[CESG] [EXTERNAL] RE: CESG Special topic: 2022-7 CESG MAL RID Disposition, was Re: MAL PIDs spreadsheet

Shames, Peter M (US 312B) peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov
Tue Jul 19 21:18:53 UTC 2022

Dear Mario,

I am continually surprised by what appears to be a disconnect between how CCSDS is defined to operate, as is documented in our Org & Proc document, CCSDS A02.1-Y-4, and the Publications document, CCSDS A20.1-Y-4, and some of the statements you make.   These rules are not optional requirements that can be dismissed with a wave of the hand.  Unlike some YB, such as a test report, these Yellow Books are mandatory on CCSDS, they guide how we are supposed to work and explain the different kinds of documents, their characteristics, and the processes we follow.

All of those “faults” that you listed (correctly) and then dismissed with a wave of the hand (incorrectly) are some of the key requirements that CCSDS documents are meant to adhere to.   The others have to do with structure, content, and presentation.  The CESG review of all documents is a key process defined in the Org & Proc YB, as are the criteria that are to be met by different document types.  It is an explicit CESG responsibility to perform these reviews and to verify functionality, quality, consistency, clarity, completeness, and architectural alignment across all the different areas and standards.  I take those responsibilities seriously as do many other CESG members.

Suggesting that any or all of this would be assessed in an Agency Review is to totally miss the point.  An Agency review is intended for the member and observer agencies to have an opportunity to see that their needs are met.  They have no responsibility to see that these other CCSDS criteria are met, that is not their job.  They may occasionally catch one of these issues, but that is incidental to their purpose.

However, our responsibility as CESG members is to step out of our agency roles and to step into CESG roles.  As a CESG member for many years you should understand this.  You may take my analysis and feedback as “over-reaction”.  I take your dismissal of the assigned CESG roles as a failure to really appreciate and value the tasks we have been given and what we are meant to do.

More <<in-line>>, below.

Regards, Peter

From: Mario Merri <Mario.Merri at esa.int>
Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 1:24 AM
To: Peter Shames <peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov>
Cc: Tom Gannett <thomas.gannett at tgannett.net>, "Reeves, Scott (MSFC-HP27)[HOSC SERVICES CONTRACT]" <scott.reeves at nasa.gov>, Mehran Sarkarati <Mehran.Sarkarati at esa.int>, CESG <cesg at mailman.ccsds.org>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] RE: CESG Special topic: 2022-7 CESG MAL RID Disposition, was Re: MAL PIDs spreadsheet

Thank you Peter. Let me also have the chance to write down my understanding and preliminary conclusions from yesterday meeting.

Indeed, we could not go through each individual point in depth and your claims could not be challenged conclusively, however, following your presentation, below is a summary of the main faults that you reported:

  1.  Blue vs Magenta / Abstract vs Concrete. <<Abstract vs concrete is not the same as Blue vs Magenta.  An abstract spec with a clearly defined and well documented binding that is directly converted into something executable can still be a Blue Book if it otherwise meets criteria for “directly implementable, etc, etc” as stated in the YB.  The CSS Area use of ASN.1, with it’s clearly defined bindings, is a case in point.>>
  2.  Security <<Required section>>
  3.  Undefined terms <<Required of BB>>
  4.  Missing references <<Required section>>
  5.  Vague Definitions <<Required of BB>>
  6.  PICS <<Required section>>

My take on the points above:

