Hasty attempt to create an IDN WG (Was: WG Review: Internationalized Domain Name (idn)

Stephane Bortzmeyer bortzmeyer at nic.fr
Mon Mar 3 14:38:11 CET 2008

On Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 09:57:35AM -0800,
 The IESG <iesg at ietf.org> wrote 
 a message of 108 lines which said:

> Please send your comments to the IESG mailing list (iesg at ietf.org)
> by March 4, 2008.

That's one week only, for the charter of a group which may change an
important Standards Track format.

> These documents were tied to Unicode version 3.2 and an update to
> the current version (5.x) is required to accommodate additional
> scripts.

That's certainly the most consensual reason to update IDN. Scripts
like Tifinagh (in wide use today in North Africa) were introduced only
in Unicode 5. But the rest of the charter is independant from this
laudable goal and much more questionable.

> In addition, experience has shown a number of real or perceived
> defects or inadequacies with the protocol.

Hold on. Is the WG really supposed to work on "perceived" defects?
Either these defects are real or they are not. If they are not real,
for instance, if they are FUD (this is quite common in the IDN arena),
they should *not* be addressed by the WG.

> - Separate requirements for valid IDNs at registration time, vs. at
> resolution time

This means casting in stone one specific approach, and a dangerous
one. If the list of valid characters is used at registration time,
later changes are easy because they are concentrated in the registry
software. But if the resolvers start to have a list of valid
characters, it will be impossible to change. (Upgrading all the
resolvers take a lot of time.) Characters which were excluded will, in
practice, never be allowed again. And the discussions on the existing
idna-update list show that the decision of exclusion is very difficult
and quite arbitrary.

The charter must not include such a rule.

> Goals and milestones:
> Mar 08: WG Last Call for Overview/Rationale document

The milestones also are an attempt to avoid any real discussion. We
are already in March, the group does not exist and it would hold a
Last Call in the next weeks? That's not serious.
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