AW: sharp s (Eszett)

Georg Ochsner g.ochsner at
Wed Mar 12 09:37:56 CET 2008

> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: Cary Karp
> Gesendet: Mittwoch, 12. März 2008 09:07
> Quoting Ken Whistler:
> > 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.
> "German registries" can be established on any level of the DNS and can
> as easily be rooted in generic TLDs as they can in national TLDs.
> (There are currently well over 1,000,000 second-level IDNs registered
> in the gTLD name space, and in can be assumed that many of them include
> IDNs on lower levels.) The holders of ss-names who would have preferred
> to register ß-names, had it been possible under IDNA2003, do not need to
> be injured if the latter alternative were now to be introduced.

I totally agree and would like to add, that this is not a special issue of the sharp s but of IDNs in general. The same arguments applied with the Umlauts ä, ö and ü and I guess also in many other foreign charsets. 

The point is this. IDNA gives people back the freedom of using their native language to reach computers via domains, it creates more possibilities not less! You would not have the incompatibility problem, if the mapping from sharp s to "ss" was not decided in 2003. But IDNs definitely are and will stay a success story. Personally when I will look back in ten years I would rather like to remember that there has been an incompatibility between IDNA2003 and IDNA200x than still missing the sharp s. I think it is still time to make a change because as I said 40% (+-5%) of the German users are still using MSIE6 which doesn't support IDNs.

Best regards

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