REXX, SPF, Internet drafts


RFC 1849

The famous son-of-1036 Internet Draft about the Netnews article format was published as historic

  • RFC 1849: "Son of 1036": News Article Format and Transmission

Son-of-1036 (also known as 1036bis) was the first Internet Draft I've ever seen 15 years ago. Admittedly I didn't know the exact difference between draft and RFC at this time, let alone the various RFC series and status flags.

RFC 1849 was immediately obsoleted by the work of the IETF USEFOR WG:

Folks interested in Usenet & Netnews can be rather stubborn, one of the reasons why this WG needed more than a decade to finish its work (presumably a new IETF record). Thanks to Charles Lindsey, Russ Allberry, Ken Murchinson, Henry Spencer, Alexey Melnikov, Harald Alvestrand, Lisa Dusseault, and many other contributors on the USEFOR mailing list.

Thanks also to anybody helping to publish…

  • RFC 5538: The 'news' and 'nntp' URI Schemes

… while I was offline for more than two years. That this RFC took so long was clearly my fault. Anonymous credits I coludn't add in this RFC: The team triggered my interest in an Internet Draft by A. Gilman about news:, nntp:, and snews: URLs. Later Paul Hoffman started the work to obsolete all old URL schemes in RFC 1738 by new RFCs based on the Internet Standard for URLs (STD 66, RFC 3986).

There are still some schemes in RFC 1738 not yet obsoleted by fresh RFCs, notably file:. Maybe Martin Dürst could finish his work on the awfully complex mailto: scheme, I have not yet checked this. If you find no old URL scheme to work on try dict:.


Charles Lindsey said...

Well welcome back to the World! But is it permitted to ask where you have been hiding? We spent a lot of effort trying to contact you before we finally forced RFC 5538 out of the door as best we could.

Frank said...

After some issues with my ISP I let them terminate my account and staid offline... :-|

Thanks for your efforts with this memo, but I fear you missed the (only) point with my ugly ABNF:

The clean Netnews ABNF just is ugly when it is translated to STD 66 URIs, because some characters MUST be percent-encoded -- notably square brackets in domain literals and question marks in NNTP wildmats.

OTOH the memo is mainly for browser developers, and they should get this point despite of an oversimplified ABNF.

notr said...

Man, I wish I'd known where to look all these years for discussion of improvements to the nntp: and news: schemes. I just stumbled on mention of RFC 5538 in searching, and I'm left with a couple of "why not" questions:

Why not just merge the two schemes, since some newsreaders already do anyway and the syntax is unambiguous?

Why not allow the newsgroup to be specified along with the message-ID, so the newsreader can display a crosspost in the desired context?

frank said...

The 2nd question is simple: You don't need the newsgroup(s) in the URL for a given message-ID, because you find this info in the header of the NetNews article.

Your 1st question was the original idea of the old Gilman draft, but unfortunately that can result in syntax ambiguities.

The RFC sticks to what is widely supported today, or at least expected to be supported in the future based on the new NNTP RFC -- I still think that the "wildmat" stuff is interesting, but not very useful in URLs. In practice the news: scheme is now good enough, and nntp: could be deprecated.

notr said...

But a crossposted article may have different sets of followups or references in different newsgroups. That's why it can be desirable to specify in which newsgroup to display the article.

notr said...

What am I missing about the syntax that would be ambiguous? "newsgroups" or "group" is already distinguished from "msg-ID-core" by the presence of "@"; "article-number" and "msg-ID-core" would be distinguished the same way, no?

frank said...

Bad news (pun), I don't recall the details why simply saying that news: and nntp: are identical doesn't work. If this RFC is ever promoted to "draft standard" there should be a new appendix explaining this point.

Good news, I can answer your other question without digging through mailing list archives: If anything in an article is different, it is no X-post with one Message-ID, but a "multi-post" with different Message-IDs. The news: and nntp: URI schemes do nothing for "multi-posts".

In theory you could use more than one URL for almost identical (same content, different header) "multi-posts", but in practice it won't happen, nobody uses "multi-posts".

Maybe your user agent does something smart with X-Posts in different contexts. Check the raw article (complete header), it should be exactly identical for X-Posts.


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