AW: Names

Vint Cerf vint at
Fri Mar 20 11:45:39 CET 2009


While these statistics are interesting, it seems to me that the  
discussion appears to equate the expression of surnames in IDNA and  
the purpose of IDNA which is to express identifiers in the Domain Name  
Space. The Domain Name Space was intended to express identifiers of  
end points in the Internet as an analog of IP addresses for the most  

I hope the WG will be able to keep clear the distinction between  
expressions in natural languages and the purpose of domain names, as  
these are not synonymous. The use of Unicode for purposes of IDNA does  
not change the purposes of DNS regardless of the other purpose to  
which Unicode may be put. IDNA is intended to extend the range of  
identifier expression in DNS.


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

On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:24 AM, Georg Ochsner wrote:

> Hello Mark,
>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>> Von: idna-update-bounces at [mailto:idna-update-bounces at 
>> ] Im Auftrag von Mark Davis
>> Gesendet: Donnerstag, 19. März 2009 21:31
>>> Let me give you thousands of relevant examples at once. I am sure  
>>> you
>> agree that surnames are often used as (parts of) domain names e.g.
>> . Now I queried the German telephone book and this is
>> the result. 1,5 Mio Germans have a surname with ß. There are over  
>> 3'100
>> different pairs of surnames (2 x 3'100 names) which do only differ  
>> in ß
>> and ss instead. Over 2,5 Mio people (!) have one of these surnames
>> either with ß or ss. (e.g. Abeßer/Abesser, Ablaß/Ablass, Abstoß/ 
>> Abstoss
>> ...) I think it would be the right thing, if Mr. Weiß could register
>> weiß.de while Mr. Weiss has For a user looking for the  
>> website
>> it is just like looking up his number in a phonebook, he has to  
>> know if
>> he is looking for Mr. Weiß or Mr. Weiss.
>> Your numbers are a bit unclear to me. You are saying that 0.4% of  
>> German
>> names in the phonebook are distinguished only by ß vs ss. You then  
>> say
>> that 2.5M people have those names, which would be 3% of the German
>> population. So you are saying that those people are proportionately
>> overrepresented in the population by 700%? Or do you mean that 2.5M
>> people have names containing either ß or ss? (Could you point to your
>> data sources also?)
> E.g. "Weiß" and "Weiss" is 1 pair of surnames, that only differs in  
> ß and ss. There are over 3'100 such pairs.
> There are 31.948 entries of "Weiß" in the data source and 8.961  
> entries of "Weiss". All together there are 40.909 entries with one  
> of those two surnames.
> The data source consists of the private entries in the German  
> phonebook (2006) as I got it from
> It contains 29.4 Mio entries, thus I extrapolated the outcomes to  
> match the German population of 82.3 Mio. I assumed that there is no  
> big difference concerning the surnames between people who have an  
> entry in the phonebook and those who have not.
> I am not sure what the 0.4% is that you mentioned but I hope the  
> example and the description above show how the numbers in total were  
> calculated. If not, just let me know.
>> If we didn't have the compatibility problems, separating eszett  
>> from ss
>> would not be an issue. There would still be the issue of casing, but
>> that would be trumped by the reasonable desire to distinguish them.  
>> It
>> is the compatibility issue that most concerns me.
> I am glad to hear that. :)
> Best regards
> Georg
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