Breaking the logjam: perhaps a new RFC on Script codes?

John Clews
Fri, 06 Dec 2002 13:24:59 GMT

Breaking the logjam: perhaps a new RFC on Script codes?

Peter Constable wrote to the Ietf-languages mailing list on
December 5 2002:

> If we do want to keep "language" tags distinct from issues of
> writing system and orthography, then we need to figure out how to get
> that architected in a way that can really get implemented prontissimo
> ...
> Frankly, I don't see it happening, but if people driving
> implementations (e.g. W3C i18n WG) want to make it happen, I'm
> willing to help. We need *some* solution, and we need it soon.

We've got a logjam where the Internet world is waiting for ISO to do
something about the draft ISO 15924 (script codes), while ISO is (in
my experienced opnion) not going to to anything on this one, and
Michael Everson (as language Tag Reviewer) says that RFC 3066 is not
about script codes (and he's quite right).

He says that we should use ISO 15924 instead (and he's quite right).
However, we've got a logjam where the Internet world is waiting for
ISO ...

Ah, did I come round this loop once already?

If ISO won't do anything we should, I believe, via a new RFC. I've
looked at ISO DIS 15924 and prepared some text derived from it,
basically stripping away much that only relates to ISO features,
including their committee workings etc, and using only the English
language bits, and converting it to ASCII text.

I've tried to contact Michael Everson on several occasions this week,
as he's written much of ISO 15924, but he seems to be out of contact
range at present.

So given the urgency which Peter and others have drawn their
attention to, in the next email to the Ietf-languages mailing list, I
shall distribute this distillation, as very much a first step towards
a separate standards document which the Internet community could turn
into a RFC if they so wish, after much improvement.

NB: Another (possibly simpler) alternative of course, might
just be a table in a revision of RFC 3066, plus additional
text in RFC 3066, on how to deal with such code elements.

Michael, my apologies about not being able to contact you prior to
circulating this, but I'm sure that you'll have plenty to say that is
useful about the content of any further discussions. I acknowledge
that much of it is your text, and that you should be acknowledged as
the principal author of any RFC on script codes that might emerge.

What follows in my next email, is already too long in my view for an
RFC, so I would expect various comments suggesting "Delete Section X,
Delete Section Y" etc.

The reason that it's as long as it is is that it adopts a similar
structure for comparison purposes.

There are of course other issues that I'm sure that this group will
identify which should be included in any RFC development.

And the other work that would need to be done would be to use another
RFC (logically RFC 3066) as a template for producing a Script codes
RFC, and then "pouring in" agreed text and tables from something like
that which was circulated.

Also farming out different sections of text among any volunteers
would be useful.

Give yourselves a day or two to look at it, and then I'd be glad of
any comments next week on a way forward out of the log jam.

I hope that you'll see this as helpful, rather than being a
complication: it's intended to solve some of the problems that have
been identified, rather than adding to them.

I look forward to hearing from you

Best regards

John Clews

John Clews,
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
tel: +44 1423 888 432;

Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
Committee Member of ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1: Language Codes