Unicode and internet standards (was: Re: Should I laugh or cry?)

From: Martin J. Duerst (mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch)
Date: Wed Dec 18 1996 - 07:57:34 EST

On Tue, 17 Dec 1996, Mark wrote:

> In the next 6 months we should see:
> - the next generation of browers (Internet Explorer 4.0 & Navigator 4.0)
> being Unicode-enabled (UTF-8). (They have both committed to this.)
> - Java 1.1 having much more support for Unicode.
> Given that, the problem you describe should be gone within the next
> year. The concrete steps that I think we can all take to help further
> this process are to evangealize secondary products to be
> Unicode-enabled:
> - the web authoring tools (PageMill, HomePage, FrontPage,...).
> - the web search engines (Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, WebCrawler,
> HotBot...).
> ...

Add to that evangelization on internet standards. URNs are going
UTF-8. Ftp is also going UTF-8. Needed quite some discussion to
convince people.
Currently, I and others are working on dns (see below), URLs,
http 1.1 (trying to fix some obvious oversights and some lousy
design decisions, and fighting a big heap of inertia), and so on.
Evangelization helps a lot as the internet process works by "rough
consensus", and a few mails to the lists from here and there with
tidpieces about the advantages, the importance and the spread of
Unicode help a lot to add momentum, and to not let the others on
these lists, who usually have only marginal interests in I18N,
forget the issues.

Anyway, here is the official anouncement of the first version of
my proposal to internationalize domain names. I am working on a
second version, and greatly appreciate any comments and ideas
on the technical side.

I also appreciate any comments on the desirability of this
(in particular of course of the form: We waited for it
for a long time, we would immediately go on with it as
soon as it is decided :-) and any comments on political
issues (of the form "that's the easiest way to make this
become reality).

Regards, Martin.

From Internet-Drafts@ietf.org Wed Dec 18 13:40:02 1996
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 09:38:25 -0500
From: Internet-Drafts@ietf.org
To: IETF-Announce: ;
Subject: I-D ACTION:draft-duerst-dns-i18n-00.txt

 A New Internet-Draft is available from the on-line Internet-Drafts

       Title : Internationalization of Domain Names
       Author(s) : M. Duerst
       Filename : draft-duerst-dns-i18n-00.txt
       Pages : 13
       Date : 12/16/1996

Internet domain names are currently limited to a very restricted character
set. This document proposes the introduction of a new "zero-level" domain
(ZLD) to allow the use of arbitrary characters from the Universal Character
Set (ISO 10646/Unicode) in domain names. The proposal is fully backwards
compatible and does not need any changes to DNS.

Internet-Drafts are available by anonymous FTP. Login with the username
"anonymous" and a password of your e-mail address. After logging in,
type "cd internet-drafts" and then
     "get draft-duerst-dns-i18n-00.txt".
A URL for the Internet-Draft is:
Internet-Drafts directories are located at:
     o Africa: ftp.is.co.za
     o Europe: nic.nordu.net
     o Pacific Rim: munnari.oz.au
     o US East Coast: ds.internic.net
     o US West Coast: ftp.isi.edu
Internet-Drafts are also available by mail.
Send a message to: mailserv@ds.internic.net. In the body type:
     "FILE /internet-drafts/draft-duerst-dns-i18n-00.txt".
NOTE: The mail server at ds.internic.net can return the document in
      MIME-encoded form by using the "mpack" utility. To use this
      feature, insert the command "ENCODING mime" before the "FILE"
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