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Re: Binary vs. ASCII for certificates

At 21:51 2/24/96, Ron Rivest wrote:

>(2) I agree that for public-key operations, the extra cost of parsing
>    an ASCII-formatted certificate is probably negligible, compared to
>    the cost of performing the associated public-key operations.

Good point, but when I push ASCII encoding, I'm assuming that it's for free.

For example, I did an application a few months ago in which X.509 certs
were moved as ASCII [radix64 encoded].  The application itself forced
ASCII encoding.  So, the machinery to move characters and check for tags
was already employed.  In an application like that, the ASCII formatting
is essentially free.  One need only gather the right range of bytes
to send to hash-and-verify.  In my case, the ASN.1 parsing of X.509
was purely additional work, after the ASCII parsing and radix64 decoding.

If we had a communication mechanism which pushed straight binary streams,
I wouldn't suggest ASCII encodings so strongly.

|Carl M. Ellison          cme@cybercash.com   http://www.clark.net/pub/cme |
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