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entity-resolution message

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Subject: Re: OASIS - Catalog Threat ?

/ "Mary McRae" <mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org> was heard to say:
| Hi Lauren,
|   This email was sent to communications (Carol Geyer).
| Regards,
| Mary
|> -----Original Message-----
|> From: Steven J. Hathaway [mailto:shathawa@e-z.net]
|> Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 12:28 PM
|> To: communications@oasis-open.org
|> Subject: OASIS - Catalog Threat ?
|> I recommend that (Sec: 4.1.1) of the OASIS entity resolver 
|> catalog specification be revised to help avoid the 
|> development of products that have misleading identifier trust.
|> OASIS is a general entity resolver and catalog.  It can now 
|> be used with XML.  The specification document (Sec: 4.1.1) 
|> describing the 'prefer' attribute may harbor a security 
|> threat related to identifier trust.
|> Normally, the Public identifiers have global scope, and 
|> therefore a high probability of trust.  The System 
|> identifiers normally have a restricted scope - that of a 
|> specific system - and therefore do not have the global trust.
|> When a document is passed between systems, it is undefined 
|> what the scope of System identifier implies.  Herein lies an 
|> OASIS catalog threat.  A document may have both Public and 
|> System identifiers proclaiming to be associated with the 
|> Public resource.  Since the document could be received from a 
|> foreign system, the Public and System identifiers may no 
|> longer define the same resource. The System identifiers in 
|> messages received from foreign systems should have a lower 
|> threshold of trust than Public identifiers.
|> The 'prefer' attribute is often set to 'public' for a catalog 
|> or group.  And if both a Public and System identifier for the 
|> resource reside in the catalog, the System replacement text 
|> is used.  Most developers would imply that the Public 
|> replacement text should be used (See Section 4.1.1. table).
|> The 'prefer' attribute should be set to 'system' to handle 
|> those documents that are only generated and consumed by the 
|> same system.

I'm not sure I understand the comment. Users are free to set the
prefer attribute to system if they wish.

The catalog standard does not specify a default value for the prefer
attribute and mandates that tools provide a way for the user to
specify it.

                                        Be seeing you,

Norman Walsh
XML Standards Architect
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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