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Re: Talked to the xml.gov people

From: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 18:12:10 -0700
Message-ID: <3ECEC6EA.1050104@prescod.net>
To: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>, WWW-Tag <www-tag@w3.org>

I'm going to take some quotes out of context to emphasize a point:

Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> I was surprised to see the URN in the xml.gov policy.
> It seemed to me they were being clear that

...

> 1.  Use URN.  Make a statement to the world that

...

> 2. Use URL.  Could be HTTP.  Could be FTP.  It is a
> legal namespace.  Make a statement to the world that 

...

> It seems to me that this isn't hard to understand so
> I am still mystified that Tim went to explain this
> unless of course, his mission was to proseletyze for
> the HTTP string because that is the web thing to do.

 > ...

> This still comes down to system politics.

Politics, politics, politics.

If people choose to see this issue through a political rather than 
technical prism then they will end up with less powerful technical 
systems. That's their choice, all I want to do is help them understand 
what they are sacrificing and I would guess that goes for Tim too.

> ... My problem with the "it's just a string but if it's the
> right string, you can do more with it" is that there is
> so little clarity in what the URN/URL/URzed divisions
> achieve.

True. That's why there has been a trend away from them:

http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/NOTE-uri-clarification-20010921/#classical

>  There appears to be no purpose for these except
> politics as long as we maintain that http is just a
> string. 

An HTTP URL is demonstrably just a string. It has the semantics given to 
it by its context and the behaviour given to it by the application.

>  It isn't.  It is a string with a reserved semantic
> just as xml: is reserved so that semantics to be reserved
> to the xml processor can be identified.

The semantic is "name and protocol-based locator." Each application can 
and should choose whether to treat it is as a name or a locator.

 > ...

> The folks at xml.gov chose to keep the urn in there for
> a reason.  Anyone know what it was?  If not clear about
> that, why recommend a different solution when the one
> they have is perfectly legitimate even if from one point of
> view, considered shortsighted?  Be clear.

If the solution is shortsighted, what's wrong with telling them?

  Paul Prescod
Received on Friday, 23 May 2003 21:12:07 UTC

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