable them to make the meeting more productive for
   everyone.  This FYI will also provide the mundane bits of information
   which everyone who attends an IETF meeting should know.

Acknowledgments

   The IETF Secretariat is made up of the following people: Steve Coya
   (Executive Director of the IETF), Cynthia Clark, Lois Keiper, Debra
   Legare, John Stewart, and Megan Davies Walnut.  These are the people
   behind the Registration Table, and the success, of the IETF meetings.
   I thank them for their hard work, and for their input and review of
   this document.  Thanks also to Vinton Cerf, Christian Huitema, and
   Jon Postel for their review and comments.  And, as always, special
   thanks to April Marine and Joyce Reynolds.

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RFC 1539                    The Tao of IETF                 October 1993

Table of Contents

   Section 1 - The "Fun" Stuff
      What is the IETF? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
      Humble Beginnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      The Hierarchy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
      IETF Mailing Lists  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      Registration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
      Newcomers' Orientation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      Dress Code  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      Seeing Spots Before Your Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      Terminal Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
      Social Event  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
      Agenda  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
      Other General Things  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9

   Section 2 - The "You've got to know it" Stuff
      Registration Bullets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
      Mailing Lists and Archives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
      Important Email Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
      IETF Proceedings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
      InterNIC Archives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
      Be Prepared . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
      RFCs and Internet-Drafts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
      Frequently Asked Questions (and Their Answers)  . . . . . . . 16
      Pointers to Useful Documents and Files  . . . . . . . . . . . 17

   Section 3 - The "Reference" Stuff
      Tao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
      IETF Area Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
      Acronyms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
      References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
      Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
      Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

What is the IETF?

   The Internet Engineering Task Force is a loosely self-organized group
   of people who make technical and other contributions to the
   engineering and evolution of the Internet and its technologies.  It
   is the principal body engaged in the development of new Internet
   Standard specifications.  Its mission includes:

   o  Identifying, and proposing solutions to, pressing operational and
      technical problems in the Internet;

Internet Engineering Task Force                                 [Page 2]
RFC 1539                    The Tao of IETF                 October 1993

   o  Specifying the development or usage of protocols and the near-term
      architecture to solve such technical problems for the Internet;
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