On the Technical Plenary

IAB Chair <iab-chair@ietf.org> Wed, 11 November 2009 11:19 UTC

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IETF 76 Technical Plenary, 1630-1930 Thursday 12th November 2009.

Internationalization in Names and Other Identifiers

This technical plenary can be seen as following on from the plenary at
IETF68 on March 2007 in Prague on "Internationalization and Internet
Engineering" and builds on an old realization that smooth and
interoperable functioning&#8232; of the Internet depends on text
strings&#8232; being interpreted in the same way &#8232;by all systems
connected to it. RFC 2277 (IETF Policy on Character Sets and Languages,
January 1998) and RFC 5198 (Unicode Format for Network Interchange, March
2008) discuss the use of international text in Internet protocols.

Internationalization of protocol elements is ongoing work within the IETF
(e.g. IDNABIS WG, EAI WG, IRI BOF) and deployment of these technologies is
ongoing. For example, there has been much publicity and excitement around
the announcement that ICANN plans to start issuing international text
country-code top level domains soon. 

The issues and complexities of handling international text affect many of
our protocols, most Internet users, and many IETF Working Groups. However,
the issues are complicated and there is not always a shared understanding
even among experts in the field.

This IETF Technical Plenary presentation will explore examples of the
kinds of things that can go wrong with internationalized text, and
examples of cases where even when things go "right", the result may still
not be what the average human might expect or want. The IAB is currently
working on draft-iab-idn-encoding, with the goal of describing some of the
important issues and problems, and giving guidance for future protocol
design to reduce such problems.

This plenary is a working session of the IAB where we want to share our
experiences and learn from yours.

For the IAB,
  Olaf Kolkman, Chair.