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From Danny Angus <Danny_An...@slc.co.uk>
Subject James, standards and non-standard behaviour
Date Fri, 07 Jan 2005 09:04:53 GMT

Since this issue has come up (again) this time wrt issue JAMES-344 I
thought I'd post my understanding of the consensus we have reached for
dealing with non-compliant behaviour.
I've also commented the issue.
Please note that this is my personal opinion but I believe that it reflects
the decisions made in every case we've discussed to date, and therefore
represents policy.

The important factor here is that by supporting non-compliance we are
eroding the value of the very standards upon which interoperability relies.
We are in danger of encouraging a situation in which true interoperability
is not only dependant upon clear standard behaviour but also upon
undocumented variance from those same standards.

The James policy for issues of non-compliance tries to tread the fine line
between a pragmatic acceptance of other people's misinterpretation of the
RFC's and an evangelical enforcement of "the letter of the law".

In practice this policy is that certain well argued of cases of
non-compliance which can be *safely* worked around, will be tolerated by

In cases (like JAMES-344 ) where variance from a published standard is
required it is desirable that this functionality is disabled by default,
well documented, and only enabled by explicit configuration.

In cases where the behaviour is not within the scope of any standard which
James claims to support (such as behaviour which is a defacto standard or
proposed RFC but not yet subject of an RFC in standards track) it is
acceptable to implement the behaviour so long as it is adequately
documented and users can be clear about what to expect from James.


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