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Old 26th August 2007, 07:12 AM
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Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Full use of electronic mail throughout the world requires that people
be able to use their own names, written correctly in their own
languages and scripts, as mailbox names in email addresses. This
document introduces a series of specifications that define mechanisms
and protocol extensions needed to fully support internationalized
email addresses. These changes include an SMTP extension and
extension of email header syntax to accommodate UTF-8 data. The
document set also includes discussion of key assumptions and issues
in deploying fully internationalized email.

http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4952.txt
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Old 26th August 2007, 08:37 AM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

I just read this RFC and I don't think that requiring extensions to mail servers is the answer. There are too many of them out there and many people simply won't upgrade them.

I think the answer is to update email programs to 1) only accept UTF-8 input (no shift_jis or big5), and 2) simply use punycode in front of the @.

As well, command shells should be updated to translate to punycode. For example, if I open a command shell (terminal) and issue:

Code:
$ ping フェイシャル.jp
The "ping" program should have been linked with libidn during compilation time and should automatically translate my request to be:

Code:
$ ping xn--eckf3cvg1c3b.jp

All programs which accept domain names as arguments should be linked with libidn to support IDNs. Examples are telnet, ftp, ssh, ping, traceroute, whois, nslookup, host, wget, etc.


This is already working to a certain extent on the latest linux Fedora Core 7.

Code:
[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ ping xn--eckf3cvg1c3b.jp
PING フェイシャル.jp (124.108.36.118) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from tokyo.netauth.com (124.108.36.118): icmp_seq=1 ttl=36 time=301 ms
64 bytes from tokyo.netauth.com (124.108.36.118): icmp_seq=2 ttl=36 time=300 ms

--- フェイシャル.jp ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 2 received, 33% packet loss, time 1999ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 300.809/301.399/301.989/0.590 ms

--- フェイシャル.jp ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2000ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 300.160/300.744/301.081/0.414 ms
See above - ping automatically converted the punycode to unicode! Surprising.


Code:
[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ ping フェイシャル.jp
PING フェイシャル.jp (124.108.36.118) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from tokyo.netauth.com (124.108.36.118): icmp_seq=1 ttl=31 time=300 ms
64 bytes from tokyo.netauth.com (124.108.36.118): icmp_seq=2 ttl=36 time=301 ms
64 bytes from tokyo.netauth.com (124.108.36.118): icmp_seq=3 ttl=36 time=300 ms

--- フェイシャル.jp ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2000ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 300.160/300.744/301.081/0.414 ms

See above - ping can accept a UTF-8 domain name!


Code:
[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ ldd /bin/ping
        linux-gate.so.1 =>  (0x008f8000)
        libidn.so.11 => /usr/lib/libidn.so.11 (0x002c3000)
        libc.so.6 => /lib/libc.so.6 (0x00539000)
        /lib/ld-linux.so.2 (0x80000000)
See above - ping was linked with libidn during compilation time.


Code:
[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ ssh フェイシャル.jp
ssh: \343\203\225\343\202\247\343\202\244\343\202\267\343\203\243\343\203\253.jp: Name or service not known


[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ ldd /usr/bin/ssh
        linux-gate.so.1 =>  (0x00717000)
        libresolv.so.2 => /lib/libresolv.so.2 (0x0048d000)
        libcrypto.so.6 => /lib/libcrypto.so.6 (0x00c79000)
        libutil.so.1 => /lib/libutil.so.1 (0x00909000)
        libz.so.1 => /lib/libz.so.1 (0x003e6000)
        libnsl.so.1 => /lib/libnsl.so.1 (0x007d0000)
        libcrypt.so.1 => /lib/libcrypt.so.1 (0x006c1000)
        libgssapi_krb5.so.2 => /usr/lib/libgssapi_krb5.so.2 (0x00f4e000)
        libkrb5.so.3 => /usr/lib/libkrb5.so.3 (0x00246000)
        libk5crypto.so.3 => /usr/lib/libk5crypto.so.3 (0x00aa6000)
        libcom_err.so.2 => /lib/libcom_err.so.2 (0x00534000)
        libdl.so.2 => /lib/libdl.so.2 (0x0065c000)
        libc.so.6 => /lib/libc.so.6 (0x0090d000)
        libkrb5support.so.0 => /usr/lib/libkrb5support.so.0 (0x00818000)
        libkeyutils.so.1 => /lib/libkeyutils.so.1 (0x00110000)
        /lib/ld-linux.so.2 (0x00a6c000)
SSH was not linked with libidn. Wonder what the Fedora folks were thinking?



