Re: more 'file' suggestions for draft-hoffman-file-uri

From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 08:49:40 -0400
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>
Cc: uri@w3.org
Message-ID: <20040921124940.GD27407@skunk.reutershealth.com>

Roy T. Fielding scripsit:

> The theory was that a smart filesystem interface with automounting
> could make use of a file URI with a hostname. I think that is also
> the basis of Win32 UNC names, but I can't remember if they actually
> work that way on MSIE or not.

It definitely does.  For the purposes of this posting, I define "empty"
as meaning one of the two strings "" and "localhost".

MSIE interprets a non-empty hostname as the host part of a UNC name:
that is, "file://host/path/to/name" is rewritten as "\\host\path\to\name"
and understood as the pathname "to\name" within the fileshare "path"
on the host whose NETBIOS name is "host".

Mozilla on Windows interprets a non-empty hostname as the most
significant element of the path: it rewrites the prefix "file://"
as "file:///" (unless of course the next letter is already a slash).
However, Mozilla paths must begin with either a drive specification
of the form "[A-Za-z]:", or with an UNC hostname of the form "//host"
or "%5C%5Chost"; attempts to dereference paths that don't have one of
these forms are completely ignored.  Thus the Mozilla equivalents of IE's
"file://host/path/to/name" are "file://///host/path/to/name" (which it
treats as canonical) or "file:///%5C%5Chost/path/to/name" (which is

Libwww (and a fortiori lynx) interpret a non-empty hostname as a request
to use FTP protocol.

All of this behavior is true of the latest versions, but has been
stable for a long time (I don't have an exact starting date).

--
John Cowan  jcowan@reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan  www.reutershealth.com
I must confess that I have very little notion of what [s. 4 of the British
Trade Marks Act, 1938] is intended to convey, and particularly the sentence
of 253 words, as I make them, which constitutes sub-section 1.  I doubt if
the entire statute book could be successfully searched for a sentence of
equal length which is of more fuliginous obscurity. --MacKinnon LJ, 1940

Received on Tuesday, 21 September 2004 12:49:43 UTC

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