I-D Action: draft-klensin-idna-rfc5891bis-00.txt

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Mon Mar 13 11:45:57 CET 2017

On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 09:40:48PM -0800, Asmus Freytag wrote:

> It would be like having the spelling alternations "or/our" or "ise/ize" in
> English be personal or even 'ad-hoc' preferences.

In Canadian English, they _are_ personal preferences.  You're supposed
to do it consistently, but they're both equally acceptable in most
cases.  (There's actually a Latin/Greek derivation distinction between
ize and ise, note, but since just about nobody who speaks English
today knows Latin or Greek, this rule is almost never correctly
applied any more.)

> The DNS cannot handle an unbounded number of alternates

I'm not sure what to make of that claim.  It's perhaps strictly true
in a single zone, but given that we have a single zone with well over
100 million names in it operating on the Internet today it seems
unlikely we're too close to the limits of what it can do.  I think
what is more true is that human operators and the practical operation
of most servers can't handle an unbounded number, or even a fairly
large number of aliases.  I think this has more to do with human
factors than technical ones, though.  (This may be what you meant,
given things you say later.)

> I don't think we can simply wish away that problem - as attractive as it
> would be for those cases where "free alternation" of spellings is an issue.

Perhaps another way to state this is that the DNS is an exact-match
lookup system, and has poor facilities for aliasing and no facilities
for two-way aliasing.  Given those two facts, the system is just
unsuited for "free alternation".

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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