Re: [jose] POLL(s): header criticality

Anthony Nadalin <> Wed, 06 February 2013 13:33 UTC

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From: Anthony Nadalin <>
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Thread-Topic: [jose] POLL(s): header criticality
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Subject: Re: [jose] POLL(s): header criticality
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-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Karen O'Donoghue
Sent: Monday, February 4, 2013 6:49 AM
Subject: [jose] POLL(s): header criticality


I am wrestling with how to help drive consensus on the topic of criticality of headers. For background, please review the current specification text, the minutes to the Atlanta meeting (IETF85), and the mailing list (especially the discussion in December with (Subj: Whether implementations must understand all JOSE header fields)). We need to come to closure on this issue in order to progress the specifications.

As a tool to gather further information on determining a way forward, the following polls have been created. Please respond before 11 February 2013.


FIRST POLL: Should all header fields be critical for implementations to understand?

YES - All header fields must continue to be understood by implementations or the input must be rejected.

NO - A means of listing that specific header fields may be safely ignored should be defined.

SECOND POLL: Should the result of the first poll be "YES", should text like the following be added? "Implementation Note: The requirement to understand all header fields is a requirement on the system as a whole - not on any particular level of library software. For instance, a JOSE library could process the headers that it understands and then leave the processing of the rest of them up to the application. For those headers that the JOSE library didn't understand, the responsibility for fulfilling the 'MUST understand' requirement for the remaining headers would then fall to the application."

YES - Add the text clarifying that the "MUST understand" requirement is a requirement on the system as a whole - not specifically on JOSE libraries.

NO - Don't add the clarifying text.

THIRD POLL: Should the result of the first poll be "NO", which syntax would you prefer for designating the header fields that may be ignored if not understood?

A - Define a header field that explicitly lists the fields that may be safely ignored if not understood.

B - Introduce a second header, where implementations must understand all fields in the first but they may ignore not-understood fields in the second.

C - Other??? (Please specify in detail.) _______________________________________________
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