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In article <Pine.GSO.4.10.10302181430210.8710-100000@gris> you write:
>The term "non-normative" is used frequently in XML 1.0 and in related
>specs. What a document means when it purports to be normative is clear to
>me, but when a section is labled "non-normative", I know what it is not,
>but not necessarily what it is.
The point is, of course, that it's not part of the specification
or standard, in the sense that a system that violates it is not
violating the standard (at least, not for that reason).
As to what it *is*, that depends on context. It might be good advice,
or an explanation of something else that is normative, or a
recapitulation of something that's specified somewhere else. In the
latter two cases, typically the reason for making something
non-normative is to avoid creating any doubt about exactly which
version is normative. So if there's a standard for dongles, and the
standard for widgets finds it useful to describe a dongle, it may well
make that description non-normative in order to make sure that no-one
takes it as the definitive standard for dongles.