Consensus Call on Latin Sharp S and Greek Final Sigma

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at
Mon Nov 30 08:45:41 CET 2009

I agree with Mark that this is very badly worded.  Also, as Mark alludes, the distinction is between mapping.

(2) Both characters should be disallowed.  (and mapped as in 2003).

One would expect a swiss person typing "" to continue to get to the expected site, even though the spelling isn't perfect by "de" standards.  The ONLY place where a distinction is interesting is in Germany and Austria, however Mark points out both of those NICs are against this change.

From: idna-update-bounces at [idna-update-bounces at] on behalf of Mark Davis ☕ [mark at]
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 9:35 AM
To: Harald Alvestrand
Cc: idna-update at; Vint Cerf; lisa Dusseault
Subject: Re: Consensus Call on Latin Sharp S and Greek Final Sigma

(2) Both characters should be DISALLOWED

I think the way the question is phrased may mislead some people on this list. The real choice is between having them mapped to "ss" vs having them distinguished from "ss", because all browser vendors are planning to provide mappings, and I think all other vendors will be drawn down that path, for compatibility with the browsers.

This standard is not written in a vacuum; whether or not eszett and final-sigma would have been a better choice 7 years ago, billions of current browsers and other programs use the 2003 policies, and those would take years to change. In the meantime, a change of this magnitude from 2003 will cause significant problems.

The people on this list need to carefully consider their positions, since they will not have to live with the compatibility and security problems; German and Greek speakers will. And it is telling that representatives like the German and Austrian NICs are in favor of continuing the 2003 policies of mapping the characters.

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