October 28, 2004 | co.mments
One of my favourite networking papers has been updated. Donald Eastlake has issued a new RFC for "The Protocol versus Document Points of View in Computer Protocols". Here's an excerpt:
DOCUM: What is important are complete (digital) documents, analogous to pieces of paper, viewed by people. A major concern is to be able to present such documents as directly as possible to a court or other third party. Because what is presented to the person is all that is important, anything that can effect this, such as a "style sheet", MUST be considered part of the document. Sometimes it is forgotten that the "document" originates in a computer, may travel over, be processed in, and be stored in computer systems, and is viewed on a computer, and that such operations may involve transcoding, enveloping, or data reconstruction.
PROTO: What is important are bits on the wire generated and consumed by well-defined computer protocol processes. No person ever sees the full messages as such; it is only viewed as a whole by geeks when debugging, and even then they only see some translated visible form. If one actually ever has to demonstrate something about such a message in a court or to a third party, there isn't any way to avoid having computer experts interpret it. Sometimes it is forgotten that pieces of such messages may end up being included in or influencing data displayed to a person.
The rest is here: RFC 3930. Enjoy.
October 28, 2004 09:00 PM
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