What is a namespace ... really?

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Sun Jan 17 03:42:08 GMT 1999

At 06:35 PM 1/16/99 -0800, Terry Allen wrote:
>Now, RFC 2396 says (from the Abstract):
... [a URI identifies a resource, which can be anything]

>So the "namespace" URI must identify a resource, 

Well, gosh, but what if it doesn't?  The original design clearly
is intended to support the identification of resources, but we're
using it in a different way.

>Me, myself, I think this is a bogus use of URIs.  What you are
>really using is DNS, and you don't need to use fake URIs to do so;
>cf. the IOTP spec.  

That's a good point - clearly the DNS is a key part of this.  But
you might want more than one namespace per domain, so what we need
is a DNS address plus some more identifying stuff; a bill that the
URI seems to fill, so why re-invent it.  Also, it leaves open the
possibility that at some future point we figure out something that
could usefully serve as the resource being pointed to.

For those of you who (like me) had no idea what IOTP is, check out



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