RFC3066bis: looking ahead

Peter Constable petercon at microsoft.com
Tue Jan 20 22:35:27 CET 2004

> From: Addison Phillips [wM] [mailto:aphillips at webmethods.com]

> > Just to get the terminology straight, you are talking about
> > 3-letter alphas
> > from ISO 3166-1.
> Yep. Slip of the brain.

Sorry, I was saying ISO 3166-2 -- another slip of the brain.

> Okay, that makes sense to me. Now I understand what you and Peter are
> saying. Even so: the problem here is that if ISO639-3 codes are
alpha-3 and
> ISO639-2 codes are alpha-3 and there is abundant data already tagged
> the perfectly legal ISO639-2 tags, then we need to separate the
> tags from those tags anyway, right?

Not an issue because ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 are part of the same
codespace; except for collections, ISO 639-2 will be a subset of ISO

> > All that's needed to allow both yue and zh-yue is to rule out
> > 3-letter alphas
> > from 3166-1, which are currently required only where a 2-letter
alpha is
> > ambiguous over time.  Using forms like "CS1" solves this problem.
> At the expense of reintroducing the need to create and maintain an
> registry to register the values and track assiduously the activities
> ISO3166MA/RA, past, present, and future. In the current draft, as
> here previously, we only need to deal with cases of double-ambiguity
> is, both the alpha2 and alpha3 code are ambiguous). If ISO3166 can be
> convinced not to reassign alpha-3 codes, then there is no need for any
> registration stuff or digits. That has to be preferable.

I think it is unlikely ISO CS will risk repeating their blunder with CS;
but if they do, you've already considered how to deal with the

The only real issue is whether we eventually need to use alpha-3 IDs
from ISO 3166. I put it to you that such a need is further off and will
be relevant in far fewer cases than the need for the identifiers that
will be provided in ISO 639-3. If there's a need to introduce something
like a sub-tag "i-" to identify the purpose of the bit that follows it,
then I suggest that should be left to the point if and when we need to
start using alpha-3 IDs from ISO 3166-1.

Peter Constable
Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies
Microsoft Windows Division

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