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Of Birds and RATS

  • Alissa Cooper
  • IETF Chair
  • 3 Oct 2018

Two Birds of a Feather sessions have been approved for the next IETF meeting, one of which focuses on Remote ATtestation ProcedureS (RATS).

Siamese Fireback

Before each IETF meeting, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) collects proposals for Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions. These sessions are designed to help determine the path for new work in the IETF or to generate discussion about a topic within the IETF community. For IETF 103, we approved two out of the four BOF proposals received. We are encouraging further development of the proponents’ ideas and discussion in side meetings about the other two.

The two other proposals received were “Handling IPsec configurations in large scale SD-WAN deployment with constrained resources” (SDWAN-SEC) and “Removing offensive terminology in RFCs” (ROT-RFC), both of which propose interesting ideas that appear better suited for a side meeting or informal conversation than for formal BOFs. The SDWAN-SEC proposal was focused on a few different approaches to handling IPsec configuration in large-scale SDN environments. ROT-RFC proposed a discussion about reducing the use of potentially offensive terminology, such as “master/slave,” in RFCs. Hopefully IETF 103 will provide a useful venue for proponents in both areas to further develop their ideas with the community.

The Remote ATtestation Procedures (RATS) BOF was approved in the Security area. Here “attestation” means the process of establishing the properties of the hardware with which a remote endpoint is communicating, such as the processor or device type. Attestation allows the remote endpoint to trust assertions made by the device in question about security-related functionality or behavior. A number of ad hoc solutions exist in this space, but alignment is lacking around terminology, what can be considered as attestation evidence, interfaces for establishing trust, and data models. The goal of this BOF is to charter a working group that can standardize the components needed for interoperable remote attestation. Discussion is underway on the mailing list.

The WGs Using GitHub (WUGH) BOF was approved in the General area. This non-working-group forming BOF was first held at IETF 98 to discuss IETF-wide documentation about how to use GitHub effectively in WG processes. At that time, it seemed premature to try to achieve consensus around common practices for using GitHub within IETF WGs. Since then, more WGs and document authors have started using GitHub to facilitate IETF work in different ways. This BOF will aim to foster community discussion about establishing administrative processes and usage conventions to allow WGs and authors to get started using GitHub for IETF work in a more uniform way. (See a starting point at draft-cooper-wugh-github-wg-configuration.) It will also discuss best practices for using GitHub in WGs (see, e.g., draft-thomson-github-bcp-00). Join the ietf-and-github mailing list to participate in the discussion.