Hi All,

I am finding that the people contributing to the mailing list are making progress in defining a useful protocol. I also see that they are discussing implementation details. Both of these tell me that we're on the right track.

What we found in Vancouver is that we were on the wrong track. The protocol being discussed was going to break existing receivers and information was going to be dropped on the floor. By keeping <PRI>, the existing receivers will not drop things on the floor and we can expect a much better acceptance rate from the community.

We've seen that RFC 3195 is being implemented. I do not want to de-focus this group by encouraging discussion of that at this time. After we get syslog-protocol and syslog-transport-udp submitted to the IESG, I will ask how we want to proceed with a revision of that Proposed Standard. One person has suggested to me that it can be revised through an individual submissionn.

Rainer's list (below) will serve as our list of issues. I'd like for these to be closed out within 2 weeks. I'm going to look for rough consensus on these issues and I will greatly appreciate everyone accepting the decisions we make at the end of that time. After that, I'll ask for Rainer to submit a new ID. If needed, I'll also ask for Anton to submit a new ID. I'll allow a week of review on those. If we still see implementors willing to implement this then we will progress these to the IESG.

Addtional comments below.

On Fri, 25 Nov 2005, Rainer Gerhards wrote:

Tom, WG:

Comments inline...


[tp] Strange, I was thiinking quite the opposite, that we had
a fragile
consensus which disappeared in
Vancouver and has not been refound.  Looking back at the
messages posted in the
past few days, about what should be in the header in what
order, I was thinking,
 what now? because I see no consensus, rather the re-emergence of many
different points of view.

So while the proposed charter looks ok, because it does not
go into that detail,
I do not see how we progress any further, into the next level
of technical
detail, of what and
how should be in the header.

I agree that we have not found consensus again. However, I think we are
in a better shape on the details than it it might look. My personal view
is that many items are shortly before reaching actual consensus. Let me
sum up the items I see. We might use that as a potential basis for
reaching consensus.

#1 testing and code review has shown that there is no point
  in trying to preserve more than <PRI>; RFC 3164 provides
  a false impression of common behaviour.

This is controversal, but the facts are suggesting this is the way it
We should try to reach consensus on this.

3164 was written based upon what Eric told me of how things originally worked. Obviously not much has stayed that way since. We can accept that things are received and placed in the right bins if a message has <PRI>. I'm OK with keeping that and defining the rest of the message as long as we keep the free-form text which has been the basis of syslog for all of these years.

#2 The max message length issue resurfaces. There seems to be a
  fragile consensus that we can life with the compromise in
  syslog-protocol and eventualy open a debate if we (ever) go to
  a TCP transport.

Again, controversal, too.

#3 There is a question if NUL octets are to be supported in
  the MSG content.

No consensus yet.

#4 There seems to be a fragile consensus that MSG should
  primarily contain textual data, including XMLified content.
  On the contrary, pure binary data should not be used.

This is somewhat controversal.

If we can agree that a natural language indicator (likely an SD-ID element) can be defined, then I believe that we are setting the stage so that future definitions may be made to allow for XML, binary, and perhaps even Martian. Those are outside of the current scope of the WG. Let's concentrate on transferring the textual information.

#5 Character encoding in MSG: due to my proof-of-concept
  implementation, I have raised the (ugly) question if we need
  to allow encodings other than UTF-8. Please note that this
  question arises from needs introduced by e.g. POSIX. So we
  can't easily argue them away by whishful thinking ;)

Not even discussed yet.

I haven't reviewed that yet. However, I'll note that allowing different encoding can be accomplished in the future as long as we establish a default encoding and a way to identify it in our current work.

#6 field order

This is related to #1 and can, I think, quickly be fixed once #1 is


#7 Header fields: there seems to be a fragile consensus that
  MSGID, PROCID, APP-NAME, and VERSION should be in the header
  and TRUNCATE should not be in it.

This needs to be finalized, but I think we are very close.


#8 MSG-octet counting and/or trailer is resurfacing. I think
  this item is not well understood and well discussed.

We need to discuss it.

#9 I have found some minor items not already discussed during
  my proof-of-concept implementation (like "drop requirements"
  and such). These are not absolutely vital, but should be
  considered before a final text is issued (or even the next

This needs to be discussed. As it is new, I have no idea what the
discussion may lead to.

Running code carries weight in our discussions.

#10 STRUCTURED-DATA: there has been surprisingly few discussion
   about STRUCTURED-DATA. I conclude that this is non-controversal.

This appears to have been accepted by the community.  This item is closed.


The good thing is that more people (especially implementors) are
expressing themselfs on the list. This is what finally makes me feel
positive about finally reaching our goal.

I think we can produce some useful documents if we manage to keep
discussing in the current paste. My whish would be that we focus more on
practical things in this discussion, especially when it comes to
compatibility with existing (deployed) technology. It does not help if
we theoretice things would be this and that when they are acutally
different - even though this "real world" is kind of dirty...

Also, we should try to "fry the small fish" and not solve any need that
might surface. I would also like to see this group moving in a direction
that focusses on results usable in practice. I personally prefer a
solution that is 80% theoretically "clean" but has a 95% chance of
implementation over a 95% "clean" solution with just a low chance of
getting implemented (hint: RFC 3195).

I am an IETF freshman. Anyhow, I often read that the IETF was driven by
"rough consensus and running code". I say "was", because my impression
is that this is no longer the case. I would prefer it were...

If this WG fails, what probably happens is that some implementors stick
together and implement something that is pretty similar to what we have
right now (or totally different - who knows). Just as syslog/tcp is
implemented in this "industry-standard" way. The IETF does not like
plain tcp syslog. Guess what? No implementor or end user cares... ;)
This often-violently-objected transport mode has brought more security
and reliability to the syslog community than anything this group has
done the past years. And yes, it is true, plain tcp syslog as it is
deployed is far from being a clean solution. It's only plus is it

So I think it would be a very helpful if we manage to produce a standard
that solves the currently horrible syslog format scenario. But we need
one that gets implemented...


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