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Subject: Re: [xri] CID changes in wd11

I think it would go about like this (no guarantees!!):

For question 1:

if (Fred == Drummond) {

  Fred: "Just resolve them and look at their XRDs. They have the same CanonicalID, therefore they identify the same resource. They have different GlobalIDs. At least one of them has either a Ref or BackRef".

} else if (Fred == Steven || Fred == Les) {

  Fred: "Just resolve them. They have different CanonicalIDs. But one of them has a Ref, therefore they identify the same resource."


For question 2:

if (Fred == Drummond || Fred == Les || Fred == Steven) {

  Fred: "Just resolve them. If there is no synonym element in either XRD, they are different resources."



On 8/15/07, Barnhill, William <barnhill_william@bah.com> wrote:
Quick question if I can, supposing the following conversations what are
Fred's responses?

Fred: "@ootao*steven and =steven.churchill identify the same resource"
Alice: "Prove it"
Fred: ???

Fred: "@ootao*steven and =steven.churchill identify different resources"
Alice: "Prove it"
Fred: ???

This would help me greatly, though may be a rehashing for many of you,

William Barnhill                    Phone: (315) 491-6765
Associate                           Email: barnhill_william@bah.com
Booz | Allen | Hamilton             i-name: = Bill.Barnhill
"Delivering results that endure"


From: markus.sabadello@gmail.com [mailto: markus.sabadello@gmail.com] On
Behalf Of Markus Sabadello
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 3:57 PM
To: Drummond Reed
Cc: Steven Churchill; Chasen, Les; xri@lists.oasis-open.org ; Andy Dale
Subject: Re: [xri] CID changes in wd11

I read all this 3 times now.. I can't shake the feeling that everyone is
saying almost the same thing and that the problem lies in terminology such
as "XRD", "authority" and "resource".

Here are a few simple statements:
1. "@ootao*steven and =steven.churchill identify the same resource".
2. "@ootao*steven and = steven.churchill are different XRI authorities".
3. "The CanonicalID is the preferred and unique identifier (primary key) of
a real-world resource."
4. "The CanonicalID is the preferred and unique identifier (primary key) of
an XRI authority."

I think we all agree on (1). Those are two i-names registered by and
identifying our friend Steven Churchill (the resource).

I think we also all agree on (2), although I am not completely sure about
that. Let me know if you disagree here. My understanding is that every XRI
(except LOCAL synonyms) has an "authority" of its own. Local synonyms share
the same authority, but "polyarchical" synonyms have different authorities.
Independent of that, when you resolve an XRI, you could of course get
different authorities (due to ref processing). Technically (in the GRS and
the OpenXRI server), there is a 1:1 relationship between an authority and an

Regarding (3) and (4), I think this is where the differences lie.

If you support (3), which I suspect Drummond does, then you would use the
same CanonicalID for all your i-names. I got ONE i-number which identifies
ME, and I am supposed to use it as a CanonicalID for all i-names I have
(=markus, @id*markus, =peacekeeper, etc.). Those would all have the same
CanonicalID. I am able to establish a notion of synonymity of identifiers
BEFORE I do service endpoint selection!

If you like (4) better (Les? Steven?), then the CanonicalID identifies an
XRI authority instead of a real-world resource. I just resolved
@ootao*steven and =steven.churchill , and they have different CanonicalIDs.
But there is a Ref, which tells me they are synonyms. Like in (3) I also
have a notion of synonymity of identifiers before I do service endpoint
selection, but the CanonicalIDs of the identifiers are different. Which is
not a problem, since during resolution with ref processing (OpenID for
example), I get the same CanonicalID for both identifiers.

----> I think all this comes down to what's the relationship between the
terms "real-world resource" and "XRI authority", and which of them should be
identified by the CanonicalID.

