Re: I-D ACTION:draft-ietf-acap-mlsf-00.txt

From: Martin J. Duerst (
Date: Thu Jun 05 1997 - 15:43:09 EDT

Mark Crispin <> wrote:

> On Wed, 4 Jun 97 17:12:08 -0700, Rick McGowan wrote:
> > Mark -- Specifically, from where in the IETF community is pressure for ISO
> > 2022 coming? It's a little difficult to believe that it's "great"
> > pressure...
> > Well, actually I can believe great pressure coming in small but excessively
> > noisy pip-squeak packages... :-)
> As you might expect, it's in Japan and China, and the usual suspects are
> implicated. But you shouldn't underestimate the harm they have caused. Many
> more individuals are aroused and fearful, including folks that I have to work
> with.

The spreading of all kinds of rumors about Unicode has indeed lead
to a somewhat negative climate. In general, there is much lack of
knowledge about Unicode, and of course there are very few people
that can explain the issues to Japanese with the necessary background.
But in real discussions, with experts, questions are usually quickly
solved. I remember one discussion where a very well known and respected
specialist of multilingual computing was arguing about two shapes
that even I concede might be on the "over"unifying side. The discussion
continued up to a contribution of a Japanese specialist who mentionned
a Japanese writer in the 19th century who used to write his name
alternatively with both forms. The discussion was over.

I remember many other such discussions.

> It was unfortunate that there weren't any Unicoders at the March multilingual
> symposium in Tsukuba this year. The usual suspects were noticable by their
> absence (one in particular I was very happy to see was not there); and most of
> the attendees were very positive about Unicode. But it was clear to all that
> language tagging was criticial.

Well, I'm not an Unicoder in the narrow sense, but I was there.
My conclusion, povisionally made even before the workshop, and very
much confirmed, was that Unicode was just going to happen, and that
the Japanese would use it, maybe without knowing it. Glenn Adams has
made such predictions already a few years ago, and now I was watching
them comming true.

As for language tagging, that might have been your own conclusion,
but the issue was never discussed in detail. I would definitely have
had my reservations. The issue came up shortly in a question to one
of my talks, but the only conclusion there was that the one hour
of work to implement a heuristic to choose between a Chinese and
a Japanese font didn't lead to a very satisfactory result.

> It has only been by some very firm statements and assurances by me that I've
> managed to hold the line on Unicode usage in IMAP. Unfortunately, to my
> horror, several statements made from UTC members in this discussion are in
> direct conflict with those assurances.

I only know IMAP folder name internationalization. And I have no idea
that there would be any language tags in these names, nor that any
would be needed. Maybe you can expand?

Regards, Martin.

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