Ambiguity (Announcing draft-langtags-phillips-davis-00.txt)

Doug Ewell dewell at
Sun Nov 16 20:17:36 CET 2003

Addison Phillips [wM] <aphillips at webmethods dot com> quoted from

> 7. To maintain backwards compatibility, there are two
> provisions to account for instabilities in ISO 639,
> 3166, and 15924 codes.

Is this a preventive measure to account for *potential* instabilities in
ISO 639 and 15924?

No assigned ISO 639 code has changed since 1989, long before the current
Internet usage of language codes made stability a much more important
issue.  And ISO 15924 is not even a published standard yet, so by
definition it can't have a record of instability (although its primary
supporters seem to be people who value stability).

ISO 3166/MA seems to be the culprit here.  If there's a desire not only
to defend against potential instabilities, but also to make a point
about the ISO 3166 "CS" reassignment controversy, I'm not sure ISO 639
and 15924 should be implicated as similarly unstable standards.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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