[OT] Reusing the same property (was: RE: PRI #202: Extensions to NameAliases.txt for Unicode 6.1.0)

From: Doug Ewell <doug_at_ewellic.org>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2011 07:32:10 -0700

Philippe Verdy <verdy underscore p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote, among much

> I think the problem has been taken by the wrong end. Really, the UCS
> namespace of characters has *never* been designed to allow any custom
> alias. In other words, what Perl did, by adding those custom aliases,
> was clearly not conforming to the standard.
> What Perl should have used is not reusing the same property to
> reference both the standard names (or aliases) and its own custom
> aliases (even if those aliases are needed and widely known).

I don't know if this was what Philippe had in mind, but it reminded me
of a situation in the world of language tagging.

Apparently ISO 639-3/RA got a request, from an individual associated
with a Very Well-Known Web Site, to change the 639-3 code element for
the Wawa language from 'www' to something else. Turns out that the site
uses language codes in its URLs to link to different language versions:

- www.example.org links to the generic site
- en.example.org links to the English-language site
- fr.example.org links to the French-language site

And they wanted to have a site in Wawa, and encountered a name

The problem was not the ISO 639-3 had used a TLA that might have been
used in some other computer-related context, but rather that the
Well-Known Site chose to use the same namespace both for the generic
'www' portion of a URL and for individual language codes -- "reusing the
same property," in a way. The assumption was that no collision would
ever occur because a language code of 'www' would never exist, which may
have made sense before 3-letter language codes existed, but that was
quite a long time ago.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14
www.ewellic.org | www.facebook.com/doug.ewell | @DougEwell ­
Received on Wed Aug 31 2011 - 09:38:22 CDT

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