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Subject: RE: [wss] Groups - WSS-X509-04.pdf uploaded

> If I read your example correctly, a recipient would need to
> use Base64 code three times to retrieve the elements of this
> chain of certificates - a one step operation using the PKCS
> #7 format. Then to use existing software you would still need
> to encode them into an ASN.1 set.

Actually the VeriSign engineers were complaining that they were having to
use Java 1.4 precisely because earlier versions did not support PKIPath.

Base64 encoding 3 or a hundred times is not an issue. I have never had an
engineer complain about base64 encoding.

> The problem with the PKCS #7 definition as a path stems
> from English prose, not the ASN.1 definition. 

No, the English prose is the definition of the semantics of PKCS#7. The
syntax has to specify an ordering, but there is no requirement on exisiting
PKCS#7 tools to observe it. There is no guarantee that a particular PKCS#7
interface will encode certs in the order specified in the list, in fact a
library could be updated to reverse the order of the list without breaking
the contract.

>The prose
> states that the certificates in a series may not be a path, may
> contain the elements of a path that are not in path order, may
> not contain all of the certificates needed to form a path, and
> may contain more certificates than needed to form a path.
> This is trivial to fix if all you want in WSS is a path - simply
> make this a requirement of the contents of this commonly
> used ASN.1 type.

You are then not referencing PKCS#7, you are referencing a data structure
that shares the syntax but has different semantics. That is a very bad thing
to do.


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