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ICANN Under Pressure Over Non-Latin Characters

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the cue-the-queen-album dept.

471

RidcullyTheBrown writes "A story from the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that ICANN is under pressure to introduce non-Latin characters into DNS names sooner rather than later. The effort is being spearheaded by nations in the Middle East and Asia. Currently there are only 37 characters usable in DNS entries, out of an estimated 50,000 that would be usable if ICANN changed naming restrictions. Given that some bind implementations still barf on an underscore, is this really premature?" From the article: "Plans to fast-track the introduction of non-English characters in website domain names could 'break the whole internet', warns ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey ... Twomey refuses to rush the process, and is currently conducting 'laboratory testing' to ensure that nothing can go wrong. 'The internet is like a fifteen story building, and with international domain names what we're trying to do is change the bricks in the basement,' he said. 'If we change the bricks there's all these layers of code above the DNS ... we have to make sure that if we change the system, the rest is all going to work.'" Given that some societies have used non-Latin characters for thousands of years, is this a bit late in coming?

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Changing a system (5, Insightful)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931804)

Changing a system which works is a very, very bad idea.

Wont this open up the system to many more phishing attacks involving addresses which include non-latin characters which look similar to latin ones?

Re:Changing a system (4, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931984)

That's one possible problem. Then there are characters that are technically equivilent but have different representations. (Accented vowels for instance: you can code them directly, or you can code the accent and the vowel seperate.) You need some way to make sure they both go the same place, no matter UTF-8, -16, -32 or whatever else people throw at it.

And, of course, you need to make sure when someone types this into a browser some major DNS server someplace won't crash.

I'm all for adding non-latin characters. But I do recognize that it should be a slow process.

Re:Changing a system (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932464)

And, of course, you need to make sure when someone types this into any application ever made that access the internet Fixed.

Re:Changing a system (4, Insightful)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932512)

Accented vowels would be a problem, at least in spanish. Though their use is "mandatory", people with mediocre spelling don't use them in the internet. Even people who use them don't always do it: even though the use of accents is mostly regular, there are many (and very common) irregular placements.

Let's say for instance we have an online shop for tea called "Sólo Té" (Tea Only). Both accents are due to irregular rules ("Sólo" = "Only" and "Solo" = "Alone", "Te" is a personal pronoun and "Té" = Tea). Some people would try the current www.solote.com, others would try the correct www.sóloté.com, some would try www.sólote.com and yet others www.soloté.com depending on their spelling capabilities.

What this basically means is that in order to make sure everybody finds your domain and to avoid phishing you have to register four different domains.

A solution to this problem could be what Google does right now with accents: map them to the unnacented vowel. Thus "Solo Te" and "Sólo Té" would both find the "Sólo Té" store.

Re:Changing a system (1)

Exocrist (770370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932562)

I'm all for adding support for non-latin characters. However, I do realize the problems with different encodings, similar looking characters, etc. Perhaps there should be a system that knows that certain characters are equivalent? I imagine that might cause some significant overhead...

There are already some systems that use this, for example: http://centralops.net/co/DomainDossier.aspx?addr=v rsn-end-of-zone-marker-dummy-record.root&dom_dns=t rue [centralops.net]
Click some of the links on the bottom.

As my old history teacher used to say ... (0, Troll)

with_him (815684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932002)

"I blame the communist!"

Re:Changing a system (0)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932224)

Definitely the truth, the system works, why change it. What I envision as a potential workaround is a layer that works above DNS. Keep DNS strictly as it is, but introduce an approved maybe even required in IPv6 system that works above the DNS system. Something akin to a search engine but that requires registration. So that you could register and endless array of weird character names, that all map down to a simple latin based DNS name and future browsers could show you the latin version as well for security verification purposes.

Re:Changing a system (5, Insightful)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932314)

But it's not working. Mainly for all those people that want non-latin characters. It's been broken from the beginning. Sure, there is historical reasons why we have the system we do, but change is definitely needed. Twomey is right that a change can't be rushed and it needs to be done right (for reasons of security, compatibility, stability, etc). However, the change does need to occur and there needs to be some level of pressure to ensure that it happens.

Re:Changing a system (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932378)

> Wont this open up the system to many more phishing attacks involving addresses which include non-latin characters which look similar to latin ones?

Even worse, although your problem is reason enough to postpone doing this change. It will break the very idea of the Internet as a common when URLs can't even be typed in on all keyboards. There are good reasons why DNS didn't even include the whole ASCII set. Least common denominator is a good design decision. Every character currently allowed is easy to generate on ALL keyboards, can be printed in an unambigious way by EVERY printing system, etc. Remember that a lot of wire services aren't even 7-bit ASCII clean, email addresses on a lot of news wires have to use (at) instead of @.

