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Objection to dead list and Fwd: EXC-XML-C14N ambiguity in processing InclusiveNamespaces PrefixList with undefined prefix

From: <sampo@zxidp.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2010 20:36:27 +0100 (CET)
To: public-xmlsec@w3.org
Cc: sampo@zxidp.org
Message-Id: <20101113193627.BF35921B40@mail.zxidp.org>
This mail is to forward a mail submitted to w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org (as directed on

page http://www.w3.org/2002/07/xml-exc-c14n-errata)


I have learned from a friendly source that the said mailing list is "dead".

I find it quite disturbing that specifications and errata mention as the official reporting

mechanism a mailing list that is "dead" or not monitored by any human. You can hardly

claim a transparent and open standards process if such dead mailing lists exist so that

all comments go to /dev/null. Is the intent not to receive any comments?

I reproduce here the original mail:

The specification [XML-EXC-C14N] does not state how a namespace prefix, not

defined earlier in the document, should be processed. Section 3, bullet 2

does not help much as it seems to assume input where the prefixes are

always well defined. Similarily section 3.1 bullet 3.2.1 seems to assume

that all prefixes in the PrefixList are well defined.

My interpretation is that the undefined prefixes are errors that should

cause digital signature to be rejected. However I have been challenged

by some vendors on the market, claiming that their signatures with

undefined prefixes in InclusiveNamespaces PrefixList are indeed valid

as the specification does not expressly forbid such undefined


I think the specifications should be more clear on this issue. I would

hope for errata to be released to clarify this.

[XML-EXC-C14N] John Boyer, Donald E. Eastlake 3rd, Joseph Reagle: "Exclusive

  XML Canonicalization Version 1.0", W3C Recommendation 18 July 2002,


Received on Saturday, 13 November 2010 19:37:24 UTC

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