Scottish English

JFC (Jefsey) Morfin jefsey at
Sat Oct 22 02:07:42 CEST 2005

At 21:54 21/10/2005, Mark Davis wrote:
>I don't know that I would put it quite so strongly; many nations 
>have stable internal divisions. However, I agree with the main 
>point, which is that in its current state, it is not anywhere near 
>complete enough to use, does not distinguish between stable and 
>unstable codes, and is not accessible. Thus the ISO 3166-2 codes are 
>essentially useless for application within any other standard, 
>including language tagging.

Dear Mark,
ISO 3166 codes are orthogonal to languages. But by many ways a 
language depends on Government dependant legal rules, administrative 
usage, school education, etc. and in the present state of the 
Internet art, on the locale files. This is why you can say 
"globalization" is the ISO 3166 based internationalization of the 
Internet and of the localizations of the computers. In that sense, 
dear Unicode President, your IBM originated Unicode CLDR project to 
produce a locale file for every OS and every country, is a key 
project for the world.

I hate that vision. It is very consistent and may-be too efficient. 
But Peace Nobel Price Van de Klerk calls it "bleak" and a source of 
national and international conflicts. Others call it "e-colonization" 
and "war on cultures". Because it makes people depend on the way 
their computer is designed (possibly by Unicode) and on his 
Government. This is like middle-age (the local computer-lord 
protects, rules, decides, etc. supported by the King-Unicode's 
legitimacy). Middle-Age was certainly a brilliant period of the human 
development, but I believe it is out-dated, and its visions no more 
adequate to our present world.

The human society interest of the internet is to help persons and 
cultures to free themselves from Governments when they want it. It 
permits to use Govs regalia for infrastructural investment and 
security. Then to develop common interest democratic spaces, where 
the community can empower its cultural metastructure. This permit to 
distribute a pervasive practical capacity of individual decision - 
one usually names this "Liberty" - over that metastructure. The 
computer is then back to its role of mechanical slave of the persons.

In this "globalisation" (I support) there are:
- the personalisation of the computer (much more complete "locales" , 
on a per person/referent/context basis),
- the universalisation of the network (an "internationalization" 
where every languages would be considered as important as English),
- the multilingualisation of the exchanges (interapplication layer)
- the multiculturalisation of the relations, and their extended 
servicing (this is the new technical frontier). The human computer 
network assisted relations.

I agree this calls for more work and looks impossible with your 
existing standards (billions of languages to document and support). 
But this is the real world and technology is to address this kind of 
challenges. This is our work to find the way to make it simpler and 
operational. And what is interesting is that we most probably have 
all the mechanisms and the experience for a while (DNS, IPv6,

I often use an image: 10 years ago we thought that the map of the 
human genome would take a century and cost the budget of the whole US 
research for one year. The French Telethon paid for the work of a 
Nobel Price who came with a different method. Such Nobel Prices exist 
in networked languages. One is David Dalby. Another leads the 
JTC1/SC32/W2. They do not come with the whole solution. But they help 
others to progress.

This does not obviously prevent initial work to be of interest. The 
same as RFC 3066 and this mailing list have prepared RFC 3066 bis and 
the new registry Doug documented. There are many real life cases 
where each of them is good enough and ISO 3166 can be used. But there 
are cases where it does not scale and we need more. There are 92 
entries in the current registry, 500 in Doug's, 7500 in Peter's, 
20.000 in David's, billions in our work. This is normal scalability. 
It should be in continuity, not in conflict.

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