The Future of IDNA

Ebw ebw at
Fri Mar 20 03:57:06 CET 2009

On Mar 19, 2009, at 8:30 PM, Kenneth Whistler <kenw at> wrote:

>>> O.k., I'm a Unicode and language expert on this mailing list. *I*
>>> think mapping tonos away in the protocol is a bad idea. That is
>>> the kind of equivalencing that *should* be done by bundling
>>> (if required).
>> Do you have first-hand experience with the difficulty of bundling?
> Of course not. What a silly question. I'm not a zone administrator.

Sort of amusing, this game of who's got cress.

> But heading down this path of mapping *this* kind of information
> in the protocol is a one-way ticket to hell, IMO. It leads
> directly to the question of mapping simplified and traditional
> forms of Han characters to each other, which is a much, much
> bigger and less tractable problem than ignoring a few accents
> in Latin, Greek, or Cyrillic.

Independent of one's opinion, it does lead to that very issue.

>> By the way, what languages require the separate registration of names
>> that differ only in the presence or absence of tonos? And how large
>> are those communities?
> Well, *Classical* Greek. Or for that matter any use of polytonic
> Greek, where the point is to use the accents to make distinctions.
> Of course it is pointless to ask how large is the Classical Greek
> "community", in one sense, because we are talking about historic
> usage, for the most part. But if you map away accent distinctions
> for Greek letters by *protocol*, then you preclude the possibility
> that someone could want to make a label distinction on that
> basis -- just as they might for accented Latin letters.
> As Andrew pointed out, you make life easier for some, but you
> end up goring somebody else's ox.
> And we just haven't got enough time slices left in the decade to
> parse all the nuances of one community's preferences against
> anothers on a language-by-language and character-by-character
> basis.
> Nor would attempting to do so make the protocol functionally
> better, IMO. All it would accomplish would be to make it
> more complicated, more subject to arbitrary (and not so
> arbitrary) political complaints about X's interests versus
> Y's interests, and most of all, would delay its approval
> mightily.
>> Yes, it is in the opposite direction, and I have outlined a  
>> transition
>> strategy for adding or removing mappings. Is the strategy unclear?
> I think a transition strategy for adding or removing mappings
> is inherently flawed.
> Either we go with IDNA 2008 pretty much as currently defined,
> take the one-time transition hit, and hope that the Unicode
> Consortium (or somebody) can provide a preprocessing for
> maximal IDNA 2003 interoperability.
> Or we go with Paul's approach and attempt to maximize the
> interoperability with IDNA 2003 as the highest priority for
> the revised protocol design.
>> Should I provide more details?
> If you wish, but I'm simply not convinced that the direction
> is fruitful at this point.
> --Ken
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