Re: [I18ndir] Review volunteer needed (Fwd: [dispatch] WGLC of draft-ietf-dispatch-javascript-mjs-07)

John C Klensin <> Fri, 01 May 2020 02:54 UTC

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Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2020 22:54:19 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: John R Levine <>, Adam Roach <>
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Subject: Re: [I18ndir] Review volunteer needed (Fwd: [dispatch] WGLC of draft-ietf-dispatch-javascript-mjs-07)
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--On Thursday, April 30, 2020 21:58 -0400 John R Levine
<> wrote:

>> In terms of what draft-ietf-dispatch-javascript-mjs should
>> say, there are two  disjoint paths we can decide to follow.
>> The IETF can either document a  fantasy world of platonic
>> solids that we all wish existed, which would have  virtually
>> no practical application to implementors; or the IETF can
>> document  the world as it exists today, warts and all, with
>> decades of baked-in  unfortunate implementation decisions,
>> and enable actual interoperability.
> I don't think we're asking for ideologically pure documents,
> but this draft could use a lot of rewriting to say what it
> needs to say more clearly.  The "goal" stuff is particularly
> obtuse, and I say this as a guy who's written books on parsing
> tools.
> If it is indeed the case that a lot of javascript mislabels
> the charset and you have to sniff the BOMs, so be it.  But
> surely we can limit the scope of awfulness, e.g., is anything
> mislabeled as other than UTF-8 or UTF-16?

Although John and I still disagree on some details, +1.

And, as a small step toward ideological purity, if, in practice,
no one pays attention to what appears in the charset parameter
value, then why not either drop that parameter, say explicitly
that it is likely to be ignored, or see if a registration of
'charset="IDontHaveAClue"' would make it past Ned and Martin.
Not sure I'm serious about that, but you get the point.

Adam, the gulf between ideological purity and matching reality
isn't, IMO, quite as large as you portray it.   A
standards-track document that says "this is really how it should
be done but, if you, or those sending stuff to you, are going to
ignore that, this is what you should do to avoid nasty
interoperability problems and traps" should make us all a bit
uncomfortable, but is still lots better than convoluted text
that ends up amounting to "Do what thou wilt" (and that is not a
comment about this I-D in particular).

And Postel was (and presumably still would be if he were around)
horrified by the idea that the robustness principle would be
interpreted as "as the sender, I get to do whatever I
<obscenity> feel like and it is up to the receiver to compensate
and Do What I Meant".