[governance] Re: Response to Stephane Bortzmeyer on IDN

David Allen David_Allen_AB63 at post.harvard.edu
Thu Mar 22 10:05:51 EDT 2007

After some digging around - but no trouble, just time.

At 4:39 PM +1000 2/27/07, Danny Butt wrote:
>Stephane, there are so many value judgements you're making in your historiography.
>While I don't have the knowledge or experience to vouch for or critique all of Subbiah's points, I can say that your characterisation of *all* the work done by alternative navigation providers as "selling dummy IDN domain names", when there were also clearly other factors at play, perfectly illustrates why much of the world outside the Euro-US technical community holds little faith in existing governance regimes.
>The IETF's "cooperation" and the "openness" of its forum has at times been limited. Especially for those who believed that their own language groups should be able to use internetworking technologies without waiting around for English-language speakers to sort out all the problems in a theoretically ideal system.
>I think that if those associated with IETF/ICANN are serious about seeing the Internet become a truly global facility would do well to take a more nuanced and less patronising view of the history of alternative naming systems, especially in the Asian region.

Well said, in my view, Danny.

At 2:09 PM +0100 2/23/07, Stephane Bortzmeyer wrote:
>I take the liberty to summarize the issue a bit.

Summaries can be helpful - disinformation is another thing.

>Only one proposal was done in a cooperative way, in an open forum, with the intent of being a standard, the IETF IDN Working Group, which, after many painful years, arrived in march 2003 to RFC 3490 and its friends.

Only one was cooperative? - when we see the other numerous offers to work together, from the 90s forward - in fact, working together, as below ... ?

The links show many dozens of meetings all over Asia, attended by hundreds.  These were presentations and workshops, demonstrating several independent implementations of the original approach, in several countries over a number of years, prior to ICANN's first entrance in December 2000.

>Most (all?) of the other ways were done by small companies whose intent was not to suggest a workable and realistic way but to make money fast by selling IDN to people gullible enough to buy them. (Not only small companies, after all, Verisign was in it, too.) These small companies, like i-dns.net, were very eager to file patents but much less ready to work with other people on a common standard.

China?  gullible?  with a hundred million plus users, now three years on, interoperating seamlessly with the other root.  And the other language groups also actively deploying?

(By the way, I believe the record shows that the Verisign launch was a fully-ICANN approved testbed using the previous format RACE.)

Not suggesting a workable way? when the way they suggested was the one adopted?

Not ready to work on a common standard? when their staff led the standardization effort at IETF?  when they waited to deploy until a standard was agreed in 2003?

>Most of the other ways were technically very different and typically involved custom name servers, like the ones sold by the company already mentioned.

This is not true.

The concept originally proposed is what prevails today and is championed by IETF and ICANN.  There were format choices available back then.  The interim format suggested (RACE) upon re-evaluation by IETF was replaced with, among many possible formats, Punycode.  RACE itself is still considered one of the best choices after Punycode.  (In fact RACE itself was approved by ICANN for use by Verisign.)

As for custom servers, since ICANN and the West showed no interest, and therefore no inclination, to insert the top level domain names into their global root, by necessity custom servers acting as roots were set up.  But they used identical software (BIND etc) as the servers.  There was no difference in anything but who had the "key" to the servers - in that sense, and only in that sense, were they "custom."

>I still wait for pointers to practical descriptions of IDN, before RFC 3490 and others, which can be said to have been "blueprints".

With the very voluminous pointers previously given to you, you might have taken a look, yourself.  Wisdom comes, I think, largely to those who can see beyond their own, otherwise circumscribed, field of view.

You are looking for pointers to pre-2003 presentations and practical descriptions - appended below is a partial list of presentations/workshops conducted by i-dns.net, its pre-cursors and its employees.  Again, you might have found them yourself.  Most are in English, even, and available in the archives of their well-known parent organizations.

