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Not All RFCs are Standards (RFC1796) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004050D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Document File: 3 page(s) / 6K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

C. Huitema: AUTHOR [+2]


This document discusses the relationship of the Request for Comments (RFCs) notes to Internet Standards.

This text was extracted from a ASCII document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 42% of the total text.

Network Working Group C. Huitema

Request for Comments: 1796 INRIA

Category: Informational J. Postel


S. Crocker


April 1995

Not All RFCs are Standards

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo

does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of

this memo is unlimited.


This document discusses the relationship of the Request for Comments

(RFCs) notes to Internet Standards.

Not All RFCs Are Standards

The "Request for Comments" (RFC) document series is the official

publication channel for Internet standards documents and other

publications of the IESG, IAB, and Internet community. From time to

time, and about every six months in the last few years, someone

questions the rationality of publishing both Internet standards and

informational documents as RFCs. The argument is generally that this

introduces some confusion between "real standards" and "mere


It is a regrettably well spread misconception that publication as an

RFC provides some level of recognition. It does not, or at least not

any more than the publication in a regular journal. In fact, each

RFC has a status, relative to its relation with the Internet

standardization process: Informational, Experimental, or Standards

Track (Proposed Standard, Draft Standard, Internet Standard), or

Historic. This status is reproduced on the first page of the RFC

itself, and is also documented in the periodic "Internet Official

Protocols Standards" RFC (STD 1). But this status is sometimes

omitted from quotes and references, which may feed the confusion.

There are two important sources of information on the status of the

Internet standards: they are summarized periodically in an RFC

entitled "Internet Official Protocol Standards" and they are

documented in the "STD" subseries. When a specification has been

adopted as an Internet Standard, it is given the additional label

"STD xxxx", but it keeps its RFC number and its place in the RFC


It is important to note that the relationship of STD numbers to RFC

numbers is not one to one. STD numbers identify protocols, RFC

numbers identify documents. Sometimes more than one ...