Network Working Group Internet Activities Board Request for Comments: 1311 J. Postel, Editor March 1992
This RFC describes a new sub-series of RFCs, called STDs (Standards). Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
The STDs are a subseries of notes within the RFC series that are the Internet standards. The intent is to identify clearly for the Internet community those RFCs which document Internet standards.
There is a need to be very clear about which specifications have completed the full process of standardization in the Internet. To do this an STD number will be assigned to a specification when it reaches the Standard maturity level. Note that specifications may be either Technical Specifications (TS) or Applicability Statements (AS).
When a specification reaches the final stage of the standardization process and the IAB has designated it a standard for the Internet, an STD number will be assigned to that specification.
The existing standards have been assigned STD numbers (see Appendix).
The standard for a particular protocol will always have the same STD number.
If at some future time a protocol is reworked and a new document is produced as the specification of that standard and the new specification is designated by the IAB as a standard for the Internet, then the new document will be labeled with the same STD number (of course, that new document will have a new RFC number).
Multiple Documents for One Standard:
A STD number identifies a standard not a document. A document is identified by its RFC number. If the specification of a standard is spread over several documents they will each carry the same STD number.
For example, the Domain Name System (DNS) is currently specified by the combination of RFCs 1034 and 1035. Both of these documents are now labeled STD-13.
To be completely clear the DNS "Concepts and Facilities" document can be referenced as "STD-13/RFC-1034".
In such cases, whenever possible, the set of documents defining a particular standard will cross reference each other.
One Standard or Multiple Standards:
One difficult decision is deciding whether a set of documents describe one standard or multiple standards. In the Appendix, one can see that there are several cases in which one STD applies to multiple RFCs (see STDs 5, 13, and 20). There is one case in which a family of specifications has multiple STD numbers; that is the Telnet Options.
The general rule is that a separate STD number is used when the specification is logically separable. That is, logically separable options are assigned distinct STD numbers while amendments and non-optional extensions use the same STD number as the base specification.
Multiple Versions or Editions of a Standard:
It may occur that the documentation of a standard is updated or replaced with a new document. In such cases, the same STD number will be used to label the standard. No version numbers will be attached to STD numbers. There need be no confusion about having the up-to-date document about STD-9 since each version of the document will have a distinct RFC number (and of course a different date).
The complete identification of a specification and its document is the combination of the STD and the RFC. For example, "STD-13/RFC- 1035" completely identifies the current version of the second part of the Domain Name System specification.
To completely identify all of the DNS standard the citation would be "STD-13/RFC-1034/RFC-1035".
One way to think of this is that an acronym (like TCP) refers to a concept, which is called a protocol. An RFC number (like RFC-793) indicates the specific version of the protocol specification. An STD number (like STD-7) designates the status of the protocol.
There are several reasons why the STDs are part of the larger RFC series of notes.
The foremost reason is that the distribution mechanisms for RFCs are tried and true. Anyone who can get an RFC, can automatically get a STD. More important, anyone who knows of the RFC series can easily find the STDs.
Another reason for making STDs part of the RFC series is that the maintenance mechanisms for RFCs are already in place. It makes sense to maintain similar documents is a similar way.
Since the STDs are a part of the RFC series, they must conform to "Request for Comments on Request for Comments: Instructions to RFC Authors" (RFC-1111) with respect to format.
Each STD RFC must include on its first page the "Status of this Memo" section which contains a paragraph describing the intention of the RFC. This section is meant to convey the status approved by the Internet Activities Board (IAB).
Each STD RFC will also include a "distribution statement". As the purpose of the STD series is to disseminate information, there is no reason for the distribution to be anything other than "unlimited".
Typically, the distribution statement will simply be the sentence "Distribution of this memo is unlimited." appended to the "Status of this Memo" section.
All STD RFCs must contain a section that discusses the security considerations of the procedures that are the main topic of the RFC.
Each STD RFC must have at the very end a section giving the author's address, including the name and postal address, the telephone number, and the Internet email address.
In the case of multiple authors, each of the authors will be listed. In the case of a document produced by a group, the editor of the document will be listed and optionally the chair of the group may be listed.
New documents can only become STD RFCs through an action of the IAB. The publication of STDs will be performed by the RFC Editor.
New STD RFCs are announced to the RFC distribution list maintained by the Network Information Center (NIC). Contact the NIC to be added or deleted from this mailing list by sending an email message to RFC- REQUEST@NIC.DDN.MIL.
STD RFCs may be obtained in the same way as any RFC.
Details on obtaining RFCs via FTP or EMAIL may be obtained by sending an EMAIL message to "rfc-info@ISI.EDU" with the message body "help: ways_to_get_rfcs". For example:
Subject: getting rfcs
The current standards are listed in the "IAB Official Protocol Standards" (which is STD-1), whose current edition is RFC-1280.
Security issues are not discussed in this memo.
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