I have a question for Les (I'm not trying to make a point with that
question, I really want to know): What happens when my i-name =markus
expires (because I forget to pay for it) and then my evil neighbour
registers it? Will it get a new i-number? I hope so!!! Otherwise he will be
able to access all the OpenID relying parties I ever used, right? Therefore,
"The CanonicalID of the authority =markus changed", no? Which is a good
thing, since it now refers to a different resource (my neighbour), no? Or
would you express this in different words?

Oh and by the way, what I never liked about Refs is that to me it seems they
do two different things at the same time. They say "This identifier is a
synonym" and "Follow it to find something". I understand those two things
are very closely linked, but we STILL have no synonym element that simply
says "This identifier is a synonym" without any additional semantics like
"follow it" or "it's canonical" or "it's local". Personally I would have
chosen only a single element with optional attributes called <Synonym
follow="true" canonical="false">@ootao*steven</Synonym>, instead of having
four or five different elements that have so similar semantics.

I don't know if any of this helps or makes things even more complicated,
after all I'm still new to this as compared to you XRI dinosaurs :) Just
trying to sum up my impressions of this ongoing discussion..


On 8/14/07, Drummond Reed < drummond.reed@cordance.net> wrote:

        What I am hearing from Steve and Les essentially boils down to this:
a CanonicalID value should not be allowed to be polyarchical, because if it
is polyarchical, it might need to change. If a CanonicalID value MUST be
hierachical (which in had to be in order to be verified in WD11 ED02 -- the
draft I believe Les is proposing we revert CanonicalID to), then indeed
verification is indeed simpler, as a CanonicalID MUST be issued by the same
authority authoritative for the XRD in which it appears. And if an authority
uses a persistent hierachical identifier as a CanonicalID, it never needs to
change, because a hierachical identifier is always under the control of the
authority that issues it, whereas a polyarchical identifier is not.

        Lastly it follows that if a CanonicalID value MUST be hierarchical
(which was the proposed definition of the GlobalID element), then the
primary rationale for GlobalID goes away (there may still another secondary
rationale for it, but that's another subject).

        However if we go this direction, it leaves us with a different
problem: how can a real-world resource (such as a person) prove that they
are the same resource represented by two different XRDs with two different
CanonicalIDs issued by two different parent authorities?

        We'd need to move the burden of this proof to our polyarchical
synonyms, i.e., Refs and Backrefs. In this approach, XRD #1 from parent
authority #1 could assert that it represented the same resource as XRD #2
from parent authority #2 by including a Ref element whose value was an
identifier that resolved to XRD #2 (preferably the CanonicalID for XRD #2,
but any absolute identifier for XRD #2 would work).

        To verify that this synonym assertion was true, an XRI resolver
would need to do the same thing proposed in ED03 section 12.2, i.e., confirm
that a corresponding Backref element exists in XRD #2 pointing back to an
identifier for XRD #2 (again, preferably the CanonicalID for XRD #1). I
would argue that we should also allow a Ref element to be used for
verification, i.e., if XRD #1 contains a Ref element pointing to XRD #2, and
XRD #2 contains a Ref element pointing back to XRD #1, the synonyms are
verified in *both* directions.

        Since this "Ref verification" only works polyarchically on Ref
elements, it is a separate process that "CanonicalID verification" which
only works hierarchically on CanonicalID elements. This means we'd need to
add another XRI resolution parameter for requesting Ref verification (I'd
propose to call it "ref" but we already have the "refs" parameter which is
used to control whether refs are followed in service endpoint selection, so
another name would be better).

        The key thing we lose by going this direction is the ability for the
resource represented by an XRD to assert a polyarchical identifier as its
canonical identifier. Let me give an example.

        If I want to go into twelve different businesses today to establish
an account and I want to prove to each of them that I have the same identity
(for example, so they all give me good credit), I can show all twelve of
them the same credential with the same identifier (say it's my WA state
driver's license #). If they believe this credential (which they can
verify), they can record this identifier in their databases and they don't
need to assign me their own local identifier (they may still want to do
that, but they don't HAVE to do that). This is the
CanonicalID-can-be-polyarchical model proposed in ED03.