  1.  The MAL is the chartered approach approved by CESG/CMC and should not be rediscussed every time. This needs to be accepted by everyone in CCSDS and put forward to potential customers as for any other CCSDS standards.  <<”MAL as a chartered approach” is not the same as “Blue vs Magenta”.  These are two totally different topics.  If the CMC approved a BB project then the role of the WG is to produce a BB, not an MB masquerading as Blue.  You do have, with the separate bindings, the means to create what are now being marketed as a set of separate, but interoperable, deployments.  Those deployments that use a common technology binding meet the Blue Book criteria.>>
  2.  Extensive discussion and way forward agreements are already in place with the SEC WG, which includes the update of other documents (i.e. RM and GB). It would be inefficient and wrong to have every details repeated everywhere. Having said this, if clarification could be introduced in MAL this should be done.  <<That’s great.  And maybe you could even produce one or more security BB with interoperable bindings to different technologies.  However, “waving your hands” in this document and deferring security discussions entirely as “someone else’s problem” is just unacceptable.  I draw your attention to the several security subsections in the ASL Green Book, CCSDS 371.0-G-1, any one of which is far more thorough and informative than what you have provided in this Blue Book.>>
  3.  To be discussed with WG. Clearly clarity is important, however I regard this point as editorial. <<Misspelling a word, including an awkward sentence, or getting facts wrong is “editorial”.  Failing to meet documented requirements is a fault that requires re-work.>>
  4.  To be discussed with WG. I regard this point as editorial. <<Same statement as for #3.  This should not be hard to do.  Just get it done.>>
  5.  To be discussed with WG as probably there are misunderstandings. Certainly, this matter has not changed from the published version of MAL.  <<This MAL version was heavily revised.  There is hardly a page without a “change bar”.  Some of these edits changed, removed, or added new (undefined) terms.  Therefore the document is to be reviewed.  In this review issues (either new or old) were identified.  Please fix them. >>
  6.  Usefulness of PICS in the context of a framework such as MAL is debatable: in fact all features are “mandatory” here, while some may be made “optional” when implementing a specific service (e.g. in M&C service).  <<As was demonstrated during this discussion, other similar “framework” specs have provided a comprehensive and useful PICS pro forma.  For whatever reason your WG chose to do the very least that it possibly could.  Based on this PICS Pro Forma I could say that the ONLY parts of the MAL that are mandatory are those six interaction patterns.  Not the concepts, abstract services, object models, message formats, behaviors, XML, transformations, etc, etc.  You yourself just said “these don’t matter”.  Is that really what you mean?  And yes, I do agree that when this abstract message framework is (finally) used to create an actual data service that some of the defined interaction patterns, messages, behaviors, objects, etc may not be required.>>

My overall comment is that there was an overreaction for this book and the above issues could have been easily fixed during the Agency Review as done for most of the other CCSDS books.

Best regards,


<<See comments above about “overreaction”.  And note:

  *   “Agency Review” does not equal CESG review.
  *   Failure to meet requirements is not something that can be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
  *   We all have to follow the same rules.>>

From: CESG <cesg-bounces at mailman.ccsds.org> On Behalf Of Shames, Peter M (US 312B) via CESG
Sent: 18 July 2022 23:44
To: cesg at mailman.ccsds.org
Cc: Tom Gannett <thomas.gannett at tgannett.net>; Reeves, Scott (MSFC-HP27)[HOSC SERVICES CONTRACT] <scott.reeves at nasa.gov>; Mehran Sarkarati <Mehran.Sarkarati at esa.int>
Subject: [CESG] CESG Special topic: 2022-7 CESG MAL RID Disposition, was Re: MAL PIDs spreadsheet

Dear All,

In order to provide a complete record of this topic in one place I just updated the CESG folder for the “2022-7 CESG MAL RID Disposition<https://urldefense.us/v3/__https:/eur05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https*3A*2F*2Fcwe.ccsds.org*2Fcesg*2Fdocs*2FForms*2FAllItems.aspx*3FRootFolder*3D*252Fcesg*252Fdocs*252FCWE*2520Private*252FMeetings*252F2022-7*2520CESG*2520MAL*2520RID*2520Disposition*26FolderCTID*3D0x0120008F128D83E4774A40906DD60662AC3B27*26View*3D*257B448728FC-9186-4BCF-80F0-192B39C01942*257D&data=05*7C01*7CMario.Merri*40esa.int*7Cf0f25279775f45f774f808da6906b160*7C9a5cacd02bef4dd7ac5c7ebe1f54f495*7C0*7C0*7C637937774720068057*7CUnknown*7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0*3D*7C3000*7C*7C*7C&sdata=l00N24A*2F7vAtwP1fZvWbaviXFsThLa8Nc00Cix0pGDs*3D&reserved=0__;JSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUl!!PvBDto6Hs4WbVuu7!dQFC_qAA2azwyAFoB3mL6C4gMrAoIURWCIo8nTX2pbesfn4nXEZShsC0-ZkclrbsWYAffDVH$>”:


It now contains all of the materials I have provided including the PPT and XLS that were presented today, and also, for the record, a copy of the original CESG vote, the marked up document I returned to the SM&C WG, and a copy of the email trail leading to today’s Special Topic telecon.

We could, if it were useful, also add copies of the other CCSDS Blue Books to which I compared the MAL BB in that Analysis document.  These are:

  1.  CSS CSTS Framework PDU (CCSDS 921.1-B-2)
  2.  SIS AMS message standard (CCSDS 735.1-B-1)
  3.  SLS Prox-1 link layer standard (CCSDS 211.0-B-6)

These should be useful for the SM&C WG to see what a cross area sampling of other normative CCSDS Blue Books look like.  Do let me know if there is anything else I need to provide.

