W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org > July to September 1999

RE: Minutes from Today's Call Please Review/Correct

From: Joseph M. Reagle Jr. <reagle@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 12:45:14 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Phillip M Hallam-Baker" <pbaker@verisign.com>
Cc: "Donald E. Eastlake 3rd" <dee3@torque.pothole.com>, "IETF/W3C XML-DSig WG" <w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org>
At 11:48 99/08/24 -0400, Phillip M Hallam-Baker wrote:
 >Nobody is arguing against support for c14n FOR THOSE APPLICATIONS WHICH

The question here is one common of specifications that are unclear of what
they are specifying things over. I try to be specific with each requirement
in the RD, and preface it all in the abstract by saying, "It includes
requirements as they relate to the signature syntax, data model, format,
cryptographic processing, and external requirements and coordination." Quite
a lot, but necessary. (And one that could use improvement.) This issue is:
are we willing to specify an application-feature requirement? While this
isn't necessary for ensuring intoperability over the wire, people sometimes
add these because not being clear about the features an application will
support (if optional) is a disservice to the implementors. I'm not going to
use a feature, if I'm not confident other people will implement it.
Sometimes you let it evolve through extensibility, sometimes you need to
align the implementors expectation's over the feature set at the start to
get a critical mass of usefulness.

So, for this issue:

Acknowledged: there is no requirement to use c14n for signature generation
-- we can finish the discussion on the signature itself next week.
Questioned: even if not, is there an requirement that Signature applications
have a normative c14n algorithm handy in case the sender uses it? Philllip,
are you opposed to using it in your signature generation and/or having to
implement it regardless?

I suspect this is a case that if we don't have a mandatory to implement,
then we will have lots of signatures that won't interoperate (or no one will
c14n). If we do have it, the use of the c14n will spread according to its
usefulness. I don't think the first case is one many people would be happy
with; the second case requires more work, but can make everyone much happier.

Joseph Reagle Jr.   
Policy Analyst           mailto:reagle@w3.org
XML-Signature Co-Chair   http://w3.org/People/Reagle/
Received on Tuesday, 24 August 1999 12:45:20 UTC

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