Code:
[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ telnet フェイシャル.jp
telnet: フェイシャル.jp: Name or service not known
フェイシャル.jp: Unknown host


[jacksonm@laptop ~]$ ldd /usr/bin/telnet
        linux-gate.so.1 =>  (0x00fc0000)
        libutil.so.1 => /lib/libutil.so.1 (0x003b0000)
        libncurses.so.5 => /lib/libncurses.so.5 (0x00110000)
        libc.so.6 => /lib/libc.so.6 (0x00130000)
        libtinfo.so.5 => /lib/libtinfo.so.5 (0x007fc000)
        libdl.so.2 => /lib/libdl.so.2 (0x004a5000)
        /lib/ld-linux.so.2 (0x00cca000)

Telnet was also not linked with libidn, neither was ftp. I think this was simply forgotten, and I may file some bug reports to Fedora 7.


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Last edited by jacksonm; 26th August 2007 at 09:22 AM..
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Old 26th August 2007, 08:37 AM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

I read about this issue on the thunderbird site, the "bug ticket" has been open 5 years!
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Old 26th August 2007, 09:49 AM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by websjapan
I read about this issue on the thunderbird site, the "bug ticket" has been open 5 years!
Wow! And it isn't even a MicroS*ft product!
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Old 26th August 2007, 09:54 AM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Yeah - I cannot wait until this is fixed... it is the biggest downside of IDNs as I see it.

The perfect promotion of IDNs tool is e-mail addresses which actually work in native text - also it is the annoying thing at the moment (not everyone will accept an e-mail address like "xn-1234567"... many will delete it thinking it is spam - so one really has to use another e-mail address for IDN domains which works in ascii).
Also it would be great to have a fully native e-mail address (to the left of the @ as well... rather than mixing ascii and native language scripts for an e-mail address).

Hope MS includes this support in an upgrade with IE7 etc. quickly really (but suspect given their recent performance they won't).

Cheers, Asiaplay

PS: are there any e-mail clients which can accept this at the moment (complete full native UTF-8 e-mail addresses)?
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Old 26th August 2007, 10:26 AM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

I think idn is a natural thing. It will happen-we'd need to wait, of course, but it looks like a sure thing. I, for my part, don't mind to wait for something that is sure to come. The issue at hand is to to pick up your fights wisely and not overstretch (for those who have limited resources)
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Old 26th August 2007, 11:51 AM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Vista and Office 2007, as I understand it fully support IDN for email, therefore it is reasonable to assume that IE7 does too. It is the old MS Mail Servers that are the problem, although Outlook (Not Outlook Express) worked with the Verisign Pluggin.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiaplay
Yeah - I cannot wait until this is fixed... it is the biggest downside of IDNs as I see it.

The perfect promotion of IDNs tool is e-mail addresses which actually work in native text - also it is the annoying thing at the moment (not everyone will accept an e-mail address like "xn-1234567"... many will delete it thinking it is spam - so one really has to use another e-mail address for IDN domains which works in ascii).
Also it would be great to have a fully native e-mail address (to the left of the @ as well... rather than mixing ascii and native language scripts for an e-mail address).

Hope MS includes this support in an upgrade with IE7 etc. quickly really (but suspect given their recent performance they won't).

Cheers, Asiaplay

PS: are there any e-mail clients which can accept this at the moment (complete full native UTF-8 e-mail addresses)?
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Old 26th August 2007, 12:05 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

It really won't come together until the entire address can be native. IDN.IDN is the holy grail. Until then, we are all just waiting for the market to open up. It has been a long road so far, and we are seeing some vindication, but the email addresses have to be native. Additionally, users have to actually have the software installed.

In one or two years, things will be very good. In five years, they will be incredible.... As long as IDN.IDN means we get the .IDN versions and we don't have to compete in another gold rush.
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Old 26th August 2007, 12:10 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsinternet
As long as IDN.IDN means we get the .IDN versions and we don't have to compete in another gold rush.
LOL! I wouldn't hold my breath. Don't underestimate the greed of the registries; they will figure out a way to get additional money from IDN.IDN.

