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MARID to close

After an assessment of the current state of the MARID working group, its charter, and its milestones, the working group chairs and Area Advisor have concluded that the MARID working group should be terminated.

The group was originally chartered with a very tight time frame, with the expectation that a focused group of engineers would be able to produce in relatively short order a standard in the area of DNS-stored policies related to and accessible by MTAs. The group has had no lack of energy. From the outset, however, the working group participants have had fundamental disagreements on the nature of the record to be provided and the mechanism by which it would be checked. Technical discussion of the merits of these mechanisms has not swayed their proponents, and what data is available on existing deployments has not made one choice obviously superior. Each represents trade-offs, and the working group has not succeeded in establishing which trade-offs are the most appropriate for this purpose. These assessments have been difficult in part because they have been moved out of the realm of pure engineering by the need to evaluate IPR and licensing related to at least one proposal in the light of a variety of licenses associated with the deployed base of MTAs.

Efforts to reach consensus by compromise and by inclusion have been attempted on multiple occasions. Despite early hopes of success after each such attempt, post-facto recycling of technical issues which these efforts should have closed has shown that the group remains divided on very basic issues. The working group chairs and Area Advisor are agreed that the working group has no immediate prospect of achieving its primary milestone:

Aug 04 Submit working group document on MTA Authorization Record in DNS to PS

Rather than spin in place, the working group chairs and Area Advisor believe that the
best way forward is experimentation with multiple proposals and a subsequent review of deployment experience. The working group chairs and Area Advisor intend to ask that the editors of existing working group drafts put forward their documents as non-working group submissions for Experimental RFC status. Given the importance of the world-wide email and DNS systems, it is critical that IETF-sponsored experimental proposals likely to see broad deployment contain no mechanisms that would have deleterious effects on the overall system. The Area Directors intend, therefore, to request that the experimental proposals be reviewed by a focused technology directorate. This review group has not yet been formed but, as with all directorates, its membership will be publicly listed at http://www.ietf.org/u/ietfchair/directorates.html once it has been constituted.

Concluding a group without it having achieved its goals is never a pleasant prospect, and it is always tempting to believe that just a small amount of additional time and energy will cause consensus to emerge. After careful consideration, however, the working group chairs and area advisor have concluded that such energy would be better spent on gathering deployment experience.

					Ted Hardie
					co-Area Director, Applications