AW: AW: AW: sharp s (Eszett)

Kenneth Whistler kenw at
Wed Mar 12 02:13:51 CET 2008

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Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 18:09:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kenneth Whistler <kenw at>
Subject: Re: AW: AW: AW: sharp s (Eszett)
To: g.ochsner at
Cc: idne-update at, kenw at
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Georg Ochsner asked:

> > Von: Mark Davis
> > Gesendet: Dienstag, 11. März 2008 20:12
> > 2. Case insensitivity. If we make this exception, then
> > uppercasing a domain name causes it to go to adifferent 
> > place. Even if there were no compatibility issue, there
> > is still the issue of whether it is more important to 
> > have ß or to have case-insensitivity.
> Can you explain for which applications in particular the 
> case-insensitivity for domain names is essential, and why?

Well others may have a more informed opinion, but it seems
to me that it would be just about all of them, since
traditionally (not even speaking of IDN's) domain names
have always been case-insensitive. So:

and even

all ought to resolve to the same domain.

> Can such applications make use of the new uppercase sharp S 
> in Unicode 5.1?

No, because its case mapping will necessarily be even more
defective than that for the existing lowercase sharp S.
All the addition of uppercase sharp S does is add one
more element to the case folding equivalence class:
{ß, capital-ß, ss, SS}. It does not (and cannot) create
new, clean case pairs.

The point that (I think) Mark was trying to make is that
you have *existing* situations such as the following.

There is a German bedding and furniture company called
Maßlos. They have a website at Right now,
if you type "masslos" or "MASSLOS" or "maßlos" or "MAßLOS"
into almost any browser, those strings will all end up taking
you to the intended place, i.e.

If IDNAbis introduces a forced distinction for ß from ss,
then any application adapting IDN's will resolve *differently*
for "maßlos" and "masslos", and the "maßlos" string will
end up *not* resolving to the domain currently owned by
Maßlos. This creates trouble for them, since they may end
up having to acquire a new domain and redirecting. And/or it
may create trouble for German registries, which would have
to deal with a new situation. It general it seems to me it
would be a world of hurt for any existing German domain
name holder with an interest in ß.

And I think that is why Mark wants to make sure that we
have DE-NIC and all the other German stakeholders explicitly
on board for any change that would potentially have these
kinds of impacts for German domain names.


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