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Old 26th August 2007, 12:24 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

That is the very reason I register those silly Latin domains: French, Spanish, Portuguese....

If .IDN is another Gold Rush, I will already have some.
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Old 26th August 2007, 12:27 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

The whole point is you couldn't compete anyway. The way things are going all good names in future will be sold to the highest bidder.

IDN.IDN is definitely coming. The ccTLDs will within reason get exactly what they want for their own official languages. And this will almost certainly happen in November after the Test Strings has been evaluated using artificial traffic.

The evidence so far is that there is no real problem with IDN.ASCII for type in. And if nothing else comes along in the near future this is likely to become the norm. It is unlikely that anyone else is going to get anything that is going to be confused as dot com. Verisign may not get exactly what they want as an alias, but it really matters little. Those that type in for a dot com site will soon adjust to the new alias if they feel they have to have an alias at all. The whole point is that it is the Brand that matters. Dot Com is a megabrand. You are not telling me that Chinese that wants a Ferrari is going to settle for a Daewoo, simply because he has problems with the translation. He may not be able to say Ferrari or even write it, but I am damned sure he will end up driving what he has dreamt of.

Yes email is important, and the bit to the left of the @ is important because that is going to be the bit that most difficult to remember. In the West you might ricky.walker@tesco.com. Which bit are you going to struggle with? If however, it is ricky.walker@idn.com, it isn't actually any harder for a Chinese to understand. It will be ten million times clearer to him if it is all in Chinese Characters but the fact that he is little better off than before is not a huge impediment.

Those that feel this is important will deal with it. Those that don't won't. The big companies are not going to want to be left out on this deal. Neither will trend setting individuals, or the Xenophobic. Basically, those for which it doesn't matter enough to get the problem sorted probably don't matter that much anyway!


Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsinternet
It really won't come together until the entire address can be native. IDN.IDN is the holy grail. Until then, we are all just waiting for the market to open up. It has been a long road so far, and we are seeing some vindication, but the email addresses have to be native. Additionally, users have to actually have the software installed.

In one or two years, things will be very good. In five years, they will be incredible.... As long as IDN.IDN means we get the .IDN versions and we don't have to compete in another gold rush.
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Old 26th August 2007, 12:42 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Yes, but I will feel so-o-o-o much better when the whole thing is resolved. When someone can use an entire email address and URL (even 'http'?) in native language. I will know we were right.

I have been spending time on ASCII boards lately to gauge the level of interest in IDN and to prove I am not a moonie (to myself). They are into three and now four-letter ASCII nonsense domains. They have no idea about any market but English. These people are from the USA and India for the most part. Also, Australia, UK, and Asia.

Stepping outside our world, I see how far we have come and how far we have to go.

FYI - Some World Language Use Statistics:

Mandarin Chinese 13.69%, Spanish 5.05%, English 4.84%, Hindi 2.82%, Portuguese 2.77%, Bengali 2.68%, Russian 2.27%, Japanese 1.99%, Standard German 1.49%, Wu Chinese 1.21% (2004 est.)
note: percents are for "first language" speakers only and therefore do not add to 100%
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Old 26th August 2007, 12:48 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Yes, it is still going to be a while before we have the Golden Scenario, but there is NO downside. The worst case scenario for Asian users is where we are at right now, even if they still don't fully appreciate that fact!
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Old 26th August 2007, 12:53 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsinternet
Yes, but I will feel so-o-o-o much better when the whole thing is resolved. When someone can use an entire email address and URL (even 'http'?) in native language. I will know we were right.
This brings up an interesting point which I hadn't considered before, the protocol specifiers for URLs are in ascii.

http://
ftp://
dav://
ssh://
ldap://

etc.

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Old 26th August 2007, 01:17 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Yes, it is still going to be a while before we have the Golden Scenario, but there is NO downside. The worst case scenario for Asian users is where we are at right now, even if they still don't fully appreciate that fact!
I believe that the doomsday scenario (.IDN gold rush) would have a downside. For us. The ccTLD domains would be certainly less valuable than we had projected. Remember that some of us are expecting a certain ROI greater than current ASCII fresh reg domains can produce.

I won't die if my domains simply make reg fee every year, but I will certainly be disillusioned and will probably sell them off cheaply. If you think the market is stagnant for IDN.ASCII now, just wait to see what happens if the doomsday scenario strikes. The current market will look like an unsustainable bubble to be burst.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonm
This brings up an interesting point which I hadn't considered before, the protocol specifiers for URLs are in ascii.

http://
ftp://
dav://
ssh://
ldap://

etc.

