Namespace URI address resources

Rick Jelliffe ricko at
Tue Jun 15 06:43:56 BST 1999

From: Ronald Bourret <rbourret at>

>Murray Maloney wrote:
>> OK, so we disagree.
>Actually, quite a few people disagree with using the namespace URI to
>retrieve the schema, as recent discussions have shown. Unfortunately,
>although we've assembled a mass of discomfort, none of us has come up
>what I would consider an absolute killer technical argument -- that is,
>that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it won't work.

I don't think "it won't work" is a good enough criterion.  There are
many things that work that have undesirable ramifications: <BLINK>
works.  Of course namespace URLs can point to anything: namespaces do
not use the resource. But forcing the namespace URL point to a schema
has bad side effects.

This is what my online article "How to Promote Organic Plurality on the
WWW" is about. See  My
argument is that the WWW has succeeded because it (networking, TCP/IP,
HTTP/MIME) is based on allowing plurality and organic development (i.e.,
market forces in a non-monetary market).  It is not enough to have
layers, there also needs to be a mechanism preceding each layer to allow
alternatives. This view is supports Tim's argument.

It is OK if some namespace URLs point to schemas.  But it is not OK for
any system to take over the namespace declaration and make it serve as a
schema declaration.  The namespace declarations should mean what the
spec says and nothing more.  Dave Brownell's post was good on this.

Murray is not saying "Why can't the URL resource be a schema?" but "Why
cannot we overload the namespace declaration to be the XML schema
* The first reason is because we need to support plurality, so any
overloading should allow a multuplicity of content-negotiated schemas
not just XML Schemas;
* the second reason is because such overloading should be at best
considered a defaulting mechanism in the absense of a specific schema
declaration, and there is as yet no specific declaration mechanism for
* the third reason is because it you then need markup to say "the
namespace mechanism is overloaded" which then in effect makes namespaces
not universal names but
* the fourth reason is given in the note mentioned: it goes against the
way other parts of the WWW have been designed and works against the
public interest: it allows "data kidnap" and "workflow kidnap".

Rick Jelliffe

Rick Jelliffe

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