Solving the UTF-8 problem

Doug Ewell dewell at
Tue Jul 3 08:00:01 CEST 2007

Stephane Bortzmeyer <bortzmeyer at nic dot fr> wrote:

>> 3.  UTF-8 can't be read on some, espcially older, computer systems (Frank 
>> Ellermann, months ago, and CE Whitehead).
> So, I basically agree that UTF-8 for the registry is better but I do not 
> want to see bold sentences like "Anyone but Frank Ellermann can run a full 
> UTF-8 environment by now". This is not true.

You're correct.  I restated three objections to converting the Registry to 
UTF-8, and tried to show why they don't outweigh the advantages of 
converting.  All three are, in fact, true:

1.  UTF-8 doesn't play well with e-mail.
2.  Converting will break processors that expect only ASCII.
3.  Some computers can't display UTF-8.

But we can work out the e-mail problem, and the breakage to processors is no 
worse than adding new fields (nor are there that many fully-conformant 
processors to be fixed).  And the display problem is really not as much of a 
showstopper as it is being portrayed.  People are saying that the hex 
escapes are a display problem too, and adding "Arua" and "Aru&#xE1; (Arua)" 
to the Registry is going to confuse a LOT of people, no matter how many 
comments we add.

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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