W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > October 2003

RE: Names and addresses

From: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:21:13 -0700
To: "'Graham Klyne'" <GK@ninebynine.org>, "'Gustaf Liljegren'" <gustaf.liljegren@bredband.net>, uri@w3.org
Message-id: <001101c39476$dd33d800$6401a8c0@MasinterT40>

> I think that the distinction of being a name or an address is not a 
> property of any particular label-token, but a consequence of how it is

> used.  I think it's fairly clear that any (unambiguous) address *can
> used* as a name.  I also think that, given an appropriate
> any name can be used as an address.  Whatever the standards community
> decree, users will not feel constrained not to use the labels we
provide -- 
> URIs -- in any way that seems convenient to their purpose.

I think the foundation work was John Shoch: "Internetwork naming,
and routing.", Proceedings, COMPCON, IEEE Computer Society, Fall 1979.
I can't find an earlier reference. The architectural concept of
naming, addressing and routing as separate network functions has been
a strong foundation for the Internet.  It does seem that we're using
the words with slightly different meanings, but the distinctions hold
and are important in most of the Internet architecture.

> So while naming and addressing may be separate problems, I don't think
> can insist that they use disjoint sets of tokens.

Just because it is possible to use a name as an address and vice
versa doesn't mean that it is a good idea, or that IETF or W3C
should adopt a policy of not distinguishing between the two
or encouraging registration of namespaces where the primary
definitional role isn't clear.

This isn't a constraint on USERS (who can attempt to do whatever
they like with their URIs) but can easily be a constraint on those
who wish to get their namespaces inscribed in IANAs hallowed rolls.

Let us imagine a policy where namespaces that have (interesting, useful)
operational definitions get to be registered as URI schemes, namespaces
that have a definition which establishes a (possibly delegated)
naming authority / registration mechanism get to be registered as
URN namespaces...

... and namespaces that have neither get to be debated endlessly
on uri@w3.org, until the definers give up or else fit their schemes
into one of the two camps.

Received on Friday, 17 October 2003 02:22:30 UTC

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