Very best regards, Peter

From: Peter Shames <peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov<mailto:peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov>>
Date: Monday, July 18, 2022 at 1:46 PM
To: Erik Barkley <erik.j.barkley at jpl.nasa.gov<mailto:erik.j.barkley at jpl.nasa.gov>>
Cc: CESG <cesg at mailman.ccsds.org<mailto:cesg at mailman.ccsds.org>>
Subject: Re: MAL PIDs spreadsheet

Dear Erik, at al,

Thanks for the reminder to provide the SM&C WG PID response spreadsheet, along with my rejoinders, as reviewed.  I think you will find that the PPT file, “SEA MO MAL document analysis 11Jul22” accurately summarizes the intent of my original PIDs.   There are some “further clarifications”, I added in lines 25-29 of this spreadsheet after reviewing the PIDs and responses.  These are highly relevant, but did not appear in the original for reasons that I think will be clear.

Related to that, there was one additional discussion topic that briefly shows up on pg 15 of the PPT, that of the PICS pro forma, but it only gets a bullet and not a separate page.  I remind you that during the meeting we did compare the one page “PICS” in the MAL BB with parts of the comparable section in the CSS CSTS Framework, 921x1b2.  I think the differences in the level of care and detail is informative.

I will acknowledge, as Mehran pointed out, that many of my comments in the original text were formed as questions.  These questions were intended to get the SM&C WG to think carefully about the issues that were being raised because they were, almost uniformly, issues and concerns that could not be repaired with any simple “From: => To:” formulation.  In my judgement that form of input is only really suitable for simple editorial repairs to a sentence or a paragraph.

These issues are much broader and more pervasive than that, and I hope that has now been made crystal clear.

Lastly, I wish to state with clarity what I think we all agreed to:

  1.  That all of the members of the CESG who did not vote in the formal poll, or who voted “Approve Unconditionally”, but then added comments to the effect that they agreed with my inputs, agreed to do the following:
     *   Review the submitted PIDs, the WG dispositions, and my rejoinders in the attached Excel file.
     *   Review the summary analysis PPT file, “SEA MO MAL document analysis 11Jul22”, as presented.
     *   Assess whether the statements made in this analysis are accurate when compared to the cited sections and text in the MAL BB.
     *   Provide written feedback on their assessment of this analysis and the PIDs, preferably with some of their own supporting analysis and detail.
  2.  That the MOIMS SM&C WG review all of these inputs, both from me and from these other Area Directors, and provide, after suitable discussion, their responses, including:
     *   Re-assessment of their PID responses in light of these discussions.
     *   Assessment of the written inputs from the other Area Directors.
     *   Propose their approach for remedying these issues, either by editing the document so that it remedies the issues and aligns with CCSDS Blue Book publication standards, and CCSDS BB document norms, or by agreeing to reformat it as a normative, Magenta Book, “foundational” abstract reference model.
  3.  That I, and preferably the other CESG Area Directors, meet with the SM&C WG to review this feedback and resolve any remaining issues.

IIn fact, I think that this is a significant enough concern that it would be ideal if all CESG members, including those who voted “Approve Unconditionally”, would participate in this process as well.   Only in this way can we assess if there really is consensus on the path forward.

I am willing to commit to this.

For the sake of all concerned, including the WG, the Area, the CESG, our member agencies, and all of our users I think it would be best to get these issues resolved.

Best regards, Peter

From: Erik Barkley <erik.j.barkley at jpl.nasa.gov<mailto:erik.j.barkley at jpl.nasa.gov>>
Date: Monday, July 18, 2022 at 12:24 PM
To: Peter Shames <peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov<mailto:peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov>>
Cc: CESG <cesg at mailman.ccsds.org<mailto:cesg at mailman.ccsds.org>>
Subject: MAL PIDs spreadsheet

Hello Peter,

As you may recall, I volunteered to take a look at the MO MAL Agency Review CESG Poll PIDs and check them against the latest MAL document.  I see the presentation, dated July 11 in the CWE for CESG, but I do not find the spreadsheet there.  Can you please either send or (probably better) post the spreadsheet?  Thank you.

Best regards,

Erik Barkley
Cross Support Services Area Director
Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems

+1 818.393.4972

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