RFC 5242 and IDNA

Vint Cerf vint at google.com
Wed Jul 9 17:47:27 CEST 2008

I have no reason to overrule your position on the references to rfc 5242. Vint

----- Original Message -----
From: idna-update-bounces at alvestrand.no <idna-update-bounces at alvestrand.no>
To: idna-update at alvestrand.no <idna-update at alvestrand.no>
Sent: Wed Jul 09 06:32:34 2008
Subject: RFC 5242 and IDNA


Harald and I, with help from a few others, constructed what
became RFC 5242 during and shortly after the last IETF, largely
to relieve some of the tensions of that meeting.

I learned long ago to not try to explain jokes, but it seems
necessary to explain to people that it was and is a satire on
some suggestions we have heard for character sets.  I, at least,
have been disappointed that some of the more subtle parts of the
joke have apparently not even been noticed, but so it goes.

I do suggest that, if the satire has any point other than humor,
it is to illustrate that the design of a character coding system
that uses completely consistent and unambiguous rules and that
works easily and well for comparison purposes is devilishly
difficult, if it is even possible (which I doubt).  That
demonstration is ultimately supportive of Unicode.  I have said
many times (in different ways and in more serious contexts)
that, while it is possible to find characteristics of Unicode to
which to object and individual decisions to debate at length,
the matter ultimately comes down to tradeoffs.  There is
considerable accumulated evidence by now that, while a different
set of tradeoff decisions would yield a different result, there
is no reason to believe that such decisions would yield a
_better_ overall result than Unicode, only a different one.

But, as far as 5242 is concerned, it is humor and satire.   I'm
going to assume, in interpreting suggestions about changes to,
or possible text for, the IDNA2008 documents I'm working on,
that any comment that references 5242, suggests use of 5242 as
the basis for a comment or reference, etc., is itself intended
as humor (or as a waste of time).   I may be amused by such
messages (or not) but will, as far as tracking substantive
requests for document changes are concerned, discard them
without comment.

Vint can, of course, overrule this position if he thinks that


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