Interoperability and updates

John C Klensin klensin at
Mon May 12 23:30:46 CEST 2008

--On Friday, 09 May, 2008 09:16 -0700 Paul Hoffman
<phoffman at> wrote:

> At 8:40 AM -0700 5/9/08, Erik van der Poel wrote:
>> We are only trying to maintain or achieve interoperability.
>> If we cannot get the representatives of the bigger players to
>> agree, then it's hard to achieve interoperability, right?
>> Sorry if some of my wording is deemed arrogant -- I'm just an
>> engineer with ideas for interoperability.
> The IETF has a long history of wrestling with the question of
> interoperability, agreement among the parties who care,
> enforcement, resistance, and updates. Different people in the
> IETF (we are people, not a monolithic organization) have
> different views about the best way to write a standard to get
> the greatest interoperability. Some of those differences of
> opinion are very relevant in the current discussion.
> My view for IDNAbis (and IDNA2003) is that if the standard
> does not say that software that does a lookup needs to follow
> the rules for allowed and disallowed characters, meaningful
> interoperability will not be possible. Without lookup
> validation, registries will make mistakes (or possibly
> intentional mistakes) and then leave them in place with
> impunity. The reason we have had such good interoperability in
> IDNA2003 is the fact that most/all major software refuses to
> get to names that go against the standard.
> This view makes updating the standard harder due to the
> already-discussed issues of delay in software updates.
> However, those issues are just as present if the standard does
> not require checking for lookup but does require checking for
> display. Programs that display IDNs need to be updated as
> often as those checking them before sending out queries. Thus,
> the standard does not gain any flexibility for updates unless
> both sides are made optional. A standard that only proposed
> limits on what could be registered would lead to near-zero
> interoperability due to the high number of mistakes that would
> be made.

I believe that I am in complete agreement with Paul on this
subject. (!)


More information about the Idna-update mailing list