Brief Plans for IDNAbis WG meeting at SF IETF

Vint Cerf vint at
Sat Mar 14 19:21:30 CET 2009

We will meet on Monday and Tuesday, March 23/24.

I would like to suggest that we attempt to come to some closure the  
work in the following way:

1. Assuming the charter as it is stated, we try to agree on what the  
system (IDNA2008) looks like. In particular, assuming that mapping is  
NOT part of the protocol. I would want also to try to agree on the  
basic implications for backward (in)compatibility with the existing  
IDNA2003 behavior. This effort is not necessarily a decision-making  
one but rather an attempt to agree on the implications of a charter- 
consistent design. I would emphasize here that an important component  
of the charter was to try to accommodate changes to UNICODE by  
algorithmic means (tables, bidi rules, etc) and not have to convene  
IETF WGs to agree on any implied changes to the tables

2. Consider the proposal by Paul Hoffman to implement an extension of  
IDNA2003 by direct additions or changes to tables of valid characters  
or mappings of characters. Again we would want to try to agree on the  
implications of this approach.

If we can get this far, I would suggest two further steps. Within the  
current charter, I would seek to publish the IDNA2008 as the product  
of the WG. However, I would also raise the basic question, which of  
the two approaches appears to be most beneficial in terms of  
implementation in the short term and maintenance in the longer term. I  
would guess that there are different views on these points and perhaps  
other or better metrics by which to judge the alternatives. There may  
be intermediate alternatives that somehow combine the rule-based  
IDNA2008 approach with mapping or other tactics that increase the  
backward compatibility of the proposed and current practices.

Your thoughts on this approach would be appreciated.

Vint Cerf
1818 Library Street, Suite 400
Reston, VA 20190
vint at

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