        By contrast, if none of the twelve businesses will accept my my WA
state driver's license # (or another external identifier) as their
identifier for me, they all MUST assign me their own local identifiers. To
prove I am the same person, they can all put in their records that I have a
WA state driver's license #, but to do this they MUST store at least two
identifiers: the one they assigned me, and my WA state driver's license #.
This is the CanonicalID-must-be-hierarchical model that I believe Les and
Steve are proposing.

        Either model will work. They have contrasting



        - XRI authority can assert the same identifier everywhere if it

        - Separate Ref verification process is not needed to prove
cross-domain identity

        - Consuming applications do not need to store more than one
identifier to support cross-domain identification


        - CanonicalID can change

        - Verification of polyarchical CanonicalID value involves an extra
resolution step

        - GlobalID is needed for verification of polyarchical CanonicalIDs



        - CanonicalID never needs to change

        - Verification of polyarchical CanonicalID values is more efficient

        - GlobalID is not needed for verification


        - XRI authority cannot assert the same identifier everywhere if it

        - Separate Ref verification process is needed to prove cross-domain

        - Consuming applications need to store more than one identifier to
support cross-domain identification




                From: Steven Churchill [mailto:steven.churchill@xdi.org]
        Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 10:46 AM
        To: 'Chasen, Les'; 'Drummond Reed'; xri@lists.oasis-open.org
        Cc: 'Andy Dale'

        Subject: RE: [xri] CID changes in wd11

        Les is taking the correct position in this debate.

        XRI Resolution has long supported an important identity model where
an XRI authority's identity can be distinguished by its CanonicalID. For
example, if resolving an XRI produces a (verifiable) CanonicalID, then, as
an XRI resolution client, I can treat that XRI as a synonym to a unique XRI
authority-a unique record in the global database that Les describes below. I
like to think of this database as a hierarchical graph, but these are really
two legitimate ways of talking about the same identity model. Each record in
Les' database is just a node in my graph. In both cases, these records/nodes
can be thought of as "XRI authorities", and in both cases the absolute
identity of this XRI authority-that characteristic which distinguishes it
from all other XRI authorities-is its CanonicalID.

        Given this basic identity model, any resolution that produces a
different verifiable CanonicalID simply addresses a different authority.
This is by definition of the model. (It is the same way that in a relational
model, a different PK must address a different record.) Say I resolve a
given XRI with a given set of input parameters and it produces a verifiable
CID. Now say I resolve it a minute later with the same set of input
parameters and it produces another verifiable CID. This scenario can and
does occur-especially in the face of Ref processing and people provisioning
their SEPs. For example, I can (right now) simply add an SEP to
@ootao*steve's authority, and then the same resolution call a minute later
will return a different verifiable CID. So, indeed, a client can get back a
different XRI authority when making two consecutive (equivalent) resolution
calls. But this is all fine and good because it is the way that we designed
Ref processing (a long, long time ago.) Given this behavior, the
(CanonicalID) identity model is still sound, because, by definition, the
second resolution call simply returns a different XRI authority.

        As for the CanonicalID being optional, <CanonicalID> is simply an
element in the XML metadata that one XRI authority uses to describe another.
The first authority can choose to use it or not. If it does not use it, then
a Resolution client obviously cannot use the element to distinguish
authorities. No harm no foul. As for immutability: if resolving two XRIs
produce to different verifiable CanonicalIDs then, by definition of the
model, they address different authorities-two different records in Les'
global database.

        I really respect and appreciate Les' effort to protect these
fundamentals. The introduction of GlobalID is a giant step in the wrong
direction. It is an attempt to define a more complicated identity model in
the interest of solving a newly introduced use case. If that use case is
indeed important (which I doubt) then it should be solved within the
existing model-not by trying to define a new one.

