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where is the file scheme defined?

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 18:27:44 +0200
Message-ID: <1239685884.20040629182744@w3.org>
To: www-tag@w3.org

Hello www-tag,

The file: scheme used to be defined in RFC 1738. A common statement when
one looks for the definition is:

>> An old specification of the file URI scheme is found in RFC 1738. A
>> new RFC 2396 based specification in not available yet, but file URI
>> references are in common use.

2396bis (v.5) says:

>> This document obsoletes [RFC2396], which merged "Uniform Resource
>> Locators" [RFC1738] and "Relative Uniform Resource Locators"
>> [RFC1808] in order to define a single, generic syntax for all URIs.
>> It excludes those portions of RFC 1738 that defined the specific
>> syntax of individual URI schemes; those portions will be updated as
>> separate documents. The process for registration of new URI schemes
>> is defined separately by [RFC2717]. Advice for designers of new URI
>> schemes can be found in [RFC2718].

It also has a passing mention of the file protocol as an example inn the
context of when and when not to mention localhost

>> URIs that identify in relation to the end-user's local context should
>> only be used when the context itself is a defining aspect of the
>> resource, such as when an on-line Linux manual refers to a file on
>> the end-user's filesystem (e.g., "file:///etc/hosts").

Does this mean that

a) file is defined in RFC 1738
b) file is not defined formally, as RFC 2396 obseleted RFC 1738
c) Someone else has defined it and I missed it
d) whatever <$browser> does

Given the importance of filesystem access for a lot of processing on
client and server, and the importance of using URI consistently for all
types of access, I was interested to know the correct answer.

 Chris Lilley                    mailto:chris@w3.org
 Chair, W3C SVG Working Group
 Member, W3C Technical Architecture Group
Received on Tuesday, 29 June 2004 12:27:44 UTC

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