re: New Internet-Draft draft-ietf-acap-langtag-00.txt

From: Mark Crispin (
Date: Thu Jun 19 1997 - 10:50:10 EDT

My reaction upon reading this document is "RFC 1815". It leaves me with the
exact same feeling; the feeling that one gets upon buying something from a
salesman who really didn't want to sell the product in the first place and
wants to make it as unpleasant as possible.

Like RFC 1815, half of the document is a polemic to the effect that you really
don't need it, but if you insist here's how you should do it (but don't do
it). In the remainder, there is no former specification of the TELT and STLT
proposals other than the C code that implements it.

From my perspective, TELT is completely unacceptable to me and everyone else
who wants to have language tags in plaintext. It's just another reiteration
of the "use rich text" argument; TELT in effect is "HTML made real simple".
TELT does not layer well; many other applications assign semantic meanings to
"<" and ">" so quoting is required.

TELT really is not plaintext at all.

STLT is less objectionable than TELT, but still has problems. STLT is
basically a "just give us one codepoint as a mark and we'll go from there"
proposal. Unlike plane 14, this requires explicit knowledge of STLT's
semantics, since the characters used in the tag are ordinary graphic
characters. In plane 14, the tag characters can be specified as zero-width.

STLT is also not very general. Any future tagging needs would require a new
mark. The use of "#" as a terminator may also cause problems

Leaving aside the technical inferiorities of this proposal compared to plane
14, this really doesn't save UTC anything over plane 14. Rather than
creating a general purpose tagging mechanism, it sets a precedent for
acquiring codepoints for special purpose marks.

I don't see either of these as being viable alternatives to MLSF. Plane 14 is
a viable alternative.

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