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Re: Dereferencing Namespace URIs considered harmful

----- Original Message -----
From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
To: <Edwin.Fine@CommerceQuest.com>
Cc: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
Sent: 17 January 2001 21:50
Subject: Re: Dereferencing Namespace URIs considered harmful

> > I feel that dereferencing part of a two-part name because of
> > its accidental resemblance to something that exists outside of the
> > context of that name is tantamount to the old mistake of "overloading"
> > part of a database key to mean something else. As an example, I am
> > reminded of a telephone company that assigned special meaning to
> > the high-order digits of a subscriber's account number, on the
> > that there would never be that many subscribers. Of course, the fateful
> > day
> > arrived where the number of subscribers reached critical mass, and
> > suddenly people found themselves getting huge discounts on their phone
> > bills, simply because their account numbers had fallen into the
> > reserved range. Fixing the problem proved very troublesome.
> Paul T and I already argued pretty much the same viewpoint, and I even
> used the exact same argument of

Chris Date's paper "Don't Encode Information into Primary Keys!" (in
Relational Database Writings 1989-1991) bears on this. However this is not
the principal reason why I think mindlessly dereferencing URIs is harmful.
The reason it is harmful is that you may be given a URL which when
dereferenced causes harm to others.

John Wilson
The Wilson Partnership
5 Market Hill, Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 4JB, UK
+44 1296 641072, +44 7976 611010(mobile), +44 1296 641874(fax)