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Re: Comments on Debian Tutorial, patches.

On Sun, 14 Feb 1999 19:16:39 +0200, Tapio Lehtonen <tale@iki.fi> said:
> On Sun, Feb 14, 1999 at 11:55:53AM -0500, Adam Di Carlo wrote:
>> Yes; it's called URNs.

> What are those?

URNs provide indirection (i.e., a "layer") between a resource name,
i.e., "Developer's Reference, Section 'How to do an NMU'", and the
location of that resource.

I see URNs being very interesting to Debian.  Supposing a user had a
local documentation server (i.e., Apache running on a home box), and
they get the link to the above URN, the resolution system could
decide, based on whether the developers-reference package is
installed, whether to either use a local URL or to go to the Debian
Website.  In fact, the local sysadmin could also specify as a
preference which *mirror* of the Debian website to use.  The Debian
Website itself could provide CGI to determine the physical location of
the HTML pages on the site, so that if we shuffle things around, links
wouldn't break (cf. www.purl.org for an example).

With a little thought, planning, and (*ew*) ECMAScript, we could even
support httpd-less stations, but it would rule out lynx.  Perhaps flat
defaults (i.e., static HTML pages displaying alternative locations the
user could click on) could be provided for httpd-less stations as

Imagine how powerful this could be if we (a) got a scheme worked out
with the LDP, (b) had Debian and LDP URN servers going in well known,
robust locations, (c) provided a package users could install for local
URN support, which would be updated regularly, and (d) hack
debiandoc-sgml, and sgml-tools to support this system.

It's a lot of work but I think this is where we should be going.

> As for URLs, there is a problem with the links. If they are
> relative, they should be OK provided that the whole document tree is
> moved in one piece. For absolute links, the name of the link must be
> deciced, and it should not change.

I do not think it is acceptable, in the long run, to assume the entire
DDP tree is installed.  For instance, this would rule out local
browsing in /usr/doc/.  I think this might be an acceptable short-term
solution (i.e., hardwire www.debian.org links in actual packaged DDP
documents), even if it is suboptimal.  So long as we engineer this
such that it's pretty easy to transition to a URN scheme later, I
could support it.

.....Adam Di Carlo....adam@onShore.com.....<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>

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