Eric Brunner-Williams ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net
Thu Dec 3 16:43:01 CET 2009

Erik van der Poel wrote:
> If some part of the United States government mandated that we
> distinguish polish.com from Polish.com, we would politely explain that
> it is too late to make such a change to the Internet.

To date, the USG's less than informed mandate of possible relevance is 
that all authoritative nameservers for .us, and for all SLDs using the 
.us namespace, be located within the territorial jurisdiction of the US.

I didn't like it when I wrote the .us app, I don't like it now, and I 
don't like the assumption that bad things (network partition) can only 
happen to islands in the Caribbean or ...

But there are bigger contract management problems with .us than the 
constraints placed on nameserver location, IMO. If you can come up 
with a dumber USG DNS factoid, please share.

> If some part of the Chinese government mandated that we adopt the new
> normalizations of the Han characters that changed after Unicode 3.2,
> we might find that the impact there is much smaller, and be willing to
> go along with it.

The issues with this particular approach to i18n work for CJKV may be 
a bit more profound that your example, but I'll let that pass.

> The problem with Eszett and Final Sigma appears to be that some of the
> WG participants believe that it is too late to make changes to those
> characters.
>>> the IETF makes decisions by rough consensus and running code.
>> Isn't that the second half of a credo that starts with, "We do not worry
>> about presidents and kings"?
> It is a very old credo, and some IETF participants may no longer
> adhere to some parts of it.
> Page 543 of http://ietf.org/proceedings/prior29/IETF24.pdf
> Dave Clark, 1992
> We reject: kings, presidents and voting.
> We believe in: rough consensus and running code.

Another old credo is that violating the Sherman or Clayton Acts is 
avoidable, and agreements between vendors which might rise to the 
level of meeting anticompetitive tests are immunized by being made 
through "open standards". That brought PROVREG into being, and EPP. 
This is not a unique instance, see HTTP, etc. It is why we're here, 
dancing with the corpse of a vendor's 2001 proprietary row-based ASCII 
compatible encoding implementation of "IDN", decades after i18n work 
began by system implementors.

Restated, the IETF may serve to protect market share more than any 
other interest, and lack of awareness of either credo has costs.

Generally meaningless statements fail to respond to actual problems, 
one of which, at hand, is how to make resource identifiers available 
to vast numbers of users who are not early adopters, and therefore 
have the privilege of having code recognized as "running", or be 
within the body which forms "rough consensus".


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