technical position statement
xlegoff at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 01:27:35 CEST 2009
Dear Mr. Cerf,
Following the pressure that you placed on Mr. Bleriot for reasons that
none of the france at large supported members of this WG fully
understands, I decided to contact Mr. Morfin who was on vacation.
Our common position is as follows.
- Who are we?
"The france at large MLTF (multilinguistics and facilitation
technologies) research group is an active supporter of the WG-IDNABIS
Charter as well as of its timetable (which is currently over due by at
least half a year, for reasons that we truly cannot understand).
Multilinguistics is a semiotic discipline that is explored by the
MLTF. It covers multilateralism and the epistemological complexity
within linguistic diversity.
- Why are we active supporters of the WG-Charter?
The reason why we are active supporters of the WG-Charter is that we
initially asked the WG Chair if his target was or was not to provide
the world, after a nine year delay, with the multilinguistic DNS
service that it expects (i.e. the same quality of service for every
linguistic relational space as for the ASCII International English
We know this is a difficult issue because such a QoS is not an
off-the-shelf possibility of the Internet architecture. This is due to
a lack of a presentation layer in the Internet model and a lack of
incentive, as the IAB RFC 3869 documents it (in addition, that RFC
does not even list a multilinguistic Internet as an IETF R&D
This explains the IDNA concept, which is to build a presentation
service at the user application layer, i.e. outside of the network
architectural domain. However, the first IDNA2003 proposition
attempted to bundle the DNS network application layer together with
the (non-network) user application layer into an application per
application (non robust) (i.e. independent) solution. The purpose of
the WG-IDNABIS along with its Charter is to correct that error, while
attempting to stay compatible with IDNA2003.
There are two possible approaches.
* To correct the IDNA2003 solution, building up from an unclear
vision of the namespace.
* To devise an extended network architecture, encapsulating the
user application layer within a robustly multilayered amespace, in
turn supported by a multi-ledger-DNS above the unchanged core-DNS,
which would not only be fully respected, but also protected and
The response from the Chair was clear. He, along with most of the
members of the WG, favored the first approach.
Having no special obligations to IDNA2003 (that none of us use), we
preferred the second approach knowing that it would be more versatile
and, therefore, would enable the support of IDNA2003 as a spillover.
Furthermore, the location of the presentation service - above the
network application and between [the Extended Network Systems (ENS)
model] inter-applications and user application layers - offers some
* the possibility of full interoperability with IDNA2008 as long as
it remains transparent, i.e. it respects its charter obligation of
attempting to minimize exceptions. Moreover, then:
1. our multilinguistics background makes us confident that true
linguists would never accept exceptions that they could not control
through the application.
2. the IETF has not the vocation nor the linguistic and
multilinguistic competencies to take on the sole responsibility to
change and document the orthography of billions of people.
* conformance with our Internet PLUS (parallelly layered user
systemic) architectural concept for the support of our own needs and
of the Internet evolution as introduced in an IUCG Draft that is
related to the IDNA2008 deployment.
* this would make for the easier support of our work on a semantic
addressing system when the digital ecosystem convergence is meeting
the semantic emergence.
We, therefore, agreed to support the work of this WG, and ensure that
none of its propositions would prevent its further deployment within
an ML-DNS vision, at least without very good reason (which would
probably question our own line of thinking and therefore heighten our
We did not find any good reason for any of the discussed protocol
exceptions, and mapping at protocol level, and documented why IDNA2008
did not support the French orthography and possibly other Latin
language scripts. We were dismayed by the WG disinterest, and even
contempt, regarding this point. As with most of our French
contemporaries, we do not believe that the IETF is the place to decide
on French orthography and cultural wealth. We explained that this WG
attitude forced us to look for an "x.--" alternative solution. We also
embodied the A-FRA organization and project of a francophone "FRA"
- The TATWEEL case
The introduction of the call for consensus about the TATWEEL issue at
the protocol level was, therefore, not a surprise. It only confirmed
that the WG-IDNABIS considered itself legitimate in deciding on
content syntax, orthography, and semantics, and was not only obliged
to transparent content network transport.
We certainly consider this an architectural error (layer violation),
which is a contradiction of the Charter (to reduce the number of
exceptions, if any), wherein the introduction of character mapping
(TATWEEL to nil) in the protocol and not in tables (which calls for a
Charter revision), and a very hazardous move because the IETF does not
possess the legitimacy, expertise, or credibility for decisions in the
areas of semiotics, economics, politics, or international matters that
are submitted to the WTO TBT (technical barriers to trade) rules.
There might be some ways around these problems, but not outside of
those agreed upon in the Charter rules: they would therefore call for
a revision of the Charter.
We observed that:
* our Chair was banned from the WG for expressing his concerns
within the normal limits of an IETF debate. His concern is that many
believe that there is a deliberate attempt to delay the IDNA2008
publication for commercial reasons. This concern was reported to the
AD and for that reason, he did not appeal the decision. As a result,
several of us joined the WG, taking time off from our professional
* the IETF is now described as a place for large and small
corporations' contributions. There is a growing concern (as expressed
by a recent FLOSS DoS) about its Internet standardization neutrality.
We are not considering the question as such (this belongs to more
politically oriented spheres), but we are quite concerned by the
further delays that this may mean for the publication of IDNA2008.
* Mark Davis, President of Unicode, has expressed practical
concerns regarding the legitimacy of this WG to make syntactic,
orthographic, and semantic decisions concerning human languages, their
usage, or the way to reform them or their use, as this has been
publicly discussed in this WG, sometimes in terms that we consider
damaging for the concerned linguistic communities' or countries'
people. The IETF MUST not have a linguistic policy. This is so because
it is not part of its mission, and also because it hampers its
capacity to develop Internet technology that influences the people who
design, use, and manage the Internet in making it work better.
- Internationalization vs. Multilinguization
We certainly know that the IETF limits its linguistic architectural
support to the sole internationalization layer, while world consensus
goes much further. It is expressed by the WSIS consensus, UNESCO
recommendations, ITU votes, scores of associations and fora, as well
as thousands of experts and people: all of whom expect complete
Such multilingualization can be intuitively described as an identical
internationalization QoS for every existent script and language, i.e.
a fundamental basic network neutrality requirement, against
discrimination on a cultural, racial, or lingual basis. The pride of
technologists should be to provide the easiest and cheapest path
towards the e-empowerment of every sociolinguistic human relational
space, whatever its size, economic wealth, religion, or political
- The TATWEEL case consensus
We do not want to dispute the evaluation of an "overwhelming
consensus" in the TATWEEL case, even though the archives show that
there was no such consensus. However, the IETF tradition permits a
WG-Chair to declare rough consensuses. Therefore, we concede that
there was a new IETF rough consensus on a point calling for a
WG-IDNABIS Charter revision.
- Learning from this
This being said, we wholly resent having had our Chair removed without
any good reason, to having our serious concerns and loyal actions
qualified as "fruitless excursions". Moreover, the WG is several
months late on a matter that we billion users consider as
We note here that one of the most qualified persons to provide this
information acknowledges that the IETF is a costly activity for the
ISOC hence for its sponsoring commercial members, who can legitimately
claim a return on their contributions and who may have been tempted to
disregard or exclude non-profit organizations like us. This sounds
like a new Internet era where we (Latin scribes, users, individual
IETF participants) most probably do not belong any more."
I hope that this present clarification will assist in achieving better
I note that the general debate converges towards our positions.
More information about the Idna-update