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Re: WG Review: Domain Keys Identified Mail (dkim)

Subject: Re: WG Review: Domain Keys Identified Mail dkim
From: Michael Thomas
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2005 08:55:55 -0800
Cullen Jennings wrote:
My current understanding is that the deployments
are small enough that changes are still easy and that non backwards
compatible changes are already expected.

Mail is, in fact, pretty different than most IETF protocols
insofar as it's a store and forward system where there can
be no expectation of end to end negotiation which is generally
helpful for smoothing out protocol botches and incompatible
changes. With mail every time you make an incompatible change,
you have to hope that the receiver at the far end is in synch
with that incompatible change or you're pretty well hosed. With
each one the utility of the protocol is divided and conquered.

I'm not sure who Keith was talking about with his broad brush
assertion -- there are probably about 30+ people who've had
a hand in the creation of the current drafts before we ever
brought it to IETF, but my concern is that given complete
lattitude the resulting thrashing around will produce an
extremely narrow intersection between compatible senders
and receivers. Which will constitute failure in all likelihood.

On the other hand, I think its really a stretch to say that
we are unwilling to listen, or that we're looking for a rubber
stamp. We have already agreed to -- and incorporated -- a
substantial backward incompatible change (the canonicalization)
due to feedback (and threats) we got. What I'm hoping for
is that there is a sufficiently high barrier that cosmetic
changes not be good enough reason to make a backward incompatible
revs. Equally disasterous would be to throw this entire area
open for a greenfield design; considerable time and effort
has been expended, and frankly Keith's observations don't
strike me as new or novel -- we've been at this for many
years at this point, and his points have been hashed and
rehashed many times over the years by the people who have
been paying attention to this more than just the week
before and after a BOF.

                Mike

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