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Re: Some -15 comments

2005-11-14 16:52:47

Jon writes, quoting David:
We discussed a change to (Notation Data) on the list to

     First octet: 0x80 = human-readable. This note value is text, a
                         note from one person to another, and need
                         not have meaning to software.
     First octet: 0x80 = human-readable. This note value is text.

Any way that can go in?  I'm perfectly happy to get an "I Told You So"
if someone is confused :)

I remember the discussion, I just don't remember the agreement. Such  
is the way with rough consensus.

Does it matter one way or the other? I admit to being confused as to  
why it matters. Enlighten me, please.

What is the functional purpose of this flag?  The meaning of the notation
is going to come from its name field.  The flag is somewhat superfluous.

I'd like to use the flag as a hint to packet-dumping software: if the
human-readable flag is set, it is reasonable to dump the notation body
as text.  If it is not set, it should be dumped in hex.

David's second version better expresses this, IMO.  By just saying
that the note value is text, that means it is reasonable to print it
if desired.  Even software which doesn't understand the meaning of the
notation could print it, and it would be readable.

The current wording carries much more baggage which IMO is not accurate.
We might want to set the human-readable flag on notation packets which
are not primarily meant as notes from one person to another.

Another difference arises if the subpacket critical bit is set along with
the human-readable flag.  With the current wording it might appear that an
implementation's responsibilities are met if it somehow causes the text
of the notation packet to be displayed to the user, even if it does not
recognize the notation type.  I think that would be a serious mistake.
The critical bit should require that the notation type be recognized
and handled, in order for the signature to be considered valid.

PGP Corporation added the preferred-email-encoding self-signature notation
packet, and it has the human-readable flag set.  This is not a note from
one person to another, rather it is intended solely to be handled by
the software.  However it is human readable and if the key is displayed
in some detailed way it would be reasonable for the software to print
the contents of the notation packet.

Hal Finney

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