Michael Everson everson@evertype.com
Tue, 7 May 2002 21:21:32 +0100

At 21:53 +0200 2002-05-07, H=E5vard Hjulstad wrote:

>>H=E5vard, does this mean you envision adding 639-1 codes which have
>>been agreed NOT to be added in order to facilitate tagging stability
>>on the internet? Every time this comes up it sounds to me as though
>>you wish to add codes which the JAC has agreed NOT to. I am extremely
>>concerned by this.
>And I repeat every time: The internet is not our only "customer", although
>the needs of the internet community is very important indeed. We have not
>made it "formally" impossible to add items to ISO 639-1, but the committee
>recognizes the need to be extremely conservative.

That is NOT what the JAC said it would do. The JAC said they would do 
the following:

o   New codes will no longer be added to ISO 639-1 after the publication
     of a revised standard unless they are also added to ISO 639-2.

And that is a PROMISE you made to one of your most important 
customers. I am furious to see discussion even entertaining the 
addition of the codes which are frozen as of the publication of 
639-1:2002. That is bad standardization. You seem to be standing on 
principle, but you are just making us doubt the usability of your 

>We all know that any decision, however "final", is valid until a 
>different decision is made. That is called democracy.

Breaking a promise is called "lying". I am very angry about this. We 
worked out an agreement and we want to rely on it. You say, H=E5vard, 
time and time again, that you might consider breaking that agreement, 
and that is very, very bad practice. How can IANA and IETF and W3C 
trust ISO 639 if you talk this way?

I am astonished that you do not consider the ramifications of what you propo=

>It is up to the responsible body to make the decisions that are 
>responsible and correct at any time. ISO standards have to be 
>reviewed at regular intervals. I cannot give out promises as to what 
>future committees governing ISO 639 will act. But personally I 
>haven't so far see any arguments that I have found good enough to 
>"thaw" ISO 639-1.

I call upon the JAC to make a permanent resolution to this question. 
This kind of back-peddling does NOT serve the users of the standard. 
=46uture committees governing ISO 639 must keep to this agreement.

=46ailing that we should abandon ISO 639 for the internet except for 
everything currently encoded and just use the SIL tags for everything 
else. Is that a good idea?

I don't like fighting with you, H=E5vard, but this issue is non-trivial.
Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com