Review of draft-phillips-langtags-03

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Jun 28 19:57:30 CEST 2004

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Harald Tveit Alvestrand

> So I'm not going to argue that we should either ask this proposal to
> abandon its generative scheme or switch from subtag to whole-tag
> registration. We have had that debate, and I have not convinced

Well, I voiced some reservation, though it's not a show-stopper for me.

> The document also dramatically changes the purpose of language tags;
> 3066 deliberately identified language ONLY; the current proposal says:
>    These identifiers can also be used to indicate additional
>    of content that are closely related to the language. In particular,
>    it is often necessary to indicate specific information about the
>    dialect, writing system, or orthography used in a document or
>    resource, as these attributes may be important for the user to
>    information in a form that they can understand, or important in
>    selecting appropriate processing resources for the given content.
> This is a dramatic shift in focus,

The way I interpret that paragraph from the introduction, this merely
brings the description into sync with existing practice already
established in registrations such as de-1996 and az-Cyrl. To that
extent, I think that's good. 

> and is the basis for many of the changes.

Some, but certainly not all, of the changes.

> Excessive extensibility
> -----------------------
> Not only does this proposal make "legal" a huge number of hitherto
> undreamed-of tags, it provides several means of extensibility.
> Namely:
> - Extended language tags: 3-letter tags following the first subtag get
> long section on how they might be used if ISO ever creates something
> fits into this space.

I foresee a specific use for this, but there's really no need to specify
this when the relevant ISO standard (639-3) isn't yet referenced. I
would have no problem leaving this for a future RFC in which it is fully

> - Extension single-letter tags: Section 3.3 specifies rules for
> that are specific enough and onerous enough that it's likely that any
> proposal for use of subtags would be fair game for a procedural
> denial-of-service attack. Just the "specification..... must be
> over the Internet and at no cost" possibly invalidates this very
> And their ordering is specified, including speculation about the
> requirements they may impose.

I don't fully understand the critique here; I'll just mention I had
questioned why we want to engineer something to support things that are
not yet defined.

Peter Constable
Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies
Microsoft Windows Division

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