W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-dist-auth@w3.org > January to March 2000

Re: RFC-2518 LOCK-TOKEN: header

From: <jamsden@us.ibm.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 13:30:22 -0500
To: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
Message-ID: <85256877.0065A3AF.00@d54mta03.raleigh.ibm.com>

I agree with everything Geoff says, but I still think lock-tokens alone
aren't enough. Geoff says lock-tokens should be associated with clients.
But the only way this can be done is if clients don't reuse some other
client's lock token, or arbitrarily unlock them and get their own lock
token. If all clients were well-behaved and only:
    - used lock tokens the obtained from LOCK to update resources
    - except on rare and well coordincate instances, only unlock resources
they locked
    - never used shared locks
then this would work. Do we want locks to be purly advisory like this? I
would be willing to consider it. I've just been working on the assumption
that we wanted the server to do more.

But I still think there is a problem. In Geoff's scheme, lock-tokens are
now associated (essentially and by convention) with the client that took
out the lock. But there's no way in HTTP for the client to identify itself,
and therefore no way for the server to remember what client took out the
lock. That's why the server can't ensure only the client that got the lock
can update the resource, not just any client that might have the lock
token. So again, there's no way for the client to determine what lock
tokens it took out (i.e., owns) through a DAV:lockdiscovery. We're back to
having clients have to persist their lock tokens someplace else. I was
hoping to avoid this by at least using a DAV:principal in the
DAV:activelock to find the locks a particular principal owns.

"Geoffrey M. Clemm" <geoffrey.clemm@rational.com>@w3.org on 01/31/2000
10:37:24 AM

Sent by:  w3c-dist-auth-request@w3.org

To:   w3c-dist-auth@w3.org

Subject:  Re: RFC-2518 LOCK-TOKEN: header

   From: jamsden@us.ibm.com

   ... if clients aren't going to restrict themselves to using
   the lock tokens that they created via LOCK, but will grab any
   lock-token that was created by their principal, then there is no
   reason to have the complexity of lock-tokens in the protocol.

   We're getting there. The reason for associating the lock token with a
   principal is to give that principal the flexibility of running
   clients that may update the same resource.

A principal can run concurrent clients that may update the same resource,
whether or not a lock token is associated with a principal.

   Since not all these clients
   actually locked the resource but got the lock token some other way, they
   are aware that there might be other clients that have the same lock
   and can warn the principal before using the lock token to update a

So every time such a client does a PUT/PROPPATCH to a "locked" resource,
it pops up a warning message saying "this might overwrite updates pending
in other clients working on your behalf, but I have no idea whether it
does or not because we use each others' lock tokens".  This is not a
behavior for which I would deliberately design a protocol.

Alternatively, the clients could be written to first UNLOCK a resource that
was locked by some other client, and then that other client (whether it
belonged to you or some other principal) would know this has occurred as
soon as it tries to make its next update, and could then notify that other
client's user that a merge conflict has occurred because someone
UNLOCK'ed your lock.

   3. Multiple clients run by the same principal would have to get there
   possibly exclusive write locks which would limit data availability by a
   single principal who likely knows what they are doing at the moment, and
   it is safe to proceed with an update. For example, the principal may be
   running many concurrent clients, but only one of them is active at a
   The others are all waiting for input.

As a side note, "shared locks" are just, well, to be blunt, silly.
RFC2518 says you can take out a shared lock if you are a "principal
with appropriate access".  But if you are a principal with appropriate
access, you should just UNLOCK the resource and take out your own
exclusive lock on it.  This gives you all the benefits of "shared
locks", without losing the overwrite protection of exclusive locks.
Perhaps "silly" is a bit harsh ... or perhaps it is not harsh enough (:-).

Now as for the limiting data availability, how does the need to first
UNLOCK a locked-by-another client resource limit data availability?
Your client confirms (by asking you) that you really want to "steal" the
resource from another client (using the DAV:owner field to give a more
informative message), then UNLOCKs the resource, and then LOCKs
the resource to get its own locktoken.

I believe that you are try to get ACL behavior out of locktokens ...
I'd prefer to use ACL's to get ACL behavior (:-).  An ACL lets
you control which principals have write access to a resource (to prevent
damage from "hostile" principals), while locktokens lets cooperating
clients avoid merge conflicts.  An ACL is resource based and associated
with principals; a locktoken is URL-based and associated with clients.

   So I think associating the lock token with a principal is a reasonable
   useful compromise. It doesn't give absolute and complete overwrite
   protection for multiple current clients run by the same principal, but
   does guarantee overwrite protection between principals.

Associating a lock token with a principal is both too strong (it prevents
another principal with the same or higher access rights from authoring
that resource) and is too weak (it doesn't help avoid merge conflicts
between clients acting on behalf of the same client).

If this approach were consistent with our future direction (associating
ACL's with resources), I'd be more willing to accept it, but it isn't.
Requiring that only a principal that issued a LOCK can cancel that LOCK
will conflict with any attempts to allow a wider "trust" group for
that operation.

   Note that GULP R8 is consistent with associating principals with lock

Yes, that has been fixed (:-).  All mention of a "principal" has been
removed from R8.

Received on Monday, 31 January 2000 13:30:47 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 15:01:21 UTC