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Re: A little courtesy, please

From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 18:43:44 -0400
Message-ID: <392C5B20.977A0B1A@reutershealth.com>
To: Ray Whitmer <ray@xmission.com>, "xml-uri@w3.org" <xml-uri@w3.org>
Ray Whitmer wrote:

> > A fundamental difference is that absolutizing is a "quiet change", whereas
> > forbidding is noisy: existing documents get orphaned, as opposed to
> > existing systems starting to malfunction in unexpected ways.
> I do not see absolutizing as quiet.  It causes lots of ambiguity about at
> what point a name is relative, at what point it is absolute, and with respect
> to what base, and can cause huge instability with nodes adopted from any
> source which one does not control. 

I think you misunderstand what I (and the ISO C Rationale) mean by a quiet change.
Here's a hypothetical (silly) example.

Suppose the maintainers of C decided that expressions of the form x++ were
a Bad Thing, and wanted to only allow ++x.  Generating an error when x++
is seen would be a noisy change.  Interpreting x++ as equivalent to ++x
henceforth would be a quiet change: the compiler would not complain, but
the semantics of the code would be very different.

In that sense, absolutizing is quiet, because it changes the semantics
(don't give me a hard time about that word, please) of relative namespace
names without notice.  Quiet changes are to be avoided, unless they really
have no effect on semantics at all.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  || http://www.reutershealth.com
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)
Received on Wednesday, 24 May 2000 18:44:07 UTC

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