Allow processors to interpret Atom attributes as being within the Atom namespace.
The purpose is to provide global names to the relations expressed by the attributes.
"Global naming leads to global network effects." http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-webarch-20041215/#identification
Atom attributes are not in a namespace, which in practice is likely to cause problems with interpretation of Atom documents by systems (such as RDF) which require absolutely qualified terms.
To be inserted:
Section 2. Atom Documents Atom consumers MAY interpret unprefixed attribute names in elements from the Atom namespace as if they were in the Atom namespace. However, Atom producers MUST NOT add a namespace prefix to attributes defined by the Atom format specification.
A lot of the critical response to this Pace has been based on the assumption that it is about changes to the Atom syntax. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Within Atom format it will remain mandatory that documents are produced with no-namespace attributes. This Pace is about the model.
Resources on the Web are generally given URIs. With RDF, it has been found useful to also assign URIs to relations, so they too are uniformly are uniquely defined. As it stands, most of the constructs and relations within Atom already have URIs - the element names are namespace-qualified. This isn't the case for the attributes. By saying that the no-namespace attributes can be interpreted as having names in the Atom namespace gives them URIs.
As well as simplifying the RDF model the approach described in this Pace should also be useful for reusing Atom attributes in extensions.