Re: [dnsext] BOF on variants for ICANN San Francisco

Doug Barton <> Wed, 09 March 2011 19:35 UTC

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Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2011 11:36:56 -0800
From: Doug Barton <>
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Subject: Re: [dnsext] BOF on variants for ICANN San Francisco
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On 03/09/2011 11:19, Eric Brunner-Williams wrote:
> I commend ICANN's staff variant project team for communicating (via Kim)
> a notice to the DNSEXT WG.
> I can recall no prior ICANN organized "IDN" activity to which an open
> invitation to the DNS (or IDN) technical community was offered -- every
> such activity I contributed to was due to accidental discovery on my
> part, not an invitation by ICANN.

One can pontificate on length at all the various individuals or groups 
that need/deserve special invitations to such an event. Or, one could 
realize that ICANN has been holding regular, public, and well-publicized 
events on the IDN topic since no later than 2004 (which is the first 
time I participated as a staff member).

> Unfortunately, the less than useful "variant" nomenclature is used, so
> one has to guess, assuming one differentiates between the issues
> presented by two very large character repertoires with a large
> intersection, character repertoires with sparse sub-repertoires of
> positionally dependent combining characters, character repertoires with
> pervasive diacriticals, or character repertoires with sparse or
> singleton pairs, the actual scope of work to be allocated to ICANN or
> the IETF.

ICANN meetings are primarily populated by policy-focused individuals, 
not technologists. An expectation that such individuals would develop 
the level of technical knowledge described above is not rational. 
Further, the term "variant" has a relatively well understood meaning in 
the TLD policy context, where it is generally understood to be a 
simplification of several thorny technical problems.

On the other hand, you and I agree that the fact ICANN is continuing to 
reach out the the technical community on this topic is a good thing.

> Unfortunately also, the temporal properties of "synchronized domains",
> the result of some prior, and limited consultation between participants
> to both the IETF and ICANN, is not noted as very difficult to achieve
> and not removed from the possible areas of work to be undertaken, at
> least by an IETF WG.

I don't think anyone involved thinks it's an easy problem, but maybe it 
hasn't been removed "from the possible areas of work to be undertaken" 
because some of us are actually working on it. :)




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