To start off, here is a pointer to a technical presentation of an early version that contains the main concept.  The occasion is the Unicode conference, Boston in March 1999.  Note the presenter's coordinates.

http://unicode.org/iuc/iuc14/program.html  Details at

Session C6:
/2:50 pm - 3:30 pm/
   *iDNS - An Experimental DNS System with Unicode Support* <http://unicode.org/iuc/iuc14/a341.html>
/Juay-Kwang Tan <http://unicode.org/iuc/iuc14/b041.html>, Research Officer, Bioinformatics Centre, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Here is another starter, an RFC filing on the core Unicode-to-DNS concept of IDN, made by the Singapore team to the IETF back in mid-1999, which was then extended for another six months into 2000. This was already in a bullet point in the Early History of IDN (from Wikipedia) that Subbiah cut/paste for your convenience earlier. Here is the line cut from Subbiah's earlier email for you.

07/99: [12] <http://mirrors.isc.org/pub/www.watersprings.org/pub/id/draft-jseng-utf5-00.txt>; Renewed 2000 [13] <http://www.nic.ad.jp/ja/idn/mdnkit/download/documents/mdnkit-2.4-doc/reference/draft/draft-jseng-utf5-01.txt> Internet Draft on UTF5 by James *Seng*, Martin *Duerst* and *Tan* Tin Wee.

Since you profess difficulty to find this material, I have cut/paste the underlying IETF RFC, above at [13] (the six months extended version), and am sending it in a separate email.

At 3:44 PM +0100 2/23/07, Stephane Bortzmeyer wrote:
>Please read before replying.

It looks like this shoe can fit well on another foot.



   * (/Paper/) - Internationalized Domain Names Registration and Administration Guideline for Chinese, Japanese and Korean, J. Seng, J. Klensin, K. Konishi, K. Huang, H. Qian, Y. Ko. (Published as RFC 3743 in April 2004)


   * (/Paper/) ITSC, Synthesis (Singapore) - Internationalization and Localization of the Internet http://james.seng.cc/files/public/internationalisation_localisation.pdf
   * (/Paper/) - Internationalized Domain Names and Unique Identifiers, L.M. Tseng, J.M. Ho, H. Qian, K. Huang, J. Seng
   * ICANN, ccTLD (Marina del Ray, CA) - Internationalized Domain Names Working Group Update
   * INET'2001 (Stockholm, Sweden) - chair of Internationalized Access to Domain Names Panel
   * Internet Week 2001 (Yokohama, Japan) - IDN SDK
   * ITSC, Unicode development (Singapore) - Internationalized Domain Names and Unicode/ISO10646
   * APRICOT'01 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) - Tutorial on Internationalized Domain Names
   * JDNA (Tokyo, Japan) - IDN and IETF Standardization
   * itsAsia (Singapore) - Internationalized Domain Names Working Group
   * itsAsia (Singapore) - Common Name Resolution Protocol
   * Joint ITU/WIPO Symposium (Geneva) - Internationalized Domain Names
   * ASTAP (Bangkok, Thailand) - Introduction to Internationalized Domain Names
   * Internet2/MINC (Hawaii, HO) - ASCII Compatible Encoding
   * WWW10 (Hong Kong) - Internationalized Identifiers


   * (/Paper/) APIA Issues 4: Celebrating Babel, J. Seng
   * (/Paper/) - Requirements of Internationalized Domain Names, J. Seng, Z. Wenzel
   * APAN'2000 (Japan) - Internationalized Domain Name System
   * APTLD'2000(Seoul, Korea) - Bring Internationalized Internet to Everyone
   * INET'2000 (Yokohama, Japan) - Bring Internationalized Internet to Everyone
   * RIPE-39 (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - Internationalized Domain Names Working Group
   * ICANN (Marina del Ray, CA) - Integration of IETF Standards in i-DNS.net


   * APAN-KR (Daejeon, Korea) - Internationalized Domain Name System
   * APNG at INET'99 (San Jose, CA) - Internationalized Domain Name Testbed Update
   * APRICOT'99 (Singapore) - Internationalized Domain Name Services
   * TamilNet99 (Tamil Nadu, India) - Internationalized Domain Name Services

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
     governance at lists.cpsr.org
To be removed from the list, send any message to:
     governance-unsubscribe at lists.cpsr.org

For all list information and functions, see:

More information about the Governance mailing list