RE: RFC 1766

From: Mike Brown (
Date: Thu Aug 10 2000 - 13:40:19 EDT

> the claim that RFC 1766 freezes obsolete versions

Actually, the claim is that RFC 1766 could be interpreted that way, not that
it is actually trying to say so. The RFC author's recent statement of intent
clarifies that a more lenient interpretation is prudent.

The reason it is important to have this statement of intent is because, in
the world of specifications, some (many?) would argue that the letter of the
'law' must be followed when the intent -- some higher, more abstract 'truth'
-- cannot be unambiguously divined from the materials at hand. How obviously
sensible one interpretation is over another is a subjective assessment that
inevitably results in differing implementations and translations
(translations like when I give xml:lang advice to coworkers).

> Although the 39 Articles denounced "the Romish doctrine of
> Purgatory", they did not denounce the Roman doctrine, and
> clearly Romish != Roman. So believers in the Roman
> doctrine might continue to belong to the Anglican Church....

'Although RFC 1766 references old versions of ISO 639 and ISO 3166, it does
not explicitly prohibit using newer versions of those standards, and clearly
old versions != new versions. So people who use the newer standards are

In my opinion, it is highly preferable to seek clarifications from the
authors and/or experts on the literature in question than to assume that a
loose interpretation must be what was intended just because it's easier for
one to deal with the consequences of that interpretation.

   - Mike
Mike J. Brown, software engineer at My XML/XSL resources: in Denver, Colorado, USA

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