Delay in registering new ISO-based subtags

Doug Ewell dewell at
Sat Mar 4 22:13:26 CET 2006

I'm trying to find out the reason for the continued delay in submitting 
the seven Language Subtag Modification forms to IANA, in accordance with 
Section 3.3 of RFC 3066bis, as described on my Web page [1].

Each of these subtags is derived directly from an approved ISO 639 code 
element, which means that NONE of them should be subject to any debate 
or other non-trivial delay, other than necessary to determine "whether 
it conflicts with existing registry entries" (which I have already 
pre-verified).  Six of these ISO actions (five additions and one name 
change) were approved in November; the seventh ("zxx") in January.

Section 3.3 says that if the Language Subtag Reviewer "does not do this 
in a timely manner," an individual may submit the request(s) in 
accordance with Section 3.5.  I'm not sure this means the individually 
requested language subtags would have to be 5 to 8 letters long, which 
is normally the case but would be artificial here.

There is at least one real-world user (Karen Broome) who has expressed a 
need to use at least one of these subtags ("gsw") in a real-world 
application (tagging media content).  Although this code element is 
already available for use with ISO 639-2, and therefore with RFC 3066, 
it is *not* available for use with RFC 3066bis until it is added to the 
registry.  I don't speak for Karen, but I believe her desire was to use 
RFC 3066bis, with its productive script, variant, and private-use 
subtags, and not RFC 3066.

I'd like to know if the reason for this delay is:

1.  Confusion over whether RFC 3066bis applies here; that is, whether we 
are in the "RFC 3066bis era" yet.

I'd like Scott to rule on this, unequivocally.

2.  Confusion over whether Michael Everson is the Language Subtag 
Reviewer responsible for this.

IESG stated on February 21 [2] that "We also confirm that the IETF 
language reviewer remains Michael Everson."

Scott mentioned on February 20 [3] that the question of appointing a 
Reviewer "will be discussed during the next IESG telechat on 2 March 
2006."  He added, "The IESG's decision will be announced in the usual 
places; I will ensure that this list receives a copy."  This was last 
Thursday; I'd like Scott to comment on the expected date by which this 
decision will be made available.

It should be obvious that the registrations I am asking for have nothing 
to do with moderating the ietf-languages list, and should not be held 
hostage by that debate.

3.  Confusion over the procedure (or workload) necessary to make this 
happen, or the appropriateness of the subtags.

I think Section 3.3 makes this clear.

I have done everything necessary to allow the Reviewer to copy-and-paste 
the request forms into an e-mail that can simply be forwarded to IANA. 
This would not take long.

4.  Unavailability of the Reviewer.

I think everyone knows, and I hope everyone appreciates, that Michael is 
very busy with his efforts to encode minority scripts and characters in 
Unicode.  Sometimes these efforts take him away from home and prevent 
e-mail access for long periods of time.  However, the work of reviewing 
language subtags is important also.

I'd like to propose that, whenever possible, Michael drop a brief note 
to this list indicating his impending unavailability and the expected 
date when he can attend to Reviewer activities.  If his period of 
unavailability is expected to be long, say a month or more, perhaps 
Scott can rule on the appropriateness of appointing a temporary deputy 
in his absence.

5.  Refusal to perform the action, or some other problem.

I hope and assume that this is not the case, but include this item for 

Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California, USA


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