.
I wasn't sure if the other Language versions of windows used ASCII for http:// or not. I just imagined that it would be wonderful to see the whole URL in native languages.

Last edited by burnsinternet; 26th August 2007 at 01:19 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 26th August 2007, 01:22 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonm
This brings up an interesting point which I hadn't considered before, the protocol specifiers for URLs are in ascii.

http://
ftp://
dav://
ssh://
ldap://

etc.

.
True and those won't be changing which is why all that http://www. stuff has been buried at browser level. You forget them, the browser simply adds it by default. For most people there really is only one, the rest are for the anoraks.





Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsinternet
I believe that the doomsday scenario (.IDN gold rush) would have a downside. For us. The ccTLD domains would be certainly less valuable than we had projected. Remember that some of us are expecting a certain ROI greater than current ASCII fresh reg domains can produce.

I won't die if my domains simply make reg fee every year, but I will certainly be disillusioned and will probably sell them off cheaply. If you think the market is stagnant for IDN.ASCII now, just wait to see what happens if the doomsday scenario strikes. The current market will look like an unsustainable bubble to be burst.



I wasn't sure if the other Language versions of windows used ASCII for http:// or not. I just imagined that it would be wonderful to see the whole URL in native languages.
You are starting to sound like one of those Religious nuts that stands on the pavement shouting The End of the World is Nigh.

The only people that are talking about an alternative registry for ccTLDs with separate domain spaces are the Russian. That is because Paraguay is effectively blocking the natural translation of .RU. This is not such a huge issue except for perhaps the Kremlin as they are the only one's that have an IDN.ru! I still think they have enough influence though to get what they need in the new extension without paying a huge premium.

China and Hong-Kong have already set the trend by handing out both versions to the same owner. At the ICANN meetings, it was pretty clear that this was the general intention.

The only fly in the ointment to date is Dot Gonzi. Here there is problem because the Chinese are not able to simply claim ICANN extension, whilst Verisign is also claiming the same extension, it would seem, although the process has not been fully determined let alone a result decided. The weakness in Verisigns case is that dot Com means commercial not company. Although this didn't exactly make it a failure in American, now did it?

Back on the email side of things, again like Urls, it is not an either or thing. You can easily run both or even multiple versions to the same mail box, which means progressive steps can be implemented. What is important large companies is that have a Route Map and a Time Frame. They will have this pretty soon. We are likely to two version of URLs and Email Addresses advertised in the short term. Those that are happy with the Japanese version will use that, those that are not won't. All version will always resolve, but the Japanese version can evolve from just second level through the entire domain, then onto the entire email address being resolved with no disruption and no backward compatibility issues. It will simply require people that know what they are talking about! Perhaps, if it is going to prove that difficult I should get out to Tokyo and set up myself as a consultant. I know bugger all about computers, but I am sure I could sort that out!
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Last edited by Rubber Duck; 26th August 2007 at 01:41 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 26th August 2007, 01:50 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
You are starting to sound like one of those Religious nuts that stands on the pavement shouting The End of the World is Nigh.
I just took some of your rants about the US economy and change some of the words. :p
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Old 26th August 2007, 01:58 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsinternet
I just took some of your rants about the US economy and change some of the words.
Yes, but come back in 6 months and tell me again, and we will see which Smiley Icon you are using. 8)

They are only Rants if I am wrong!
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Old 26th August 2007, 02:09 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Yes, but come back in 6 months and tell me again, and we will see which Smiley Icon you are using. 8)

They are only Rants if I am wrong!
Ditto
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Old 26th August 2007, 04:22 PM
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Re: Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email

Well on the economy, I am pretty confident.

US has kissed good-bye to its automotive industry without much of a fight. They seem to oblivious to the threat Silicon Valley and Seattle. The entire competitiveness of the economy seems to be based on the Cold War Scenario of not much serious competition. Now they have decided that it is a good idea for the Financial Sector which apparently account for 30% of the total to scam all its foreign investors which it has been come so dependant on for its life blood.

I can't honestly see most foreign investors taking most of your financial instruments seriously over the next couple of years and that includes the dollar!

I am also pretty confident on the IDN!
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