Delay in registering new ISO-based subtags

Addison Phillips addison at
Sat Mar 4 23:05:08 CET 2006

> 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.

I am sure about what the text in Section 3.5 means and it does NOT mean the above. It means: "if the LSR doesn't happen to notice or fails to take action on registering a change to the registry based on a change in one of the standards (ISO 639-1, ISO 639-2, ISO 15924, UN M.49, or ISO 3166), then anyone can request the change on the list in the usual manner." 

Since some of the fields in the registry might be controversial or require the usual IETF consensus, I don't believe it would be wise for the LSR to submit them without the usual two week review... but I also do not believe there is any choice as to whether the code itself becomes encoded unless it conflicts with one of the requirements in Section 4.1 (one might object to a deprecation, preferred-value, suppress-script, or description reasonably, but the registry tracks the standards except where explicitly provided for in 3066bis).


Addison Phillips
Internationalization Architect - Yahoo! Inc.

Internationalization is an architecture.
It is not a feature. 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
> Sent: 2006年3月4日 13:13
> To: ietf-languages at
> Cc: Michael Everson
> Subject: Delay in registering new ISO-based subtags
> 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
> completeness.
> --
> Doug Ewell
> Fullerton, California, USA
> Notes:
> [1]
> [2]
> list.txt
> [3]
> February/003939.html
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