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

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Sun Nov 16 20:34:41 CET 2003

The world "potential" would be a good addition (unfortunately, we already
submitted the 01 version, so it'll have to wait a bit).

There is still a problem, because there is nothing in those standards (nor in
ISO 4217) that guarantees stability, nor in the ISO policies and procedures. The
respective registration authorities have it within their power to destabilize
their codes at any time; and since we have seen it happen at least once with at
least one very important standard, it doesn't really leave us with warm and
fuzzy feelings.

This is not to say that the RAs would -- and we certainly know of responsible
people and organizations who would never take such steps. But who's to say that
their successors would not? We need something much more than "they haven't done
it yet" -- that attitude left us wide open for the change in CS!

► शिष्यादिच्छेत्पराजयम् ◄

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Doug Ewell" <dewell at>
To: <ietf-languages at>
Sent: Sun, 2003 Nov 16 11:17
Subject: Re: Ambiguity (Announcing draft-langtags-phillips-davis-00.txt)

> Addison Phillips [wM] <aphillips at webmethods dot com> quoted from
> draft-langtags-phillips-davis-00.txt:
> > 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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> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at

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