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RE: Status of RFC 1738 -- 'ftp' URI scheme

From: Michael Wojcik <Michael.Wojcik@microfocus.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 10:03:28 -0800
Message-ID: <81F42F63D5BB344ABF294F8E80990C7902782B9A@MTV-EXCHANGE.microfocus.com>
To: "URI" <uri@w3.org>
> From: uri-request@w3.org [mailto:uri-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of
> Charles Lindsey
> Sent: Friday, 07 January, 2011 08:48
> On Thu, 06 Jan 2011 16:36:23 -0000, John Cowan
> wrote:
> > Charles Lindsey scripsit:
> >
> >> If the authority identifies a host (e.g. e domain name with a A
> >> record, or some local name known from /etc/hosts)
> >
> > Well, Internet Explorer interprets file://foo/bar/baz as the UNC
> > \\foo\bar\baz, which strikes me as extremely sensible

It strikes me as a lousy idea, so there's another data point.

> That looks like a typical microsoft non-standard invention. It is
> certainly not in the spirit of the main URI standard, and it was not
> the intention of RFC 1738.

And a security risk, since it trivially lets malicious sites probe SMB
connections using a combination of <img> and other auto-loaded resources
and scripting.

> Well the file scheme is not supposed to be an alternative to the ftp
> scheme. Given that 1738 was written with local networks in mind rather
> than the global internet, then I think file:/host/filename... should
> normally be seen as an invitation to mount that file from that host
> using NFS.

I don't think the file scheme should try to do anything at all, beyond
attempting to open the named resource using the normal OS mechanism for
opening a file. If the OS decides to retrieve a network resource based
on that request, fine; but it shouldn't be an explicit feature of the
file scheme.

If people want URIs that refer to SMB-hosted resources, let them write a
new I-D for the "smb" scheme and push it through the RFC process. There
are existing implementations.[1]

On another point, I'd substitute "normal OS mechanism for opening a
file" for Charles' reference to "POSIX" upthread. There are non-POSIX
OSes in use, and non-POSIX filesystems even on OSes that also support
POSIX. On IBM's OS/400 aka iSeries aka System i aka whatever they're
calling it today, for example, people ought to be able to use
file-scheme URIs both for resources in the POSIX-compatible Hierarchical
File System, and for the non-hierarchical Integrated File System.
(There's still a reasonable, though constrained, interpretation for the
abs_path portion of a file-scheme URI under IFS.)

[1] See <http://ubiqx.org/cifs/Appendix-D.html>. Apparently there was an
I-D for the smb scheme at one point.

Michael Wojcik
Principal Software Systems Developer, Micro Focus

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