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Re: Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in progress

From: Daniel Dardailler <danield@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 14:41:53 +0200
Message-ID: <471DEC11.8020505@w3.org>
To: Martin Duerst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Cc: Najib Tounsi <ntounsi@emi.ac.ma>, 'WWW International' <www-international@w3.org>, W3C Offices <w3c-office-pr@w3.org>, public-i18n-core@w3.org

Hello Martin, all

ICANN heard/hears very well the complaints of those who say they are taking too 
much time to i18nize DNS, not to mention localize it, so I'm not sure adding our 
own critics would help. I've always been told that the tests were necessary and 
long because of the paramount importance of the root integrity, which I have a 
hard time pushing against personnally since I pushed for more QA at W3C from day 
one (at the price of speed, clearly) to ensure better testing of our specs.

The real issue today is the policy debate for creating new TLDs by the dozen, 
and whether or not the system will scale right away in the IDN space. Note that 
this debate alone in gTLD space, without IDN complications, took that long to 
actually start moving again. Another issue is the translation/transposition of 
country code names for ccTLD, which wasn't looking good - as far as a standard 
is concerned - on the ISO side last year.

People need to really understand that IDNs are not free-4-all Unicode strings, 
and that DNS in its current state is not designed with that in mind (search for 
John Klensin analysis on that point). IMO, IDNs, like TLDs in general, are 
identifiers akin vehicle license plates, with the same cross-community border 
interop issues - and maybe the same solution (e.g. ascii subset being used in a 
lot of regions). Not to mention that URLs are supposed to be opaque..

Speaking of reasons why URNs aren't opaque, I also wonder if people have thought 
carefully of the print-digital interface problem we're facing with IDNs becoming 
popular (I remember talking with Richard about that) and no Unicode familiarity 
in the masses (e.g. I know how to enter Γρ.αφ in my computer even though I don't 
have a greek keyboard, but my daughter doesn't - OK my wife does too, but it's a 
special case :)

Do you by any chance know which consortia or ISO group is currently or has 
worked on licence plate normalisation ? How did they solve their I18N issues, 
and on which ground ? Police Interop comes first ?

Martin Duerst wrote:
> Hello Daniel,
>  From my reading of Najib's mail, especially the
> "Yet another breaking of open doors?", it seems that
> in Najib's opinion, the real IDN issue with ICANN is that
> they drag their feet, now for years, in introducing non-ASCII
> TLDs, and with the recent announcement, they just have found
> a way to extend dragging their feet for another few months at least.
> I would have to fully and completely agree with the above opinion.
> I wonder what's the best way to tell this to ICANN, maybe you can
> give us some advice?
> Regards,   Martin.
> At 01:54 07/10/23, Daniel Dardailler wrote:
>> Najib, and other with IDN experience, I encourage you to send back your comments on IDN real issues to ICANN and the IDN groups there.
>> Najib Tounsi wrote:
>>> FYI. Good News
>>> Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is speeding up their work to introduce Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). Icann has published a call for test on this issue. see http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-15oct07.htm
>>> The tests are targeted toward 'full' IDNs, i.e. with TLDs in non-Latin scripts such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrilic, Greek and others. Among other things, the tests aim essentially to
>>> (1) "know how the URL displays in browsers" and
>>> (2) "How this impacts the root zone"
>>> I would like to add two comments:
>>> About the point (1), the W3C I18N WG have already carried out a series of tests on how IDNs are displayed in browsers. Results are discussed in:
>>> http://www.w3.org/International/tests/results/results-idn-IDNs
>>> and
>>> http://www.w3.org/International/tests/results/results-rtl-idn-display  
>>> (for IDNs with RTL scripts)
>>> About (2), technically there should be no problem, since IDNs are converted to punicode, an ASCII equivalent string, before being sent to DNS. Moreover, ICANN have already done a similar test in
>>> http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-4-07mar07.htm
>>> to be sure "for prudence"  if in presence of TLDs expressed in punicode, "DNS system as a  whole do not behave differently from its normal behaviour."
>>> Yet another breaking of open doors?
>>> Any other comment?
>>> Best,
>>> Najib
> #-#-#  Martin J. Du"rst, Assoc. Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University
> #-#-#  http://www.sw.it.aoyama.ac.jp       mailto:duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp     
Received on Tuesday, 23 October 2007 12:42:11 UTC

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