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Old 19th July 2011, 08:39 PM
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There's no "I" in IDN

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/arch.../10186414.aspx


Now we start with IDN.
Internationalized Domain Names.
This eries has been covering several aspects and issues of them.
Next we talk about EAI.
Email Address Internationalization.
Now there is a definite relationship between the two.
I mean, since every email domain name is like domain name.
And every email address is in the format {account name} @ {domain name}.
However, we are talking about two different sets of standards, with two entirely different sets of purposes.
The guiding principle for IDN has been the paranoid fear of the Internet going down due to an attempt to send non-ASCII domains for lookup -- all of the effort to go through NamePrep and Punycode is around providing a canonically stable enoding of Unicode that is representable in ASCII. Since the Internet has been using an "LDH" (letters A-Z/digits 0-9/hyphen) form of ASCII.
No one wants the Internet to go down, and a little paranoia can be healthy, so this was a compromise everyone could live with.
EAI, on the other hand, suffers from some negative points -- like the fact that there is a lot of spam.
And there are a lot of similar people with similar mail clients and servers out there.
And a lot less consistency between the folks sending spam and the folks using email productively.
So EAI did a lot of work to keep International email adresses in UTF-8 -- and not in Punycode.
Now there are many approved top level domains (TLDs) for IDN, such as:
Bangladesh (bg): বাংলা
China (cn): 中國 (traditional); 中国 (simplified)
Egypt (eg): مصر
Hong Kong (hk): 香港 (same in simplified and traditional)
India (in): भारत, بھارت, భారత్, ભારત, ਭਾਰਤ, இந்தியா, ভারত
Palestinian Territory (ps): فلسطين
Qatar (qa): قطر
Russian Federation (ru): рф
Saudi Arabia (sa): السعودية
Sri Lanka (lk): ලංකා (Sinhalese); இலங்கை (Tamil)
Taiwan (tw): 台湾 (simplified); 台灣 (traditional)
Thailand (th): ไทย
Tunisia (tn): تونس
United Arab Emirates (ae): امارات
And there are many people out there who have registered domains with the appropiate registrars so that they can have web sites that used those domains.
However, when you talk to the customers and governments that worked so hard to get TLDs for use in IDN, very few are making the same push for EAI support of email addresses that use thiose domains (e.g. шеъмаѕтея@яцѕѕіа.рф as an email address is onsidered a lot less important to support ast the moment than the http://яцѕѕіа.рф website.
Part of this may be that one standard has been stable for some time and has both IANA approval and registration authorities. And several browsers that hav supported it for years at this point.
The other is not even a final standard yet officially, and there is a genuine dearth of established clients -- coupled with a very conservative sense of wanting the support to widely exist before so much undeliverble mail is inflicted on people.
To be honest it makes me wish they'd gone with a NamePrep/Punycode solution for the domain name piece of the email address, since these two very different things are actually seeing one as a genuine subset of the other, conceptually.
I doubt this situation will last forever, though when I look at 22 email addresses in the Email Addresses tab in Exchange to cover that one mailbox across so many different profiles, that adding one more should be less intrusive and dangerous, eventually
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Old 19th July 2011, 09:32 PM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

Yeah, the clue is sort of in the title.

"Michael Kaplan's random stuff of dubious value "

If anyone actually believes that email is actually going to be in Unicode rather than Punycode, only being decoded at the User interface, then they have been spending too much time reading their own blog.
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Old 20th July 2011, 02:22 AM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck View Post
If anyone actually believes that email is actually going to be in Unicode rather than Punycode, only being decoded at the User interface, then they have been spending too much time reading their own blog.
Maybe I've spent too much time reading other people's blogs, but when I follow the RFCs referenced in this posting: email_in_the_worlds_languages_part_iii I see things like:

utf8-addr-spec = utf8-local-part "@" utf8-domain (RFC 5335) and
uMailbox = uLocal-part "@" uDomain (RFC 5336)

It looks to me like the whole address is in unicode, not punycode.

Avtal
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Old 20th July 2011, 06:38 AM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avtal View Post
Maybe I've spent too much time reading other people's blogs, but when I follow the RFCs referenced in this posting: email_in_the_worlds_languages_part_iii I see things like:

utf8-addr-spec = utf8-local-part "@" utf8-domain (RFC 5335) and
uMailbox = uLocal-part "@" uDomain (RFC 5336)

It looks to me like the whole address is in unicode, not punycode.

Avtal
This is the specification of what you can put into the user interface. There is probably no Nameprep for what goes in front of the @ but if you think a string of Arabic or Chinese characters is going to mean anything to servers on the Email system then you have been sniffing too much of the white powder.
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Old 20th July 2011, 08:07 AM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

From the article:

--------
The part of an e-mail address after the @ is a domain name, so you can use A-labels there, too. But the part of the e-mail address before the @, the mailbox, is not a domain name, and for a variety of reasons not worth describing in detail, is not amenable to encoding as punycode or an A-label, although it's reasonable to assume that the mailbox is written in UTF-8. So to have proper internationalized mail, we need an extension to the mail system to handle UTF-8 in the mailbox part of the address, as well as in the other nooks and crannies that MIME doesn't handle.
--------

So its pretty straightforward. The new email standard is about the user names i.e. before the @. And yes, its a unicode solution, encoded in UTF-8. And yes, because of that, it will require completely new mail server software on every mail server that wants to handle unicode user names. So yes, it won't work reliably for a very very long.

After the @ is the A-label (address label), which we are all much more familiar with, as IDNA is part of that standard.

Last edited by domainguru; 20th July 2011 at 08:36 AM..
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Old 20th July 2011, 12:38 PM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

So the only Servers using UTF8 are end user servers and it is contigent on the User Organisations adopting and installing? The bit between your office server and you receiptients office server is not going to change one jot?
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Old 20th July 2011, 02:12 PM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck View Post
So the only Servers using UTF8 are end user servers and it is contigent on the User Organisations adopting and installing? The bit between your office server and you receiptients office server is not going to change one jot?
Not sure what you mean by "end user server" or "office server" ....

Mail is sent and received by mail servers, bits of software running on Internet servers. Plus of course client mail software will need to be upgraded (e.g. Outlook, webmail clients, mail apps) because none of those of course will expect user names to be in unicode. So that's pretty much everything connected with mail I think.

It will happen "in time" ....................

Last edited by domainguru; 20th July 2011 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 20th July 2011, 03:57 PM
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Re: There's no "I" in IDN

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru View Post
Not sure what you mean by "end user server" or "office server" ....

Mail is sent and received by mail servers, bits of software running on Internet servers. Plus of course client mail software will need to be upgraded (e.g. Outlook, webmail clients, mail apps) because none of those of course will expect user names to be in unicode. So that's pretty much everything connected with mail I think.

It will happen "in time" ....................
So you are saying that the entire email system is going to be handling part of the address in Chinese, Arabic or whatever, whilst the rest of it is punycode?

Actually, this is a pretty big deal because along with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, all Internet providers, registrars, registries and even ICANN are going to have to start programming computers to recognise raw Chinese and Arabic Characters.

Perhaps they should all try to recruit some programmers from SEDO to see how it is done?

I guess it only really a software update, but it starting to make the Moon Missions sound like a stroll in the park.
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