Request For Comments - Status

Status

Not all RFCs are standards. Each RFC is assigned a designation with regard to status within the Internet standardization process. This status is one of the following: Informational, Experimental, Best Current Practice (BCP), Standards Track, or Historic (sic). Standards-track documents are further divided into Proposed Standard, Draft Standard, and Internet Standard documents. The term Historic is applied to deprecated standards-track documents or obsolete RFCs that were published before the standards track was established. Only the IETF, represented by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), can approve standards-track RFCs.

Each RFC is static; if the document is changed, it is submitted again and assigned a new RFC number. If an RFC becomes an Internet Standard (STD), it is assigned an STD number but retains its RFC number; however, when an Internet Standard is updated, its number stays the same and it simply refers to a different RFC or set of RFCs. A given Internet Standard, STD n, may be RFCs x and y at a given time, but later the same standard may be updated to be RFC z instead. For example, in 2007 RFC 3700 was an Internet Standard—STD 1—and in May 2008 it was replaced with RFC 5000, so RFC 3700 changed to Historic, RFC 5000 became an Internet Standard, and as of May 2008 STD 1 is RFC 5000. When STD 1 is updated again, it will simply refer to a newer RFC that will have completed the standards track, but it will still be STD 1. Best Current Practices work in a similar fashion; BCP n refers to a certain RFC or set of RFCs, but which RFC or RFCs may change over time.

The definitive list of Internet Standards is itself an Internet Standard, STD 1: Internet Official Protocol Standards.

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