Mappings - some examples

Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Tue Dec 1 21:02:34 CET 2009

I think this is somewhat like the TRANSITIONAL strategy that I suggested.
The intermediate browser feature you suggest wouldn't work, however.

A UI would be really ugly in practice. The venders have found that simple
icons don't alert people - what you have to do is go to a special
intermediate page with strong warnings, and have a Continue and Back button.

If you are on an old browser, of course, you'd still go to 'ss'.

And it won't work with search engines (we don't have little men in our
servers at Google who can decide what's real and what's not.

And it won't work for email (without some really ugly bounceback).


On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 06:45, Georg Ochsner <g.ochsner at>wrote:

> Hello Mark,
> what about a fourth scenario?
> 1. IDNA2008 clearly says that ß is PVALID an shall not be mapped to ss
> anymore.
> 2. Browsers get an additional feature. It informs users when typing a
> hostname with ß that previously they would have been redirected to the ss
> sibling. And that they now need to use ss in order to get to the old
> destination.
3. Registries wait until IDNA2008 is spread, let’s say more widely than
> IDNA2003 is until now. (That is 6 years and with still xx% IE6s out there)
> 4. Registries inform the registrants and offer a grandfathering
> registration (like the .mx registry recently did) that allows all
> registrants of domain names with ss to register the ß sibling if they like.
> 5. Registration is opened to the public and people realize that "machines"
> now distinguish ß from ss like humans do.
> Please add more useful steps between 1. and 5. :-)
> Best regards
> Georg
> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: mark.edward.davis at [mailto:mark.edward.davis at] Im
> Auftrag von Mark Davis ?
> Gesendet: Montag, 30. November 2009 19:01
> An: Georg Ochsner
> Cc: Alexander Mayrhofer; Patrik Fältström; Michael Everson; IDNA update
> work; Andreas Stötzner
> Betreff: Re: Mappings - some examples
> Even for English, IDNA does not permit all valid words: "Joe's Bar" will
> not work, because of both the space and the apostrophe and "Joe'sBar"
> because of the apostrophe. IDNA2008 explicitly does not permit all sequences
> that would be valid words in all languages; nor could it do otherwise.
> There are two compatibility problems:
> 1. Existing web pages and other documents that contain ß and expect to go
> to location X and not Y.
> 2. There is still an existing body of billions of browsers that will take
> years to disappear (as Erik points out, something like 20% of browsers are
> still IE6).
> Let's suppose that IDNA2008 allows ß, and that the newer browsers use it
> (and not a compatibility scheme like
> The only real purpose to allowing ß is so that you can distinguish from ss.
> But what happens when Herr Stosser gets and Herr Stoßer gets
> stoß <>?
> Initially, 100% of all browsers will go to the ss form. Nobody will go to
> Stoßer's site; his email won't work, etc.: href="stoß<>"
> goes directly to "". Even on Stoßer's site, absolute intrapage
> links will go to the 'wrong' place. After a while, some newer browsers will
> take page href="stoß <>" and go to stoß<>,
> while all the other browsers will go to href="". The same goes
> for email. So access to all of those links (and mail, etc.) will be
> unreliable, and the subject of security and compatibility problems. As a
> result, practically, people would be unable to use href="stoß<>"
> in their web pages or in email until essentially all existing browsers were
> supplanted, which will be maybe 5 years down the line. And during that time,
> these will also bollux up all the search engines, since indexing assumes
> that links don't have ambiguous targets.
> And that assumes that nobody does use a compatibility mechanism. Another,
> more likely, alternative based on our conversations with vendors is that
> people disregard that part of IDNA2008, and use a compatibility mechanism
> like; that allows the browsers, emailers,
> search engines and others to keep functioning correctly - there is no
> transition. The downside is that you can't register both and
> stoß <>. So of the thousand Herr Stoßers, instead of
> one of them getting that name, none of them do; it's like "Joe'sBar". And,
> of course, there is the disadvantage of having UTS46 have to exist in the
> first place.
> The third alternative is the really awful one: the "let a thousand flowers
> bloom" scenario. In this scenario, there is no single compatibility
> mechanism like; instead, we get different
> variants from different vendors, and the situation is chaotic. That is the
> scenario that the Unicode consortium's members are really concerned with.
> While the ideal solution would be an IDNA2008 that maintained compatibility
> with IDNA2003, the second best solution is only one compatibility mechanism;
> not dozens.
> Mark
> On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 07:55, Georg Ochsner <g.ochsner at>
> wrote:
> > -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> > Von: idna-update-bounces at [mailto:idna-update-
> > bounces at] Im Auftrag von Alexander Mayrhofer
> > Gesendet: Montag, 30. November 2009 15:57
> > > I would though be more "on your side" if the number of domain
> > > names that contained ß where say 100 times higher than today
> > > in published documents. Because then people would be TOLD to
> > > type in something (ß) that mapped to something else (ss) that
> > > was registered. That, I claim, is not the case. At least not
> > > "heavily".
> >
> > I understand that. And i'm saying that the potential of around 500
> > useful "ß" registrations (based on looking through our inventory of 900k
> > domains) is by far not worth the effort.
> In several talks with people from the Austrian registry I've now heard this
> argument. But I think this decision should not be made depending on
> commercial factors. IDNA is in my eyes not a question of return on
> investment but about the native use of language in domain names around the
> globe. Once more, the Austrian registry can still refuse to have sharp s
> registered within their namespace, but maybe other registries pay more
> attention to the language aspect than to commercial calculations.
> Best regards
> Georg
> _______________________________________________
> Idna-update mailing list
> Idna-update at
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the Idna-update mailing list