registry vs. extensions...

Addison Phillips [wM] aphillips at
Mon Oct 27 11:12:37 CET 2003

> It might be worthwile to think about a way to distinguish between
> the cases
> where registration would be required and where it would not be.
> What would be
> this "general usage" which helps in qualifying for registration?

I would say that "general usage" is when you want to use the tag generally,
that is, that there is not just a small user community interested in the tag
for some small or parochial purpose. That isn't very specific, is it? That's
because I don't necessarily think that limiting flexibility is a good thing
at the outset of a "new rfc3066 regime". I think that it would be better to
have a policy of asking whether a tag is needed universally and only
registering tags that at least approach that requirement.

Providing an extension mechanism would allow user communities such as your
own to work out exactly what is necessary before embarking on registration.

The problem with registration is that every user must build support for what
amounts to an exceptions list. Using a mechanism such as I describe would
solve your immediate problem (you could tag things with whatever depth of
granularity you desire) and still be interoperable. Unregistered private
tags are opaque in terms of their meaning, but the rfc3066 tag still has
structure and can still to all of the things that are interesting to you
(such as matching and searching).

Registration of a subtag then becomes a matter of needing general
*non-opaque* interchange of a tag. I think the language tag community can
figure out when that line is crossed.

> Judging by the
> tags already registered at IANA, tag strings consisting of one
> (primary) subtag
> representing the language name followed by two subtags representing, in
> hierarchical order, geographical varieties thereof have been deemed
> necessary/useful on at least one occasion (zh-min-nan). A similar
> tag is found,
> only as an example, in the RFC 3066 text itself: sgn-US-MA.

Addison P. Phillips
Director, Globalization Architecture
webMethods | Delivering Global Business Visibility
Chair, W3C Internationalization (I18N) Working Group
Chair, W3C-I18N-WG, Web Services Task Force

Internationalization is an architecture.
It is not a feature.

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