IDN in the news

John C Klensin klensin at
Tue Oct 27 01:06:55 CET 2009

Of course, IDNs have been up and working for years.  All ICANN
is proposing to do is to allow them in the root.

I don't even want to speculate as to whether the BBC reporter
got it wrong or if someone at ICANN is engaging in hyperbole.


--On Tuesday, October 27, 2009 08:38 +0900 Michael Everson
<everson at> wrote:

> Story from BBC NEWS:
> Net set for 'language shake-up'
> By Jonathan Fildes 
> Technology reporter, BBC News 
> The internet is on the brink of the "biggest change" to its
> working "since it was invented 40 years ago", the net
> regulator Icann has said.
> The body said it that it was finalising plans to introduce web
> addresses using non-Latin characters.
> The proposal - initially approved in 2008 - would allow domain
> names written in Asian, Arabic or other scripts.
> The body said if the final plans were approved on 30 October,
> it would accept the first applications by 16 November.
> The first Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) could be up
> and running by "mid 2010" said the president of the Internet
> Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
> "Of the 1.6 billion internet users today worldwide, more than
> half use languages that have scripts that are not
> Latin-based," said Rod Beckstrom at the opening of Icann's
> conference in Seoul, South Korea.
> "So this change is very much necessary for not only half the
> world's internet users today but more than half, probably, of
> the future users as the internet continues to spread."
> Relaxed rules
> Plans for IDNs were approved at a meeting in June 2008.
> However, testing of the system has been going on for much
> longer, said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the board in
> charge of reviewing the change.
> "You have to appreciate what a fantastically complicated
> technical feature this is," he said.
> "What we have created is a different translation system."
> The changes will be applied to the net's Domain Name System.
> This acts like a phone book, translating easily understood
> domain names such as into strings of computer
> readable numbers known as IP addresses.
> The tweaks will allow this system to recognise and translate
> the non-Latin characters.
> "We are confident that it works because we have been testing
> it for a couple of years," said Mr Dengate Thrush. "We're
> really ready to start rolling it out."
> Some countries, such as China and Thailand, have already
> introduced workarounds that allow computer users to enter web
> addresses in their own language. However, these were not
> internationally approved and do not necessarily work on all
> computers.
> The meeting in South Korea will also discuss its plans to
> introduce generic Top Level Domains (TLDs), such as .uk or
> .com.
> Last year, the body voted to relax rules on TLDs meaning
> companies could turn brands into web addresses, while
> individuals could use their names.
> Icann, set up by the US government, was founded in 1998 to
> oversee the development of the net.
> Last month, after years of criticism, the US government eased
> its control over the non-profit body.
> It signed a new agreement that gave Icann autonomy for the
> first time. The agreement came into effect on 1 October and
> puts it under the scrutiny of the global "internet community".

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