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Re: draft-hoffman-news-nntp-uri-01.txt

From: Paul Hoffman / IMC <phoffman@imc.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 20:35:45 -0700
Message-Id: <p06110435bd77f372cad1@[10.20.30.249]>
To: "Charles Lindsey" <chl@clerew.man.ac.uk>, uri@w3.org

At 2:16 PM +0100 9/22/04, Charles Lindsey wrote:
>>2.  Scheme Definition
>>
>>   The news and nntp URL schemes are used to refer to either news groups
>>   or individual articles of USENET news, as specified in RFC 1036.
>>
>>   The news URL takes the form:
>>
>>      newsURL     = "news"  ":" [ news-server ]
>>                       ( newsgroup-name | '*' | message-id )
>>      news-server =  "//" server "/"
>>      message-id  = id-left "@" id-right
>
>OK, that syntax is correct now, but you need a normative reference 
>to RFC 2822 for <id-left> and <id-right> (or maybe to the 
>definitions in the Usefor draft, if that manages to become an RFC by 
>the time this draft is ready - but don't hold your breath).

See below.

>  Presumably also to RFC 2396bis for <server>, and it still is not 
>clear to me whether <server> could include user+password 
>information, and if so what one does if the authentication required 
>by the server is SASL based, which will soon become the norm.

OK, I need a specific answer on those. Otherwise, it is just a host name.

>So I think what you have to say is something like:
>
>   "The <id-left> and the <id-right> MUST be in a canonical form in which no
>    <quoted-string> or <quoted-pair> is used in a context where the same
>    semantic meaning could have been rendered without such quoting;
>    moreover, no whitespace may be included, whether %-encoded or not and/or
>    quoted or not.
>
>    For example, neither
>       news:"abcd"@example.com
>    nor
>       "ab\cd"@example.com
>    is in canonical form, because the form
>       abcd@example.com
>    is available."
>
>Yes, there are indeed email systems around that will happily treat 
>email message identifiers using those three forms as being 
>identical, which is of course a complete no-no in News.

That works for me; do others have feelings about this new text?

>>   If <newsgroup-name> is "*" (as in <URL:news:*>), it is used to refer
>>   to "all available news groups".
>
>OK, that feature has been available since RFC 1738, but I am not at 
>all sure what it is meant to DO. I just tried it on my browser, and 
>it was totally confused, telling me "411 Invalid group name (not in 
>active).". I would be quite happy to see it simply dropped (unless 
>someone can point me to a system that does something useful with it).

Well, given that I dropped nntp: only to discover it is being used, 
I'm hesitant to drop this without more widespread agreement to do so.

>Next, we really need some text to explain what resource is supposed 
>to be retrieved by this URL. Something like:
>
>   "The resource retrieved by this URL is the Netnews article with the
>    given <message-id>. In a properly working Netnews system, the same
>    article will be obtained whatever server is accessed for the purpose
>    (assuming the server in question carried that article in the first
>    place and that it has not expired). If no <server> is specified, the
>    article is to be retrieved from whatever server has been configured
>    for local use."

I'm fine with that too; others?

>One may then need wording as to whether this is truly a global 
>resource, such as people have been discussing regarding the file 
>scheme. I am keeping out of that one myself - the point may become 
>more relevant if we bring back the nntp scheme. I notice that RFC 
>1738 contained the paragraph:
>
>"The news URLs are unusual in that by themselves, they do not 
>contain sufficient information to locate a single resource, but, 
>rather, are location-independent."
>
>I am far from clear what that actually means (if anything), but 
>maybe it is related to what I was trying to say in my suggested 
>paragraph above. AFAICS, they do indeed locate a single resource (if 
>you count different copies of the same article as "single").

There is no good reason to go down this rathole in an RFC that is 
mostly there to say what the schemes look like, not what they do 
conceptually.

>>   The nntp URL defined in RFC 1738 is deprectated.
>
>No, I don't think we ever agreed that, and a couple of people have 
>pointed out places where it is implemented. I have also seen it as 
>the recommended method, in Opera, to force the system to reload an 
>article from the server if the client has lost it somehow.
>
>So I would be in favour of bringing it back. I might even be 
>persuaded to combine it with the news scheme as originally proposed, 
>but only if we establish first exactly what it is meant to do on its 
>own.

Exactly. Please propose concrete text that can be discussed here. Thanks!

--Paul Hoffman, Director
--Internet Mail Consortium
Received on Thursday, 23 September 2004 03:35:47 GMT

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