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Re: using http URIs to name IETF protocol elements [was: TB16]

From: Keith Moore <moore@cs.utk.edu>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 20:51:38 -0400
Message-Id: <200207130051.g6D0pct17244@astro.cs.utk.edu>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
cc: Michael Mealling <michael@neonym.net>, Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, www-tag@w3.org

> If the decision entails not using http: URIs for IANA
> things, then I disagree with it. I consider myself
> a member, i.e. a participant, in the IETF, and I'm
> disappointment that the consensus process seems
> to have failed. I'm interested to know
> what sort of last calls and such I should have been paying
> attention to in order to voice my disagrement before
> the decision was made.

I'm not aware of IETF having made any such decision.  Actually
I'm not aware of anyone having formally proposed such a thing.

OTOH, I'm against having IANA assign URIs of any kind 
of existing IETF protocol elements, because I believe that
(based on lots of experience with existing protocols borrowing
one another's protocol elements) it's naive to pretend you can 
expect semantic equivalence for protocol elements independent
of the context in which they are used, and I also believe
that exporting elements of existing protocols to XML will 
degrade interoperabliity of those protocols.

So if you're going to insist on consensus within IETF you
should be aware IETF contains a broad spectrum of opinions
on the topic.

(my opinion seems to be in the minority, but hey, I tried...)

> The answer to "things failing because the IANA
> decided to re-arrange its website" is: don't do that.

I'd strongly recommend against imposing any policy on IANA that 
tried to force them to maintain their existing directory structure.  
actually many of the current registration files are desparately in 
need of re-organization (some of this has been happening).

and any programmer that wired-in current IANA URLs would have to 
be either hopelessly naive or delusional.

if you want to make some small set of URLs reasonably persistent
then you can probably do so - but to do this you need to organize
those URLs from the start to maximize persistence, and you also 
need to commit resources to maintaining the service - training
people how to do it, and committing the knowledge to institutional
memory.  that's a lot more difficult than most people think, 
especially when large numbers of people "think" they know how 
URLs work and feel free to rearrange them or reassign them on
a whim.  it's a social/educational problem more than a technical 
one, but it's still a hard problem.

> In fact, promise not to do it... in an standards-track
> RFC, if that's the sort of guarantee you trust.

I can't imagine that we'd get consensus to impose that kind
of constraint on IANA's operation.  

Keith
Received on Friday, 12 July 2002 20:51:58 GMT

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