[OpenAFS] Consensus Call - AFS3-Standardization Charter
Wed, 07 Jul 2010 19:08:12 -0400
This has gotten fairly lengthy, but please read through to the end. This
message contains important information on the future of AFS protocol
standardization work, and a specific request for input from the AFS
community (that is, YOUR input) within the next 2 weeks.
PLEASE send followups to firstname.lastname@example.org
Back in January of 2006, the email@example.com mailing list
was created in order to provide a forum for discussion of the AFS protocols
and particularly to coordinate extensions and changes to those protocols
among the various implementations. The first discussions in that vein
started the following month, with Jeffrey Altman's proposal to define new
GetCapabilities RPC's for each of the various RPC services. Since then,
there have been discussions on a wide variety of proposed extensions, some
small and some much larger in scope. Overall, I consider the mailing list
to have been and continue to be a success.
Two years ago, at the AFS & Kerberos Best Practices Workshop at NJIT in
Newark, NJ, there was some discussion about the prospect of establishing a
more formal charter and process for the standardization group, and
especially of insuring its independence from any one implementation. After
the workshop, Simon Wilkinson took a stab at writing such a charter, and
sent his proposal to the afs3-standardization mailing list (see Simon's
message to that list, dated 15-Jul-2008). This prompted quite a lot of
discussion and two additional drafts over following couple of months. After
the third draft, there was exactly one additional comment, and there has
been no further discussion since.
It is my personal belief that there was general agreement within the
community to move forward with Simon's draft as an initial charter for the
standardization group. However, there has been little progress in the last
21 months. Much of this is my fault -- I kept saying I was going to do
something and then not getting around to it. However, while the document
hasn't been discussed much in the interim, my conversations during that
time with various individuals, in person and online, lead me to believe
that there is _still_ general agreement to proceed with Simon's draft.
So, here's what I'm going to do about it...
Simon's document calls for a bootstrapping process in which a registrar
group is form of the then-current registrar (myself) plus one
representative from each current implementation (IBM, OpenAFS, kAFS, Arla)
that cares to provide one. The registrars would then serve as vote-takers
in an initial election of two chairs as described in section 2.2.2 of the
The initial bootstrapping of the registrars has already mostly taken place.
Thomas Kula has agreed to serve as a registrar representing OpenAFS, and
has held that position officially since the 2009 workshop. Around that
time, I asked IBM, kAFS, and Arla to nominate registrars, but I have yet to
receive a response that resulted in an actual volunteer. If any of those
organizations wants to nominate someone, please contact me. Otherwise,
Thomas and I have already agreed that we will nonetheless increase the size
of the registrar group to at least three and seek out a volunteer to fill
the vacant position. It is my hope that we can accomplish that by the end
of the month.
The next step would seem to be the bootstrapping of the chairs. However,
we have a recursive-dependency problem here -- before we can use the
election process defined in Simon's document with any confidence, we must
be sure we have consensus among the community to use that document.
However, lacking a chair, there is no formal means of determining consensus.
Chicken, meet Egg.
Simon's document itself proposes part of the solution to this problem, in
the form of the last paragraph of section 3, which calls on the
newly-formed group to develop, adopt, and publish its own charter. To
complete the solution, the registrars note that the first step (indeed, the
first several steps) in electing new chairs rest on our hands. Thus, we
are taking the following actions:
(1) I have asked Simon to submit the latest version of his proposed charter
in the form of an Internet-Draft. That draft is now available at
(2) On behalf of the registrars, I am issuing this consensus call. This
is an attempt to elicit comments and to discover whether there is
rough consensus in the AFS community to begin formalizing the protocol
standards process as described in the draft named above. I am asking
everyone to review the proposed charter and send any comments to the
mailing list, firstname.lastname@example.org, within the next 2
(3) On or shortly after Wednesday, July 21, 2010, the registrars will
examine the comments received and make a determination as to whether
we believe such a consensus exists. Depending on the state affairs,
we may choose to wait a while longer for discussion to die down before
making a determination. In other words, this is not a hard deadline;
it is only the earliest date on which we will make any decision.
If at this point the registrars believe that there is not a rough consensus
to adopt Simon's draft charter and that no such consensus is forthcoming,
we will simply stop. Things will continue as they are today, with no
formal process, unless or until someone tries again.
However, if the registrars believe that a rough consensus _does_ exist, we
will more or less immediately begin the election process as described in
section 2.2.2, with the full set of registrars (at least Thomas and myself,
and preferably at least one other) serving as vote-takers. Our goal will
be to follow the timeline set out in that document. However, this is
incumbent on the community reaching a consensus in time to start the
election process no later than early August. If a consensus emerges, but
more slowly, then we will adjust the timeline accordingly.
Here's the important bit again:
Please take the time to review draft-wilkinson-afs3-standardization-00.txt.
Send your questions and comments to <email@example.com>.
Please comment even if it's just to say "I support this" or "I oppose this".
Please send your comments in by Wednesday, July 21, 2010.
-- Jeffrey T. Hutzelman (N3NHS) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
for the AFS Assigned Numbers Registrars