[Ltru] status of RFC 3066 or RFC 3066bis in relation to HTTP Accept-Language

Harald Alvestrand harald at alvestrand.no
Sat Mar 25 00:30:41 CET 2006

McDonald, Ira wrote:
> Mark Crispin wrote:
>> As a long-time IETFer:
>> Typically, these matters are handled on an ad-hoc 
>> case-by-case basis in 
>> which common sense prevails.
>> The razor in this case is "does something break?"  
>> <...snip...>
>> Equally important is that RFC ijkl should not have been approved for 
>> publication if it creates an incompatibility problem in RFC 
>> abcd, without 
>> also updating/obsoleting RFC abcd.
> Precisely my point about RFC 2396 (Generic URI Syntax) and its 
> successor RFC 3986.  Dozens of IETF and other standards specs 
> were broken by RFC 3986 doing away with some ABNF productions 
> and renaming others.  And Roy Fielding wasn't terribly polite 
> about squashing my complaint.  And the IESG blithely approved 
> this core spec with this glaring deficiency.
> Peter - I think you're on your own - and note that RFC 1766
> doesn't exactly gracefully prepare programmers for 'script'
> subtags in the second position followed by 'region' subtags
> in the third position - quoting from page 2 of RFC 1766:
>    The syntax of this tag in RFC-822 EBNF is:
>     Language-Tag = Primary-tag *( "-" Subtag )
>     Primary-tag = 1*8ALPHA
>     Subtag = 1*8ALPHA
> <...snip...>
>    In the first subtag:
>     -    All 2-letter codes are interpreted as ISO 3166 alpha-2
>          country codes denoting the area in which the language is
>          used.
>     -    Codes of 3 to 8 letters may be registered with the IANA by
>          anyone who feels a need for it, according to the rules in
>          chapter 5 of this document.
> Cheers,
As author, I must beg to disagree.....

a sensible interpretation of the above is "if you want a meaning for 
something that doesn't have 2 letters in the first subtag, look at the 
registry to figure out what it means".

A person who looks at the registry will find (once he discovers the 
right registry) a registry full of script subtags.

The only person who's affected by 1766->3066bis is the person who wants 
to register something with 4 letters in the first subtag. He can't, 
because that's reserved for scripts - and will be told so immediately 
when he tries to follow the 1766 registration procedure.

What's not to like?


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