draft-phillips-langtags-08, process, sp ecifications, "stability", and extensions

Dave Singer singer at apple.com
Thu Jan 6 21:35:52 CET 2005

At 12:14 PM -0800 1/6/05, Peter Constable wrote:
>  > From: Dave Singer [mailto:singer at apple.com]
>>  Sorry, I should have gone on to conclude:  the important aspect of
>>  sub-tags is that their nature and purpose be identifiable and
>>  explained (e.g. that this is a country code), and that we retain
>>  compatibility with previous specifications.
>Ah! Then the proposed draft ensures that the nature of subtags are
>always identifiable, which RFC 3066 (as I mentioned earlier) fails to
>And the draft retains compatibility with previous specifications using
>an assumption (thoroughly discussed and concluded on the IETF-languages
>list a year ago) that, in case of left-prefix matching processes, script
>distinctions are generally far more important that country distinctions.

as has been beautifully pointed out on the list, that is a view that 
is lingo-centric.  If what I am trying to differentiate is the price 
(and the currency of the price) of an item, the country may be much 
more important than the script that the price is written in.  (this 
is also an example for the last point below).  I repeat, I don't 
think truncation -- and hence prefix-matching -- is very stable or 
nearly universally applicable enough to be mentioned.  Whereas I do 
believe compatibility of ordering with 3066 is important.

>>  I don't believe that simple
>>  truncation is a necessarily useful operation in all circumstances,
>I don't think anyone would dispute that.
>>  and it probably should not be in the spec. at all.  For example, I'd
>>  say that we should retain the 3066 ordering of language-country and
>>  therefore script, if needed, comes later.  However, my typesetting
>>  subsystem doesn't care a jot about language or country, it just needs
>>  to find the script code ('can I render this script'?).
>Here I disagree. For other purposes, I think it's very clear that the
>only time that choice of order matters is with matching algorithms that
>use simple truncation, and for the most common implementations, which
>use left-prefix truncation, the order lang-script-country will be far
>more useful in the long run precisely because script distinctions are
>generally far more important in matching than country distinctions. I
>don't know of any case in which a tag might be used that contained all
>three subtags but in which the country distinction generally matters
>more than the script distinction.

David Singer
Apple Computer/QuickTime

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