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This paper explores the role of the standards process in shaping the future evolution of the Internet. It addresses the industry's need to develop and deploy unique functionality and how it interacts with the communicating users' need for universally available and consistently implemented services, and the role that the standard bodies play in resolving this tension. A brief overview of the organization of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and more specifically of its operating mode to promote the emergence of new standards for the Internet, is presented. An outline of some of the main topics under discussion currently is offered. The evolution of the attendance to the IETF meetings during recent years is commented upon.