Re: [I18ndir] [Idna-update] FWD: Last Calls on two IDNA documents

Asmus Freytag <> Mon, 05 August 2019 22:00 UTC

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From: Asmus Freytag <>
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Subject: Re: [I18ndir] [Idna-update] FWD: Last Calls on two IDNA documents
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On the subject of stability:

If you are thinking in terms of decades - many orthographies have been 
reformed in the last 100 years (many of them more recently).

Encoding stability is not your main concern if you want stable spelling 
of terminology.

(The last reform of German spelling was around 25 years ago and affected 
many words containing sharp-s, or doubled consonants - many of those 
were contractions of triple consonants which are are now spelled out: 
"Schifffahrt". Some other writing systems had rather radical reforms in 
the 60s.).

Unicode is already more stable than what it tries to model.


On 8/3/2019 9:09 PM, John C Klensin wrote:
> --On Sunday, August 4, 2019 01:53 +0200 "J-F C. Morfin"
> <> wrote:
>> John,
>> all of us trust Patrick's and your competence and wiseness IRT
>> iDNs. And thank you for your constant updating. However, I
>> observe that the retained solution regularly calls for updates.
> Thanks although more eyes --and different perspectives-- on this
> stuff are always helpful.  Put differently, while I'm glad you
> trust us, I don't :-(.  And it does indeed call for updates.
>> I am considering a polynym (strict lingual synonyms) oriented
>> DDDS service (bigdata multilingual database labels for
>> cross-origin data). A first idea is to build it on a similar
>> basis as iDNs. However concerns are about Unicode stability
>> over decades.
> First of all, if you are building a new system, you don't need
> the baggage that IDNs/ IDNA are carrying around as the result of
> the DNS not being well-designed for non-ASCII labels at the
> beginning and of many legacy applications that are even less
> well designed and implemented for those situations.
>> The need is for a string in any language returning the its
>> polynym in any other language indicated by its langtag. Would
>> you have a better suggestion? The project is to try to locate
>> the service at a meditarean group of universities.
> You are facing several problems.  One is Unicode itself.  As
> "universal" coding systems goes, it is probably as good or
> better than anything else we can easily imagine, but its design
> and implementation involved design choices that are not optimal
> for all purposes (or all languages and writing systems).  A
> different system might do better for some of those choices, but
> would almost certainly be worse for others.  That is one of the
> reasons for the update problem: as long as new code points (or
> at least new code points that are not symbols or otherwise
> excluded from "words") are being added, some decisions about the
> properties associated with code points are going to involve
> tradeoffs and those tradeoffs may not be optimal for IDNs, for
> your system, or for any other one with its own set of
> constraints and desirable characteristics.   So, if one is going
> to have strict stability and forward compatibility for
> identifiers or other strings, especially if more than just code
> point assignments are involved, regular review of properties and
> property assignments would seem to be a requirement. If you can
> define things so that all you care about is stability of the
> code point assignments and binding to abstract characters
> themselves, and you have no need to define or enforce
> equivalence of different encodings of "the same" string or
> character within that string, then there is probably no issue.
> The second problem is one with which I believe you are familiar
> because you've raised equivalent issues before in other
> contexts.  While some technical terms that were invented only
> very recently do work, there are many terms, both mononyms and
> polynyms, for which exact and unique translations do not exist
> or are controversial.  If you want to check that out further,
> looking at the EUROVOC and AGROVOC multilingual controlled
> vocabularies might be a start.  Those two examples are, however,
> specialized vocabularies; more traditional multilingual thesauri
> pose even more complex problems.
> best,
>      john'
>> Best
>> jfc