Proposed Charter for the IDNAbis Working Group

Vint Cerf vint at
Thu Mar 27 18:53:58 CET 2008


it seems to me that what is more important than whether there are  
disagreements among the design team is what the specifications they  
have produced actually say. The basic action in the WG at the outset  
is to obtain broader review of the text of these documents to  
determine whether it is agreed that these specifications represent an  
improvement in framework and formulation for IDNs than the earlier  
effort. what I would have thought is of more interest is the text of  
the documents and less the text of the now much-massaged charter?


On Mar 27, 2008, at 12:51 PM, Paul Hoffman wrote:

> At 12:04 PM -0400 3/27/08, John C Klensin wrote:
>> --On Wednesday, 26 March, 2008 09:17 -0700 Paul Hoffman
>> <phoffman at> wrote:
>>> ...
>>>>  In
>>>>  particular, IDNs continue to use the "xn--" prefix and the
>>>>  same ASCII-compatible encoding, and the bidirectional
>>>>  algorithm follows the same basic design.
>>>  This is not true at all. The bidi algorithm in IDNA2003 was
>>>  all about single labels standing on their own; the proposed
>>>  changes in IDNA200x is about making full names present better.
>>>  We can remove the last clause completely: it is already
>>>  covered in the bulleted list earlier.
>>> ...
>> Paul,
>> I think "same basic design" is correct.  The "look at the whole
>> domain name" requirement is one that I personally hope we can
>> avoid, regardless of whether "making full names display better"
>> is the motivation.
> This is very distressing. Those of us not in the design team have  
> been going on the assumption that the design team had a unified  
> vision of the design. That idea was heavily embodied in the first  
> proposed charter, and is still central to the current proposed  
> charter. Now you say it isn't so.
> draft-alvestrand-idna-bidi-04 is completely clear on this:
>    o  In a display of a string of labels, the characters of each label
>       should remain grouped between the characters delimiting the
>       labels.
>    o  These properties should hold true both when the string is  
> embedded
>       in a paragraph with LTR direction and when it's embedded in a
>       paragraph with RTL direction, as long as explicit directional
>       controls are not used within the same paragraph.
>> I certainly hope the WG will discuss the
>> tradeoffs between better display and full-name interactions (if,
>> in fact, that is the best way to state the issue) in depth.
> Do the other design team members agree with this? That is, if we  
> get rid of all the parts of the bidi spec that look beyond the  
> current label, does the whole design team agree that we do *not*  
> need to recharter?
>> However, I don't believe that the basic design is changed by
>> looking at adjacent labels, any more than I believe that a few
>> provisions of RFC 3490 make it fundamentally about full domain
>> names rather than labels.
> Please be specific where in RFC 3490 you think those provisions  
> are. If they exist, they are errors in the protocol that no one has  
> noticed before now.
>> But I wish that we could confine charter discussions to
>> showstoppers and/or issues that would have a significant effect
>> on what the WG does and how it does it, rather than trying to
>> achieve perfection in every sentence.
> I consider it a show-stopper that those of us not on the design  
> team cannot figure out where those on the design team do not agree.

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