Media types for RDF languages N3 and Turtle

Garret Wilson garret at
Mon Dec 31 03:10:08 CET 2007

Just to make the picture a bit darker, I've realized that RFC 2616 for 
HTTP 1.1 is relevant.

The good news: RFC 2616 section 3.7.1 says that, if text/* types are 
sent across HTTP, the CRLF requirement is relaxed and bare CRs and LFs 
are allowed. Good--that's what we wanted to do, anyway.

The bad news: The same section says that if a text/* type is sent across 
HTTP with no charset parameter, it defaults to ISO-8859-1. This is nasty 
stuff, which is in part probably why application/xhtml+xml was chosen 
over text/xhtml+xml, the latter of which would *always* require a 
charset=utf-8 parameter.

This is really heartbreaking. The same concerns appear: are we really 
going to build our future on ISO-8859-1 defaults? Soon no one is going 
to be shipping ISO-8859-1 text across the wire---and of what use will be 
the RFC 2616 default?

Whatever we choose here, I'm sure that Firefox and IE will implement it 


Garret Wilson wrote:
> Sean B. Palmer wrote:
>> Perhaps, as Dan Connolly suggested on IRC, some civil disobedience of
>> RFC 2046 is called for here--as long as we're sure that this won't
>> cause any security or interoperability problems that would make it not
>> worth the effort.
> I would wholeheartedly be in favor of that course, as long as we:
> * thoroughly document what we're doing, explaining why we're doing it;
> * publicize what we're doing; and
> * encourage others to follow suit.
> I don't think waiting for an RFC 2046 replacement would be productive, 
> but I also don't think it's helpful if we do this in some dark, 
> obscure corner. Let's do the Right Thing, yet try to get everyone to 
> follow.
> Garret

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