an old item: es-americas

Addison Phillips [wM] aphillips at
Thu Mar 25 22:06:46 CET 2004

The reason for prohibition is related to the way that M49 codes are
incorporated into rfc3066bis: they are the fallback mechanism when ISO3166
assigns a new meaning to an alpha2 code. To prevent there being multiple
representations of the same region, there needs to be some kind of gating
criteria for when to use an M49 code.

If we were to permit the use of any M49 code for which there currently is no
ISO3166 code, we might have the situation in which the 3166 code comes later
(okay, that's unlikely). Similarly, we don't want some people to use the
3166 and some to use the M49 for the same thing. So the change in rule that
we are contemplating is:

a) use the iso3166 alpha2 code dating from January 2003 or any new
unambiguous assignments (that do not overlap with the codes assigned or
transitional on that date).
b) if an ambiguous (re)assignment is made, then use the corresponding M49
code (assigned via registration)

The question is whether to add another rule. The variations we could add
would be:

- if no iso3166 code exists, you may use the M49 code (that is, permitting
regional and sub-regional codes)
- specifically reference the regional (supra-national) codes to allow them
(that is, separately reference these specifically)

Here are some of the potential codes:

  es-019 (America)
  es-419 (Latin America & Carribean)
  es-013 (Central America)
  es-005 (South America)
  es-021 (North America)

Should we recommend this and/or allow people to use these somewhat generic
tags? Or should the industry just use the tools provided elsewhere in
rfc3066bis to do:


Or (try to) register -americas as a variant. I'm not personally opposed to
any of these options and agree with Tex that the problem needs solving, but
what is the case for doing so via the M49 regional codes (Private use
extentions being open, under rfc3066bis, to general use by the software
industry)? Are the regional codes worth preserving separately? If there is
rough consensus, then Mark and I will consider putting the regional codes



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.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: jcowan at [mailto:jcowan at]
> Sent: jeudi 25 mars 2004 11:53
> To: Addison Phillips [wM]
> Cc: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: an old item: es-americas
> Addison Phillips [wM] scripsit:
> > In addition, it may be
> > possible to use the UN M49 code (although some comments Mark and I have
> > received may result in prohibiting this).
> Ah, my hidden agenda behind pushing the M49 codes surfaces at last.
> But what are these reasons for prohibiting it?
> --
> "You're a brave man! Go and break through the           John Cowan
> lines, and remember while you're out there
> jcowan at
> risking life and limb through shot and shell,
> we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are!"
>         --Rufus T. Firefly

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