W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > November 2003

RE: non-IETF tree URI scheme draft

From: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 22:10:28 -0800
To: edmckinsey@cox.net
Cc: uri@w3.org
Message-id: <000a01c3ad9a$aa0b6c30$6401a8c0@MasinterT40>

> 1) I don't think that the basic division between ietf-tree 
> and non-ietf tree is correct. IETF is just one standard 
> organization among many others (e.g. oasis, itu, ieee, w3c, 
> etc). Why should IANA treat IETF differently from other 
> standard organizations? If uri-schemes proposed by other 
> organizations has to use the "orgname-schemename", then 
> uri-schems from IETF should also use "ietf-scheme". 

I think you've misunderstood. Any individual or organization
may propose an IETF tree URI scheme, just as any individual
or organization may propose an IETF tree MIME type. 

However, the IETF has a process for review and criteria for
acceptance of URI schemes that are independent of their source.
The process is documented in BCP 35 (RFC 2717) and the
criteria are documented in RFC 2718. The "non-IETF" tree
is only there for organizations that do not wish to participate
in the documented process or for those proposals that have
been judged as not meeting the criteria. This is similar
to the division between IETF and non-IETF trees for MIME

> 2) If the "orgname-" in the uri-scheme is primarily used to 
> avoid namespace collision, then the same principle should 
> also apply for urn namespace. Thus the "urn:publicid" should 
> really be "urn:ietf-publicid". I haven't seen anyone bring this up. 

No, it is for distinguishing IETF vs non-IETF tree.

> 3) The current "heavyweight, slow process" of uri 
> registration is not because of the complexity of the proposed 
> scheme itself, but due to the debate between URI or URN 
> namespace. Because of some of our "URI experts" are URN 
> advocates and they want their product to be successful, it 
> complicates the whole process. Given that their opinions are 
> heard, it would be better to have those people stay out of 
> the decision making so that more objective decision can be made.

I think this kind of ad hominum argument (questioning the
motivation of the speaker) is inappropriate. Certainly
the same arguments could apply to "OpenURL experts" or
"DOI advocates" who might "want their product to be

> 4) It seems that IETF is acting more and more towards a 
> governing body on what is the right technology to use and how 
> people should use it.

This is, as far as I can tell, the charter of IETF -- to
make judgements and recommendations about technology.

>         This only works if the ones that making 
> the decision are not biased and can always make the right 
> decision. I don't think we can trust anyone with such 
> characteristics. A better approach is to have our experts 
> advise users of pro's and con's of each of their choices, but 
> leave the decision making to the users themselves. 

It is of course the responsibility of participants in the IETF
to work toward the common good; it is the goal of the
'rough consensus' process in IETF to insure that decisions
are not biased.

Users themselves are free to do whatever they want. You are
free to use any URI scheme you would like to use, including doi:
and info: and edmckinseyisgreat: if you like. The IETF
police will not come after you.

The only question we're discussing on this list are what
the recommendations from the IETF should be. And the IETF
should make judgements following the IETF established
processes, which have resulted in the URI process and
criteria above. In this sequence of messages, we are discussing
a proposal


to change that process, and 'allow' some URIs which
satisfy different criteria. We've recently discussed
liberalizing the rules in that draft to allow 
orgname-schemename instead of vnd-orgname-schemename.
I think you're asking for an even more liberal interpretation
of 'private' schemes, where they are intermixed, without
facet or any syntactic distinction.

It sounds like you would prefer to follow the "expert review"
with "no rules", i.e., independent of what the experts say,
you would allow anyone to register any URI scheme, first come
first served. Is that your position?

I'm not in favor of first-come-first-served, because it seems
like it might lead to the same kind of mess we've seen with .COM.
Unregulated namespaces tend to get polluted easily. Requiring
"vnd-" or "prs-" or "org-" might at least discourage vanity
registration and cybersquatting. However, if we allow IANA
sufficient discression, we might be able to get away with just
allowing the orgname-schemename version.

Secondly, it seems that there is some value in distinguishing
between those URI schemes that have passed review vs. those
that haven't. Using the URI syntax itself and the notion of
"facets" seems like it's an effective way of accomplishing that.

In your "let the users decide" scenario, what would you do
to avoid frivolous registrations of URI schemes?


Received on Tuesday, 18 November 2003 01:10:33 UTC

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