[GTER] Internet-draft: A Mission Statement for the IETF

Ronaldo C Vasconcellos ronaldo at cais.rnp.br
Mon Jun 21 12:47:12 -03 2004

A Mission Statement for the IETF


    This memo gives a mission statement for the IETF, tries to define the
    terms used in the statement sufficiently to make the mission
    statement understandable and useful, argues why the IETF needs a
    mission statement, and tries to capture some of the debate that led
    to this point.

1. Mission statement

    The goal of the IETF is to make the Internet work better.

    The mission of the IETF is to produce high quality, relevant
    technical and engineering documents that influence the way people
    design, use and manage the Internet in such a way as to make the
    Internet work better.
    These documents include protocol standards, best current practices
    and informational documents of various kinds.

    The IETF will pursue this mission in adherence to the following
    cardinal principles:

    Open process - any interested participant can participate in the
       work, know what is being decided, and make his or her voice heard
       on the issue. Part of this principle is our commitment to making
       our documents, our WG mailing lists, our attendance lists and our
       meeting minutes publicly available on the Internet.

    Technical competence - the issues on which the IETF produces its
       documents are issues where the IETF has the competence needed to
       speak to them, and that the IETF is willing to listen to
       technically competent input from any source.
       Technical competence also means that we expect IETF output to be
       designed to sound network engineering principles - this is also
       often referred to as "engineering quality".

    Volunteer Core - our participants and our leadership are people who
       come to the IETF because they want to do work that furthers the
       IETF's mission of "making the Internet work better".

    Rough consensus and running code - We make standards based on the
       combined engineering judgement of our participants and our
       real-world experience in implementing and deploying our

    Protocol ownership - when the IETF takes ownership of a protocol or
       function, it accepts the responsibility for all aspects of the
       protocol, even though some aspects may rarely or never be seen on
       the Internet. Conversely, when the IETF is not responsible for a
       protocol or function, it does not attempt to exert control over
       it, even though it may at times touch or affect the Internet.

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