Browser IDN display policy: opinions sought
J-F C. Morfin
jfc at morfin.org
Mon Dec 19 15:16:06 CET 2011
At 11:42 19/12/2011, Gervase Markham wrote:
>Thank you for your input.
>I would say that the vendor you quote is using sloppy language and it's
>not actually about 'prioritizing English', but your point about
>first-class citizenship is a good one.
No one is prioritizing English. English IS, by mutual convenience,
the Internet language (cf. RFC 3935).
This is why the IETF solution is "internationalization" and not
"multilingualization". Internationalization is a component of
"globalization" together with "localization" and "langtags" and is
embodied in CLDR tools. Internationlization is to make the medium
(here the Internet) language neutral. For that it uses an
International English and ASCII programming to quote Unicoded strings
independently from the actual language these strings correspond to
(identfied by the langtag), including English. These quotes are of
two forms: the real text, i.e. a batch of code points, or an URL that
permit an option indirect access. For good consustency (RFC 1958) the
quotes should use the same script displaying context (UTF-8).
IDNA2008 has organized this to properly work through:
- an Internet technology core,
- and a subsidiary support of languages at the periphery.
In this architecture it happens that the Internet architectural core
happens to currently work in ASCII, but it could work the same in any
other charset, including binary.(what may be the evolution of the
Internet 2.0 architecture).
IDNA2008 however has left two unaddressed issues.
1. to be broadly explained as being an example of the way the end to
end Internet architecture actually (RFC 1958) supports diversity, any
diversity. This support is at the intelligent fringe to fringe layer
set which includes the presentation layer.
The difficulty is that OSI was wrong: the OSI model in uncomplete and
the layer pile must dissociate Network and Subsidiary Network Use
layers. I appealed against the lack of a IAB/IESG disclaimer which
would have prevented the current debate. The response I obtained
clearly indicated that this issue did not belong to the IETF scope,
but that IETF wanted to detail its own needs in this area. This is
why I delayed as much as I could the description of the fringe to
fringe IUI framework. However, the technically illegitimate ICANN
opening to gTLD registration calls for it to be published before January 10.
2. fringe to fringe calls for metadata exchanges: IDNA2008 has not
considered the need to support orthotypography (i.e. script use
variations depending on the meaning). Basically what you say about
second-zone languages also applies to real life English which
actually needs more than the ASCII charset, and obviously to French
as I reported it to the IESG. The management of the fringe to fringe
metadata intercommunications is more complex than the data
intercommunications. It calls for a dedicated channel that has to be
transparent to the existing core technology and common usage. What
Gervase asks for is to be told how this is to work.
>If all registries were are responsible as yours, there would hardly be a
>need for browser restrictions on IDN display at all (perhaps just a
>blacklist of homographs for "." and "/", and that should have been
>achieved by IDNA2008 anyway).
This "registries being responsible" is an wrong interference where we
technicians are judging use, instead of supporting it properly. The
principle of the Internet is that technology is to best support the
user needs and the IETF is to influence those who design, use and
manage the Internet for it to work better. The problem are (1) that
no one ever explained what working "better" means and (2) that some
of us want to unilaterally constrain uses along with their own
understanding of that "better" means, moreover in areas where things
have not been fully defined.
> > IDNs should not be treated as second-class citizens on the Internet.
>I entirely agree. This is why we went for option B - once a registry has
>a responsible policy, their IDNs are treated as first-class citizens
>everywhere (at least, in Firefox). No additional configuration required.
This means that you decide who is a second-zone Registry and treat
their registrants as third-zone netizens. Then the question
unfortunately comes: "Who made you king to decide this?"
>Unfortunately, IDNs are still not treated as first-class citizens. So
>the question is: how do we get from where we are now to a situation
>where they are treated that way?
This is easy as far as you are concerned.
- you treat them as your user application layer is to treat them: as
unique-class Internet Domain Name citizens.
- you demand those who are to take care of the difficulties you
identify to address them properly. They are the IAB and the emerging
IUTF (on the iucg at ietf.org) where this mailing thread belongs since
the WG/IDNAbis is closed, its RFC set is published, and the remaining
points are on the IDNA2008 use side.
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