Re: Names, namespaces and languages

Dan Connolly writes:

> If they're minting a name that they don't own,
> they're squatting.  (Do we say "don't do that"
> somewhere? maybe that's one of our newer
> issues... Anyway...)

I don't think we've said it normatively, but I tried to take a first cut 
in my schemeProtocols draft.  The reason for doing it there is that I 
think it gives a framework in which to discuss what it means to "squat", 
without getting into elaborate discussions of ownership.  From the draft 
[1] (Dan: as you know, I've already agreed to tighten the first two 
sentences which you viewed as uncritical of failure to deploy a server, 
but that's not the point here.):

"Subtleties arise when such URIs are employed without deploying a server 
for the resource. For example, it is common to use XML namespace names 
based on the http scheme even when no server is providing representations 
for that namespace. Deploying such a server is desirable, but is not 
required by Web architecture. >>When there is no such server, the URI 
chosen SHOULD be consistent with eventual server deployment. So, in the 
case of HTTP, it is inappropriate to base a URI on a DNS name that is not 
registered, because the DNS name might later be assigned to an 
organization that would use it for a purpose inconsistent with serving 
representations of the resource. Similar considerations apply for other 
schemes and their associated protocols.<<"

So regarding namespace squatting, the line of reasoning I'm exploring is:

* You're squatting if you've used a URI over which you don't have 
sufficient control to ensure the possibility of deploying representations. 
 So, if I use your DNS name in an http-scheme URI and without your 
permission, I'm unlikely to be able to make the necessary guarantee.  On 
the other hand, if I've asked your permission and you will deploy the 
representations, I'm OK.  The point is to get us out of the business of 
defining "ownership", and put it in terms of ensuring that deployment of 
representations is possible. 

* It follows that if you've done the right thing and have in fact deployed 
a server, you almost surely aren't squatting.  It's hard for me to deploy 
representations if I've "stolen" your namespace.

Does the above seem promising?   I'll admit that it doesn't generalize 
well to namespaces based on urn, uuid, or other schemes that tend not to 
be deployed, but for deployable schemes I like the fact that it avoids 
notions of ownership, gives lattitude to use namespaces with suitable 
permission from those who might be seen as owners, etc. 



Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Received on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 20:57:17 UTC