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Sitting pretty in IPv4 land? Look, you're gonna have to talk to IPv6 at some stage


Treating the promotion of an RFC to "Standard" status as a starting point is a bit of a misunderstanding of the process. (See RFC 2026 for details.) (I sort of hope it was intended as an inside joke, but if not ...)

Standards-track RFCs start off life as Internet Drafts. As drafts are written and published, most vendors are in the process of producing interoperable implementations. Actual products are sold based on the drafts. Once rough consensus exists, it goes to Proposed Standard and is published for the first time as an RFC. If you don't already have an implementation in the field by this point, you're really a bit late to the game.

For many protocols, the story peters out there. Proposed Standard is awfully good. You don't have to have multiple interoperable implementations and active deployment underway to get there, but very often you do, and it's often used as an argument in favor of approval when the IESG is evaluating the request to publish. Most of the developers start drifting away to newer and better things at this point. If there are enough die-hards left to do the work of cataloging the implementation status, you might get promoted to Draft Standard.

After a very long time, a few protocols end up being promoted one last time as full Internet Standard status. But many of the things we rely on every day don't make it that far, because it's mostly an effort of paperwork by then, and not a protocol development exercise. It's a lot like getting a "lifetime achievement award."

So, yes, the July 2017 change is important for the protocol, but it really means nothing for the mature and robust implementations that have been in the field for 20+ years now.

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