Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released the first version of its new Request For Comments (RFC) Annotations project. The purpose of this new project is to allow developers and security researchers to see commentary on the RFC documents from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that make up the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol. The DNS-related RFCs can be viewed with annotations, such as updates to the RFCs and commentary on parts of the protocols.
After an RFC is published, its text never changes. This hampers readers who read RFCs that have been updated or have had technical corrections made. The new project collects annotations from the IETF's database and from DNS experts, and then displays those annotations next to the RFCs so that the reader can see where the information applies in the RFCs.
The primary users of the annotated RFCs will be software developers who rely on the RFCs for understanding the protocol, people who are developing new protocols and extensions to protocols and security researchers who are looking in the protocol specifications for potential weaknesses. These people can benefit greatly by reading annotations from the technical community. The types of annotations expected include how a particular feature is implemented in popular software, how some protocols are analyzed in the technical literature, and even opinions on how a particular feature in a protocol might have been designed differently.
The RFC Annotations project is focused on DNS RFCs, but it can be used for other IETF technologies as well. ICANN will continue to improve the software in the project and to encourage more authors of annotations to broaden readers' understanding of the DNS.