Paul Barker <P.Barker@cs.ucl.ac.uk> Tue, 23 March 1993 13:24 UTC

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To: osi-ds@cs.ucl.ac.uk
Subject: OSI-DS 40
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 11:38:08 +0000
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From: Paul Barker <P.Barker@cs.ucl.ac.uk>
Message-ID: <9303230644.aa08205@CNRI.Reston.VA.US>


    Thanks to those who made comments.  I have to say that I agreed with the
drift of what Colin, Tim and Thomas said.  There were essentially two issues

First, I agree that we could do with less attributes rather than more, and
will trim the superfluous naming attributes from the document.

Second, there was the issue of new syntaxes.  I am happy to be persuaded to
drop the special syntaxes, and use a text syntax instead.  I can see that
it would not be possible to pre-define all the possible file formats
(.txt, .ps, .tar.Z, etc) and so that some sort of escape mechanism is
needed to cope with the less common formats.

These specific issues seem to lead us into a very important debate on how
pragmatic we should be with X.500.  For example, what line do we take in
general on special syntaxes?  While they might be virtuous from a data
modelling point of view, we might choose not not use them if their use
hinders experimentation with something like OSI-DS 40.  

My feeling as a pragmatist is that we don't have sufficiently good tools 
at our disposal to make much use of new syntaxes, for want of a
better example.  If we had the schema in the Directory, and had tools which
could handle new syntaxes "on the fly", then it would be a different
matter.  As it is, relying on people to upgrade their software (a
non-trivial amount of effort) to enable them to participate in some new use of
the Directory, will probably help to kill off X.500 rather than promote it.

It would be useful to give this issue a good airing at the IETF meeting.