IETF RFCs and Pagination. Still necessary ?

I don’t read every IETF RFC but I try look over a lot of them in my RSS reader as they are published. The IETF RFCs are all paginated like this, which is annoying.

Borman Informational [Page 4]
RFC 6691 TCP Options and MSS July 2012

While this might have a been a good idea twenty years ago, I feel confident that most people do not print RFCs.

And when they do, I’ll bet a lot of people are using ISO Standard A4 which makes printing even less likely. The RFCs are formatted for “US Letter” using plain text so you can’t print them even if you wanted to.

I imagine its simply that no has taken the time to fix it but it’s also one of the little things that annoys the international community that the American perspectives dominate Internet standards. Being more inclusive and respectful of others would help to solve some of this problem.

via RFC 6691 – TCP Options and Maximum Segment Size (MSS).

About Greg Ferro

Greg Ferro is a Network Engineer/Architect, mostly focussed on Data Centre, Security Infrastructure, and recently Virtualization. He has over 20 years in IT, in wide range of employers working as a freelance consultant including Finance, Service Providers and Online Companies. He is CCIE#6920 and has a few ideas about the world, but not enough to really count.

He is a host on the Packet Pushers Podcast, blogger at and on Twitter @etherealmind and Google Plus

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  • Alexandra Stanovska

    Somebody needs to publish RFC that will set standard for use of different pagination, or none at all. Oh wait … ;-)

  • Luke Shumaker

    The IETF is US-based, where if someone is printing it, the paper will probably be letter-format.

    However, I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that the RFCs are formatted for letter paper, or why the difference would make it harder to print on A4. A4 and letter are very close in size, and the monospace font used by the printer is going to affect whether the text fits more than the paper will. If you are concerned about A4 being longer, so each page gets a little more off; don’t. The RFC’s contain the Form Feed character between lines, which (should) force the printer to go to the next page.

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