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RE: RFC 4395 should replace BCP 35, not separate BCP

From: Phillips, Addison <addison@amazon.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 21:12:32 -0800
To: "uri@w3.org" <uri@w3.org>
CC: "iana@iana.org" <iana@iana.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <4D25F22093241741BC1D0EEBC2DBB1DA017D83B53E@EX-SEA5-D.ant.amazon.com>

For many years the W3C I18N WG spent a lot of effort getting everyone to say "RFC 3066 or its successor" when referring to language tags (and promoting the idea of "... or its successor" wording for RFCs in cases where a specific RFC reference was not desirable). Just about two years ago we were relieved to change to promoting the BCP number for language tags, noting that the BCP number remains stable and its URI address remains a valid pointer to the correct resource(s) even when the underlying RFC number(s) change.

I wholeheartedly support the proposal from the RFC Editor. But can't we:

  - do something about the references in the bibxml resources so that they don't reference specific RFCs or use the "or its successor" locution or at least include just the BCP/STD/etc. URI rather than the RFC URI?

  - find a way to update obsolete documents so users have a fighting chance to find that there is a new specification

> I suppose someone looking at RFC 3986 coming across:
>    [BCP35]    Petke, R. and I. King, "Registration Procedures for
>               Scheme Names", BCP 35, RFC 2717, November 1999.
> might not know to go to the *current* BCP 35 and not the RFC 2717
> version?

IETF references are troublesome in this regard. If RFC xxxx replaces RFC yyyy, it will say "obsoletes: yyyy" in its header. But there is no indication in RFC yyyy that it is now obsolete. So you can only tell that RFC 4646 replaced RFC 3066 by looking at the former. As a result, the world must be told over and over about the new RFC. Example: we've been on RFC 2822 for some time now (and 5322 for just a few months), yet there are many MANY references to 822 out there still. I had to remind a developer today of that fact!

Compare for mileage to W3C "TR" space, where the name always obtains the latest version. So the following URI currently produces XML 1.0 5th Edition (and presumably the 6th edition in the future, as it produced 4e, 3e, 2e, and 1e in the past):


Best Regards,


Addison Phillips
Globalization Architect -- Lab126
Chair -- W3C Internationalization WG

Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture.

Received on Tuesday, 27 January 2009 05:13:18 UTC

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