Re: Registration (was Re: DRAFT Minutes, HTTP-WG)

On Sun, 10 Dec 1995, Larry Masinter wrote:

> We've gotten some warnings from those folks who have been involved in
> the message-header registration wars to tread carefully here. There's
> a quite analogous situation between HTTP headers and message headers,
> and quite a bit of experience in the IETF about what can go wrong.
> For example, if you merely allow anyone to register anything, then you
> get poorly specified headers, conflict over interpretation of
> registered headers, vanity registration, trademark conflicts, etc.
> On the other hand, if you require standards-track RFCs describing the
> header before the header becomes registered, you wind up with a
> cumbersome process which either interferes with experimentation, or in
> which the registration mechanism is ignored, the experiment proceeds,
> which then interferes with registration once the experiment is
> successful.
> The default registration procedure for anything that doesn't otherwise
> have one is 'create a standards-track RFC describing the item'.
> I think this currently applies to
>     Methods
>     Status codes
>     Entity Header Fields
>     Content codings
>     Transfer codings
> although it doesn't seem to apply to content-type. In lieu of any
> other registration mechanism, it currently applies to URL schemes.

There is a well established system for content-type which involves posting
information to the ietf-types mailing list.  This gives the interested
community a chance to comment on it and it can get registered after
comments have been incorporated or died down unless there seems to be
a consensus against it.

> It's not that I don't think this issue needs to be addressed; I think
> registration is very important. It's not unreasonable also to ask that
> IANA would maintain an authoritative version of such a registry, even
> if the only way that items could be added to the registry was via a
> 'standards-track document'.
> One way to make better progress in HTTP-WG is to avoid 'ratholes', I
> think this is one. I would like to make the issue of devising new
> registration procedures 'out of scope' for HTTP-WG.
> Is there is a group of individuals who are knowledgable about the
> history, status, and difficulties with the registration procedures for
> protocol extensions in other Internet protocols (SMTP, SNMP, media
> types, Telnet options come to mind) as well as HTTP and who are
> willing to work on this issue, I might feel differently.

Donald E. Eastlake 3rd     +1 508-287-4877(tel)
   318 Acton Street        +1 508-371-7148(fax)
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Received on Wednesday, 13 December 1995 13:18:36 UTC