RFC 3066bis: Philosophical objection (harsh)

Doug Ewell dewell at adelphia.net
Sun Dec 28 19:26:56 CET 2003

Harald Tveit Alvestrand <harald at alvestrand dot no> wrote:

>> 4. "Silly subtag generation" should not be an issue. It has always
>> been possible to create 'silly' tags or at least tags with dubious
>> meaning with the generative mechanism. 'es-AQ', 'sv-CO', et cetera.
> Yes, and at times I think that the inclusion of the ISO 639 generative
> mechanism in RFC 1766 was a mistake, exactly for this reason.

Having to register each language-country combination individually would
introduce significant overhead and delay.  Each previously unencoded
combination would have to be approved separately, and would be subject
to lengthy subsequent debate over whether it should have been encoded,
should be deprecated, etc.

There would be a fair amount of politically motivated pressure, which
this group would probably rather avoid, to register certain

Companies would probably continue to use the generative mechanism for
their own purposes, ignoring RFC 1766 and its successors.

There may not be much Swedish spoken in Colombia, but there is a
non-trivial amount of German and Italian spoken in Argentina.  For all I
know, there may be enough differences from "standard" German and Italian
to justify separate de-AR and it-AR codes.  If there is a need, the
generative mechanism allows it to be filled without the administrative

The potential harm caused by generating "silly" codes seems minimal
compared to the advantages.  You can use ASCII or Unicode to generate
nonsense or offensive words, but that is not a defect in either encoding

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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