        ~ Steve

        PS: For the typical disclaimer, I need to point out that XRI
resolution supports many identity models, and resolution clients may not
care at all about using a CanonicalID in the fashion described above.


                From: Chasen, Les [mailto: les.chasen@neustar.biz]
        Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 12:16 AM
        To: Drummond Reed; xri@lists.oasis-open.org
        Subject: RE: [xri] CID changes in wd11

        Hi Drummond,

        Welcome back hope you had a nice vacation.

        Yes CID has always been optional and we cannot do anymore than
recommend that it be persistent.  We have also never actually spelled out
that it cannot change.  However, the implication has always been there that
it is immutable.  That is until the introduction of globalId and the
specification, for the first time, stating that CID is editable.  I think
this is a huge architectural mistake given where we are in the life of XRI.
We have a base of applications out there, at our insistence, using CID as a
persistent key.  It is too late to change that now.

        I therefore propose that we take CID back to where it was in WD10
and add extra text to codify that it should be left immutable.  Personally I
would make it a MUST requirement but I recognize for the same reason that it
is an optional field and persistence is a recommendation we cannot really
require that it MUST be immutable.  So a SHOULD be immutable is fine.

        contact: =les < http://xri.net/=les>

        voice : =les/(+phone) <http://xri.net/=les/%28+phone%29>

        chat: =les/skype/chat < http://xri.net/=les/skype/chat>

        pibb me  =les/+pibb <http://xri.net/=les/+pibb>


                From: Drummond Reed [mailto:drummond.reed@cordance.net]
        Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 1:37 AM
        To: Chasen, Les; xri@lists.oasis-open.org
        Subject: RE: [xri] CID changes in wd11


        I have just returned from vacation and am still catching up on email
and the minutes of the meetings while I was gone. But regarding your point
about CIDs, here's some initial thoughts:

        1) First, CanonicalID, like all synonym elements, has always been
optional. There's no requirement than an XRD MUST assert an CanonicalID.
It's RECOMMENDED, but for obvious reasons it's not REQUIRED at the spec
level because some users of XRDS architecture don't need CanonicalIDs at

        2) Second, there is no requirement that a CanonicalID value be
persistent. Again, it's RECOMMENDED, but not REQUIRED, as some authorities
don't either want or need persistent identifiers.

        So my first point is that as much as it would be nice for all XRDs
to: a) have a CanonicalID value, and b) make it a persistent identifier that
never changes, we have never (in WD10 or any earlier draft) required for
either to be true. An authority has always been able to assert any
CanonicalID value they want, and change it anytime they want. The only
change from WD10 to WD11 is that the cardinality of CanonicalID went from
zero-or-more to zero-or-one.

        Secondly, the main purpose of XRI synonym architecture is to model
the real world in which a resource may have any number of identifiers
assigned to it by any number of authorities. Each of these identifiers may
be either reassignable or persistent. WD11 is the first draft in which we
have, in section 11 and specifically in Table 23 (page 60 of the PDF), fully
captured the semantics necessary for an authority to assert the set of
identifiers it uses to identify a resource in such a manner that client
applications have all the metadata they need to understand how to consume
those identifiers to maintain a reference to the resource.

        Your specific concern is that client applications be able to know
which identifier they can use as a persistent global foreign key for a
resource. Table 23 explains that of the five synonym elements available,
only three fit the requirements of a global foreign key: CanonicalID,
GlobalID, and Ref. LocalID and Backref do not meet the requirements because:

        * LocalID is relative and not absolute.

        * Backref is an assertion that another authority is referencing the
synonyms in the current XRD to identify the resource.

        However the other three - CanonicalID, GlobalID, and Ref -- *all*
can meet the requirements of global foreign keys for a resource. This begs
the question: why have three XRD synonym elements that can all serve as
global foreign keys?

