[Suppress-Script] Initial list of 300 languages

McDonald, Ira imcdonald at sharplabs.com
Sun Mar 12 05:38:03 CET 2006

Hi Randy,

(tearing out tufts of hair and groaning...)

Please ignore my unfortunately obscure example of PostScript
- instead think IBM IPDS or any of a hundred other print
data languages.

Please let's all stop dwelling in the world of electronic ink
(email and the web) for a moment.

EVERY single network printer in the world today happens to be a
"pre3066bis tag-aware application" in their FIRMWARE (which will
NOT get updated - these are not desktop-like systems).

If you EXTERNALLY (in the control stream or print protocol)
send a language tag and some document data to ANY existing
printer and you use "en-Latn-US", only one of two things will

(1) The print job will be rejected for an unsupported
    mandatory-to-honor attribute.

(2) The print job will be rendered in some arbitrary glyph
    set, based on the administrator or manufacturer having
    configured the printer's default natural language.

This is not supposition - I personally co-authored most
of the IETF, IEEE, and FSG printer standards in the last 
decade.  This is a long-term SERIOUS problem, if people
start tagging NEW documents with a script when not needed.

When an existing or new web resource finally becomes spots
on paper, people are going to start getting real annoyed
if script subtags are carelessly used - many years will
pass before most network printers _understand_ script 

Later this year, I'll begin writing the IEEE standard for 
how IPP and other network printers should cope with script 
subtags (and the rest of RFC3066bis) - two years ago, we 
standardized a separate external metadata element for 
'character-repertoire' (closely allied to script) - now
(perhaps) we will have to deprecate it - yuck!

- Ira

Ira McDonald (Musician / Software Architect)
Blue Roof Music / High North Inc
PO Box 221  Grand Marais, MI  49839
phone: +1-906-494-2434
email: imcdonald at sharplabs.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no]On Behalf Of 
> Randy Presuhn
> Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:51 PM
> To: ietf-languages at iana.org
> Subject: Re: [Suppress-Script] Initial list of 300 languages 
> Hi -
> > From: "McDonald, Ira" <imcdonald at sharplabs.com>
> > To: "'Randy Presuhn'" <randy_presuhn at mindspring.com>; 
> <ietf-languages at iana.org>
> > Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 9:23 AM
> > Subject: RE: [Suppress-Script] Initial list of 300 languages 
> >
> > > Randy Presuhn wrote:
> > > 
> > > Since the entire motivation for "Suppress-Script" is
> > > compatibility with information that has already been tagged,
> > > I suggest we limit ourselves, at least for the present time,
> > > to cases where we *know* that substantial amounts of data
> > > have already been tagged without a script subtag.
> > 
> > It is disturbing that our co-chair of LTRU WG still completely
> > misunderstands the purpose and usage of Suppress-Script.
> > 
> > For the long-term future, when tagging documents, Suppress-Script
> > MUST continue to be honored, in order to ensure compatibility
> > with application software (e.g., word processors) and embedded 
> > software (e.g., firmware in network printers).
> It's clear I wasn't sufficiently clear; we have no disagreement that
> Suppress-Script is necessary and not some "transitional" mechanism.
> The context of my comment was the discussion of adding Suppress-
> Script information to the registry, not on how the 
> information is used.
> My point is that Suppress-Script is only needed for registry 
> entries for
> a tag which has already seen enough use for their to be legacy data
> to worry about, and the overwhelming bulk of the tagged material
> employs the same script.  If there is little or no material 
> (at this time)
> with a given tag, there is little or no need to add the 
> Suppress-Script
> information, unless you're planning to use pre-3066bis tag-aware
> applications to process future material.
> > No network printer now in existence currently supports 'script'
> > subtags.  If you send a document (e.g., PostScript) to a network
> > printer with an external language tag of 'en-Latn-US' (e.g., in 
> > the IPP 'document-natural-language' attribute), you're going to be 
> > sadly surprised to have it rejected entirely or else rendered per 
> > that printer's default natural language (e.g., 'ru', Russian), 
> > that is to say with some very odd-looking glyphs.
> ...
> This is an example of a tag already in use, and consequently a case
> where the use of Suppress-Script needs to be decided.
> Randy
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at alvestrand.no
> http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages

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