The TRANSITIONAL proposal (was: The real issue: interopability, and a proposal)

Vint Cerf vint at
Tue Dec 1 20:26:08 CET 2009

we had some states like this in the early stages of jan 2007: Maybe- 
Yes and Maybe-No

the problem was how to treat them for protocol purposes. both of them  
appeared to me to have the property: you can't register them and you  
should not look them up.

but I guess it left the door open to changing later.


On Dec 1, 2009, at 1:15 PM, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 01, 2009 at 09:49:10AM -0800, Mark Davis ? wrote:
>> When reading some of the transition proposals, one approach  
>> occurred to me.
>> What if we have a new status for the 4 characters: TRANSITIONAL?
> […]
>> That will cause currently valid URLs to fail, but that is far  
>> better than
>> having them have ambiguous targets. This way we get to the long- 
>> term goal of
>> having these characters be PVALID, without having the disruption  
>> during the
>> interim.
> I like this distinction between "failure incompatibility" and
> "ambiguous incompatibility": it strikes right at the heart of the
> issue.
> If the proposal were to go ahead (i.e. we were to add a TRANSITIONAL
> status), then it solves a few problems:
>    1.  The rest of the (less-controversial) changes can go ahead.
>    2.  The problem is not "baked in" for all time (i.e. we signal now
>    that a change will be coming).
>    3.  We get some time perhaps to invent a way to deal with the
>    transitional characters.
>    4.  We get a new mechanism by which we can solve a future problem
>    of this sort were one, heavent forfend, to show up.
> So I think this could be a fruitful direction.  My only hesitation is
> the possibility that we'd end up in exactly the same position in a few
> years, because someone decided to do fancy client-based mapping in an
> effort to produce backward compatibility with IDNA2003.  Would we have
> the will at that point to say, "Too bad, we told them not to do that"?
> A
> -- 
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at
> Shinkuro, Inc.
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