is IDNA the ML-DNS we wait for ?

Andrew Sullivan ajs at
Sat May 17 04:50:12 CEST 2008

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 03:29:31AM +0200, jefsey wrote:

> If the IETF cannot match the world's expectations in that area it must say 
> so now, so others can consider alternative solutions before we see 
> different  uncoordinated local solutions developed and deployed.

I'm not entirely sure anyone knows what the world's expectations are
-- I have, personally, a hard time predicting the mood of my current
riding's electorate from month to month -- but supposing you had a
good handle on what the world's expectations are, why would it be
necessarily harmful if a multitude of possible answers emerged before
one final one did?  (I have my own list for why, note; I'm asking you
for yours.)

> The world expects a Multilingual DNS that works for every language and 
> every script the way the DNS works for English and ASCII. Let us call this 
> the ML-DNS specification. It is very simple, terse, and clear.

Actually, I think we need some parsing marks to be clear: the desire
is "internationalised LDH" (or "iLDH" if we need to invent bits of
jargon).  Therefore, the goal of the current work really is [DNS that
works for every (Unicode-defined) script] the way [DNS works for ASCII
today].  I want to leave language out of it, because even though
humans happen to use labels as signifiers, they're only parts of
language in the passing theory of the interlocutors (cf. Donald

> Question (A): does this IETF WG-IDNABIS seek to document an IDNA based 
> ML-DNS in order to be ready for testing by Dec. 2008 (Y/N)?

I think the goal is a short document cycle.  Being as it's May, I
think December may be a little optimistic.

> Question (B): If A is "N",  what are the clearly defined and committed 
> detailed specifications of the Nov. 2008 IETF deliverable?

This is question begging.  We don't know until the protocol
specification is done.

> 1- will it be mainly focussed towards Mobiles, Browsers, Applications, or 
> the three of them?

None or all.  It will be mainly focussed towards labels in the DNS,
and their interpretations by IDNA-interpreting clients, whatever they

> 2- will it be phishing proof at every DN level?

No.  Even ASCII isn't.

> 3- which scripts or charset and languages will be supported? or will it be 
> transparent to scripts choices?

This is a loaded question; but I think we're still working out which
scripts get included.

> 4- will it be IDN2003 compatible?


> 5- will it strive to be future ML-DNS interoperable?

I'm unwilling to speculate.

> 6- why was the IDNA option chosen as the best way to support ML-DNS vs. 
> other possibilities?

I think this is part of what John's current draft is about.

> 7- will Microsoft, Google, and Firefox fully and identically support it? 
> Will they also permit the support of any other ML-DNS proposition?

You'll have to ask them.

> 8 - will it support easily additional symbols such as logos?

Not as currently outlined.

> 9 - will it stay ISO 3166 conformant?

I don't think I understand this question.

No hat, and best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at
+1 503 667 4564 x104

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