Criteria for new URL schemes; W3C/IETF cooperation

From: Larry Masinter (
Date: Mon, Aug 23 1999

From: "Larry Masinter" <>
To: "Michael A. Dolan" <>
Cc: "Dan Zigmond" <>, "Mark Vickers" <>, "Philipp Hoschka" <>, "Keith Moore" <>, "Patrik Fältströ" <>, <>, <>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 00:51:06 PDT
Message-ID: <000101beed3c$41b5b280$>
Subject: Criteria for new URL schemes; W3C/IETF cooperation

URL scheme criteria:

The criteria and process for new URL schemes was set in RFC 1738,
section 4, "Registration of New Schemes". While URLREG has elaborated
those in draft-ietf-urlreg-guide-05.txt and
draft-ietf-urlreg-urlreg-procedures-07.txt, the original requirement
that "URL schemes must have a demonstratable [sic] utility and operability"
still applies. Publication of draft-zigmond-tv-url-02.txt would
constitute registration of the "tv" URL scheme, in the face of the
numerous questions about its utility (and actual deployment) and
documented problems with its operability.

It would be reasonable to reject publication of this document as an
"Informational" RFC merely on the grounds that doesn't meet the
criteria and procedures established for new URL schemes; it doesn't
meet the general criteria in RFC 1738 and it doesn't meet the criteria
for URLs in the IETF tree as elaborated in

(It's unclear that additional 'technical discussion' after three years
of repeated advice 
would cause the document to change in a useful way.)

IETF process:

RFC 2026 (The Internet Standards Process) must be viewed in light of
more recent activities, and, in particular, IETF's joining with W3C
and other organizations to coordinate development of Internet
Standards. The IETF and W3C both signed draft-ietf-poission-pso-mou-01.txt.
It calls for the organizations to work out processes for coordination.

In areas that are within the scope of both IETF and W3C or in areas
that are primarily covered by W3C activities, the need to coordinate
activities should modify the process in RFC 2026.

URL scheme registrations fall in the overlap of IETF and W3C
interests; extensions of web-related protocols to support the TV
domain is currently primarily a W3C activity.

Despite the lack of explicit guidance in RFC 2026 on additional
process steps necessary to insure coordination, the IETF has, and
should continue, to take inter-organization cooperation into account
when considering its actions.

It is in the spirit of the MOU to at least consider whether a
particular proposal (be it an IETF RFC or a W3C recommendation or
note) represents the attempt of a member company or partipant to
bypass the process or technical criteria of one organization by use of
the other organization's standards development process.

From the W3C description of the activity (, it
is clear that the development of a "tv" URL scheme is specifically in
the charter of that activity
(, along with an
established process of that group to review those schemes and
collectively submit them to the IETF.

From the IETF side, it seems important not to interfere with the W3C
process that was established to review TV URLs. The W3C group's
charter says they will review the various proposals and then submit
their documents to the IETF. Premature publication would be subverting
the W3C activity.

From the W3C side, the attempt to publish draft-zigmond-tv-url-02.txt
as an Informational RFC in the IETF doesn't seem to be consistent with
the agreed charter of the W3C TV Interest Group, of which the document
authors are, I believe, assigned as individual participants.

As the W3C Process document says:

"Every effort must be made for open communication and cooperation
between W3C and the IETF so that, for example, two versions of a
specification do not evolve independently as a result of separate
work. Such fragmentation thwarts the principle of interoperability so
vital to W3C success."

It would be unreasonable for IETF and W3C to create separate "tv" URL
specifications. Since this is a chartered W3C activity, it should be
allowed to proceed without premature publication by the IETF of a
flawed specification.