IETF debates future

The Internet Engineering Task Force debated the group's status and future direction last week at a meeting in Atlanta. At issue are concerns that the Internet's premier standards-setting body is taking too long to develop useful protocols and is not responsive enough to real-world needs.

The IETF took five years to develop a set of protocols to support interoperability of instant-messaging systems. IETF members are complaining about the time it takes IETF leaders to approve working group documents and the lack of information about how IETF leaders make decisions to approve or reject these documents. The IETF also has lost some leaders because the workload is so heavy that these volunteer jobs essentially have become full-time positions. No decisions about changing the IETF's processes were made, but the group is discussing various proposals on its mailing list at www.ietf.org.

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