Re: What ASN.1 got right

Nico Williams <nico@cryptonector.com> Wed, 03 March 2021 00:19 UTC

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Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2021 18:18:25 -0600
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From: Nico Williams <nico@cryptonector.com>
To: George Michaelson <ggm@algebras.org>
Cc: Michael Thomas <mike@mtcc.com>, Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill@hallambaker.com>, IETF Discussion Mailing List <ietf@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: What ASN.1 got right
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On Wed, Mar 03, 2021 at 10:00:35AM +1000, George Michaelson wrote:
> I "worked" (some might dispute it was work, or even helped) on X.500
> in UCL-CS under Steve Kille, and at CSIRO, in this time. (on Quipu)
> and at UQ in a national X500 project we ran in AARNet.
> 
> The X.500 nameforms are complex because human names are complex. I
> have friends with one name, who are forced to enter their names twice,
> to pass input field validity checks, and who have problems at borders
> with their passport and data matching.

And yet name@domain has succeeded where X.500 failed.  That's because
people like nicknames, and name@domain is a nickname.

> X.500 is complicated because names are complicated.

Also, X.500 for naming humans isn't very complicated.  In PKIX it's
givenName, initial, surname, generation qualifier, and title.  It could
have been more complicated.  My mother had 3 middle names, for example.

It's true that somewhere one has to put complex name information, but
it's not true that one must use complex name information everywhere and
all the time.  Nor is it true that one must parse complex names into
complex data structures when simple strings might suffice.

Nico
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