Standards Process

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at
Fri Dec 4 23:33:16 CET 2009

> (Maybe I'm pushing too hard and should stay out of this conflict
> between IETF and Unicode. Maybe I should go back to
> reverse-engineering the browsers and see what actually happens in the
> real world. I am very, very tired of this WG process.)

Regarding the "conflict" between IETF and Unicode, I'm not particularly vested in either organization.  I personally don't have the long pedigree in either group that some members have :)  I find territorial behavior by any standards organization a bit obnoxious.  There are times when one group may do one thing well, and another group does another.  (The IETF and W3C are another case of standards that work well together).

There's a gray area when standards reach toward another's domain, and standards bodies should recognize when to ask for help instead of doing it all themselves.  Similarly, if a group finds themselves entering a new domain, a knowledgable standards body could offer assistance with their domain expertise.

I think IETF does networking pretty well, and Unicode knows about the character data and has linguistic expertise, so I think that the current division between the IDNA protocols and the TR46 mappings is actually a pretty good split, though toes were stepped on in the process.  In fact there would seem to be advantages, since if the UTC creates a Unicode 6, then the UTR46 mappings could be updated at the same time, instead of spinning off an IETF WG and possibly delaying the update.  Certainly the step toward using Unicode characters properties instead of trying to redo the character work is a good one.


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