        Table 23 provides the answer. GlobalID and Ref cleanly separate
global keys for a resource into two categories for trust purposes:

        1) Category #1 - GlobalIDs - are hierachical identifiers that are
assigned by the authority for the XRD and thus can be verified

        2) Category #2 - Refs - are polyarchical identifiers that are
assigned by authorities OTHER than the authority for the XRD and which thus
must be verified polyarchically, i.e., by confirming the corresponding

        Given that between these two categories, we've covered 100% of the
use cases (to the best of my knowledge), what then is the purpose of the
CanonicalID element? Why do we even need it?

        The answer is that, because an authority can assert any number of
GlobalIDs or Refs for a resource (the use cases for asserting multiple
GlobalIDs are pretty weak but the use cases for asserting multiple Refs can
be very strong), the additional value of the CanonicalID element is that it
gives XRD authorities a way to assert which ONE of these multiple global
foreign keys the authority RECOMMENDS client applications use to maintain a
reference to the resource.

        So the net net is that the value(s) of the GlobalID (zero-or-more),
Ref (zero-or-more), and the CanonicalID (zero-or-one) elements are all
absolute identifiers that can serve as global foreign keys for a resource.
All the element tag tells you about these identifiers is:

        * Was it assigned by the authority for the XRD (GlobalID)?

        * Was it NOT assigned by the authority for the XRD (Ref)?

        * Of all the options, is it the recommended global foreign key for
the resource (CanonicalID)?

        This reveals the precise reason that the value of a CanonicalID
element in an XRD could change over time: the parent authority learns that
the recommended global foreign key for a resource is different than the one
the parent authority has heretofore been recommending. For example, a parent
authority could initially publish:






<Ref> https://example.com/example/resource#1234 </Ref>




        But the resource identified by these three synonyms may lose control
over the domain name " example.com". In this case, even though
https://example.com/example/resource#1234 is a persistent identifier (see
below), the authority may decide that at that point it is better to
recommend a different persistent identifier as the CanonicalID. Thus the XRD
could change to:






<Ref> https://example.com/example/resource#1234 </Ref>




        Note that the identifier " https://example.com/example/resource#1234"
did NOT go away as a persistent global foreign key for the resource. It's
still there as a Ref, just as it was in the first example. The only change
is that the CanonicalID now points to a different global foreign key as the
preferred one.

        Again note that NONE of the XRI synonym elements has the semantics
that the identifier value MUST be persistent (not in WD11, WD10, or any
earlier draft). The way for a consuming application to tell whether the
identifier is asserted as persistent is to check for either XRI persistence
semantics (! syntax for i-numbers) or URI persistence semantics (urn: or
other persistent URI schemes).


        I hope this helps. Clearly this issue is deep enough that it can
benefit more from direct phone or f2f discussion than from email. I nominate
it for the agenda for this week's TC call, but in the meantime feel free to
call me if you want to discuss further.



                From: Chasen, Les [mailto:les.chasen@neustar.biz]
        Sent: Monday, August 13, 2007 3:16 PM
        To: xri@lists.oasis-open.org
        Subject: [xri] CID changes in wd11

        Hi all -

        After reviewing the latest wd11 I have one major concern.  This
version allows a CID to be changed after it is already set.   I believe that
this is a big mistake.  The CID is the persistent identifier for the queried
XRD.  We need to ensure that once an XRD has a CID that that CID identifies
that XRD forever.

        I have always thought of the CID as a primary key to the global
database we have created with XRI resolution.  Client applications have been
and are being written that depend on the value of this primary key for the
mapping of an identity described by an XRDS to their internal account
structure.  If we allow this primary key to be changed we have caused a
major data integrity problem.

        I propose that the definition of CID not only revert back to the
WD10 definition but we also more strongly codify that a CID once set should
never be changed.



        contact: =les < http://xri.net/=les>

        voice : =les/(+phone) < http://xri.net/=les/%28+phone%29>

        chat: =les/skype/chat < http://xri.net/=les/skype/chat>

        pibb me  =les/+pibb < http://xri.net/=les/+pibb>

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