W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > March 2007

Re: Clean layer model of the internet?

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 13:39:14 -0500
To: Jon Hanna <jon@hackcraft.net>
Cc: Chris Wilper <cwilper@cs.cornell.edu>, Jacek Kopecky <jacek.kopecky@deri.org>, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF49063CFA.0EDCBDD3-ON85257299.0065EF91-85257299.006678CA@lotus.com>

Jon Hanna writes

> The fact that HTTPS is defined and named differently I don't think is 
> clean. (IIRC, it would now be against IESG policy to give it a different 

> port number to HTTP and I understand [though my knowledge here isn't 
> great, and I'll be dropping out of this thread once it's gone past 
> blue-sky suggestions] that this isn't unrelated to the lack of 
> cleanliness here).

If you're referring to the fact that the https URI scheme is different 
than the http scheme, I believe there are some good reasons.  A scheme 
establishes the association between URIs constructed with that schemes and 
resources.  The social contract, if you will, implied by https URIs is 
somewhat different than that of http URIs, even though they are 
structurally identical, and often are appropriately used for the same 
sorts of resources.  The difference is that when I give you an https URI, 
it's understood that the association between URI and resource is what 
HTTPS gives you.  So, for example, it's understood that a degree of 
authentication is involved in successful resolution, and thus that the 
association is not vulernable to certain sorts of errors or malicious 
attacks.  That level of robustness is not implicit in identification of a 
resource using the http scheme, even though in the absence of errors or 
attacks the two might do equally well and produce similar results.  The 
space of resources designated by the https scheme is not the same space as 
the one designated by the http scheme, or that's my understanding anyway.

--------------------------------------
Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
1-617-693-4036
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Received on Friday, 9 March 2007 18:39:29 UTC

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