Archaic scripts (was: Re: New version:draft-ietf-idna-tables-01.txt)

Vint Cerf vint at
Thu May 8 05:33:06 CEST 2008

I am by no means trying to declare consensus - but it will be helpful  
to see what the range of views and arguments are.

The balance tension at the moment seems to be along the harm/utility  
axis. Either we adopt a restriction because we think it is  
potentially harmful or we admit into use because we think it will be  
useful (and not harmful).

I interpret your position to lie mostly on the utility axis and your  
argument to be of the form "it isn't useful to include these scripts"

Others may say, "but what's the harm?"

I am assuming for the moment that you do not equate "useless" with  


On May 7, 2008, at 8:05 PM, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

> Vint,
> If you're in the midst of trying to declare consensus on this,
> I'll chime in quickly to indicate that I also totally disagree.
> Michel has the right of this, and I'm not finding the arguments
> at all cogent or convincing for redefining all the characters
> for archaic scripts as PVALID instead of DISALLOWED.
> By the way, this has nothing whatsoever to do with permitting
> archaic *languages*..... this is all about including or
> not including characters for archaic *scripts*.
> Archaic (and dead) languages can usually be written just
> fine with existing modern scripts -- examples: Classical Latin
> (language) with the Latin script, Attic Greek (language)
> with the Greek script, Middle Chinese (language) with
> the Han script, and so on...
> And so people are tending to mix up issues of language
> revival with issues of writing system revival. The two
> are completely distinct.
> There are good, solid reasons why *all* of the cuneiform
> writing systems are long dead and will *stay* dead. They
> are writing systems for vanished technology: using styluses
> to imprint wedges in handheld clay tablets. They were replaced,
> thousands of years ago by modern technology, like ink and
> papyrus! Nobody is going to revive cuneiform writing --
> and the purpose of cuneiform in Unicode is to enable
> computerization of cuneiform corpuses in a text form, not
> to assist in cuneiform revivalist movements.
> IMO, inclusion of cuneiform (and many other long-dead,
> ancient scripts for archaic writing systems) in IDNs is
> just silly.
> --Ken
>> While it is too early to declare consensus I am hearing pretty
>> cogent arguments for permitting archaic languages. V
>> ----- Original Message -----
> Michel said
>> I totally disagree. To a large degree the IDNA2003 tenet of allowing
> everything but few characters is one of the reasons why we are  
> going through
> this whole exercise of revising IDNA and excluding most non letters  
> in IDNA
> 2008. Question really is do we extend the symbol exclusion to  
> extinct scripts.

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