Designing Time Machine together

Requests for Comments


Reaching consensus on the technology options to pursue in a programme as large as Time Machine is a complex issue. To ensure the open development and evaluation of work, a process inspired by the Request for Comments (RFC) that was used for the development of the Internet protocol IETF RFC 791 is being adapted to the needs of Time Machine. Time Machine Requests for Comments are freely accessible publications, identified with a unique ID, that constitute the main process for establishing rules, recommendations and core architectural choices for Time Machine components.


  1. Accessibility
    RFCs are freely accessible, at no cost.
  2. Openness:
    Anybody can write an RFC.
  3. Identification
    Each RFC, once published, has a unique ID and version number. It can nevertheless be revised over time as a living document, being republished with the same ID and a different version number.
  4. Incrementalism
    Each RFC should be useful in its own right and act as a building block for others. Each RFC must be intended as a contribution, extension or revision of the Time Machine Infrastructure.
  5. Standardisation
    RFCs should aim to make use of standardised terms to improve the clarity level of its recommendation.
  6. Scope
    RFCs are designed contributions and implementation solutions for solving practical problems. RFCs are not research papers and may not necessarily contain experimental evidence. RFCs cover not only the technical infrastructure but the data standards, legal frameworks, and values and principles of Time Machine.
  7. Self-defining process
    As used for the development of the Internet, RFCs are the main process for establishing Time Machine Infrastructure and Processes and also the processes and roles for managing RFCs themselves.

RFC Editor

To ensure proper progress with our Time Machine RFCs, our RFC Editor Juha Henriksson manages all relevant RFC-related activities:

  • Recruiting writers for RFCs
  • Guiding the writing process of RFCs
  • Helping build and manage the RFC Editorial Committee
  • Assisting in organising and running RFC-related workshops

In case you wish to get in touch with our RFC Editor, please click the button link below or write an email to juha.henriksson[at]

Publication process

The RFC Editor organises the publication process of the RFCs, maintains the consistency of the RFC System, appoints RFC teams to organise new RFCs and to improve existing RFCs, keeps track of RFC versioning and ensures the timely and regular publication of RFCs. The RFC Editorial Committee assists the RFC Editor in the publication process. The duties of the RFC Editor, as well as the organisation of the RFC Editorial Committee, are defined in RFC-0004.

The publication process is the following:

  1. The RFC Editor appoints authors to write the RFCs planned in the RFC tree (RFC-0002). Alternatively, authors may contact the RFC Editor to submit their candidature to write an RFC (planned in the RFC tree or not).
  2. The authors produce an RFC draft which is reviewed, first by the RFC Editorial Committee for coherence with the rest of the RFC corpus and then by a larger community. The RFC is revised and possibly sent for review again.
  3. Once accepted by the RFC Editorial Committee, an RFC receives an official identifier and is officially published as an peer-reviewed publication with proper scholarly credits assigned to the original author(s).
  4. The RFC tree is adapted to include the published RFC and any possible sub-RFCs planned during the writing of the RFC.

To ease navigation in the RFC tree, to get a better feeling how different RFCs are related to each other and to identify areas where you would like to contribute, the RFC tree is visualized in the interactive browser.

The Frequently Asked Questions page lists the most common questions related to the RFC process. If you want to know more, just send us a message via our contact page or contact our RFC Editor.

RFC Repository

The RFC draft and publication documents are hosted on the RFC Repository on GitHub. Have a look and join us there with comments and text contributions.