More bluntly, of what use is the parts of the Internet I can't even type the domain name for? As things now stand I CAN, and have, snarfed firmware directly from .com.tw sites where I couldn't read any of the text. Learned things from sites where I couldn't read anything but the code text and command lines. Seen images and understood even when the captions were meaningless to me. I'm sure the reverse is equally true, that those who do not speak English still benefit from the English majority of the Internet the same way. All this because DNS is currently universal. Break that universal access feature and, frankly they can just as easy ingore ICANN and just get the hell off the Internet and make their own walled garden network based in IPv6 technology.

At a minimum, unicode DNS should be restricted to IPv6 ONLY. No sense wasting scarce IPv4 resources on supporting walled off ghettos.

Re:Changing a system (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932436)

"More bluntly, of what use is the parts of the Internet I can't even type the domain name for?"

There might be some places that would like to block going to sites that don't have certain character sets as their name.

Re:Changing a system (2, Insightful)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932468)

Except that it doesn't. Being allowed to use 37 characters as a domain name is not what many people consider "working".

Re:Changing a system (2, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932584)

Wont this open up the system to many more phishing attacks involving addresses which include non-latin characters which look similar to latin ones?

Potentially, yes. But I'm not too bothered about that. Protecting people from their own stupidity is rarely a good long term strategy. However, i18n for DNS is a particularly bad idea for purely pragmatic reasons. Currently, anyone anywhere in the world can go to any URL in the world in their web browser. If we allow the full range of unicode characters, that simply ceases to be true. When URLs start containing unicode characters, many people are simply not going to be able to enter them into their computer (with current input methods, anyway). True, many of those sites will not be of interest to the average person that doesn't have a convenient way to enter the URL anyway. But there will always be those that need to grab a data sheet from a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, or look at live results from a sporting event in the middle east. That will cease to be possible with i18n. As you say, the system currently works. Changing it for political reasons is just stupid.

Re:Changing a system (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932588)

Changing a system which works is a very, very bad idea.


George? Is that you? We really need to talk about this Gitmo thing openly.

Re:Changing a system (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932604)

It already works [slashdot.org] , at least mostly (and assuming /. doesn't fuck up that URL).

Re:Changing a system (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932698)

Which it did. Well done, Slashcode.

Re:Changing a system (1)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932652)

Well, in many ways, the system does NOT work. It does not work for me when I want to register the name "zluounký" or "". It may work for people in the US, but it does not work for most of the world. It works in what it does but it does not do what people need.

Re:Changing a system (1)

benoitg (302050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932736)

I think it can be argued that as a naming system DNS doesn't work very well if it prevents most of the planet form using common, everyday words in their native language, or forces them to mis-spell them.

"But it works now, why change it?" Well, the same could have been said of IP addresses, and that didn't stop us from moving to DNS!

What? (5, Funny)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931808)

Wait, so it's not tubes... It's a 15 story building?

Anyone else getting more lost every day?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931872)

I think it's that the building is supported by tubes. Wait... no, it's supported by bricks in the basement. Um... so the tubes deliver por... I mean, spam throughout the building? Or maybe they have replaced elevators for transportation? I bet there's just one big waterslide from the top to the bottom.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932064)

those that live in 15 story buildings made of glass tubes should not throw brick laptop power supplies.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932338)

No, there are only 15 stories about the internet that are just retold with slight modifications. One is about tubes, one about bricks, etc, etc, etc...

Re:What? (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932430)

It's a 15-story building made of tubes and supported by a brick basement, on a flatbed truck headed down the information superhighway.

Re:What? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932488)

Well, it's not a truck, that's for damn sure.

Re:What? (1)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932664)

But the OSI model only has seven layers! Where did the other eight floors come from? Don't tell me they're redirected layer two to layer eight. Grandfathered IRQS are bad enough.

Re:What? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932702)

It works when you try thinking of them as shit bricks.

not the whole internet! (5, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931838)

It won't break the whole Internet! Just DNS. DNS is overrated anyway. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish reading all the new posts on 66.35.250.150.

Re:not the whole internet! (1, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932080)

And mail. And ... Hmm, yeah, the whole thing.

Seriously... How many mail servers are going to freak out because they can't handle unicode?

Base-Ten BIGOTRY, I say!!! (3, Funny)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932434)


Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish reading all the new posts on 66.35.250.150.

Base-Ten CHAUVINIST!!!

What about societies that use Base 2 [binary], or Base 8 [octal], or Base 16 [hexadecimal]?

Or entire societies, like the British empire, which use no base at all?

12 inches in a foot. 3 feet in a yard. 1760 yards in a mile...

60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in a hour. 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. 52 weeks in a year [give or take]...

Or how about base 12?

12 keys in a chromatic scale: A 440, then, logarithmically [give or take a little well-tempering [amazon.com] ]: A#, B, B# == C [kinda sorta], C#, D, D#, E, E# == F [kinda sorta], F#, G, G#, and finally A 880.

Except that on the continent, things are often just a little sharper - say A 443/444/445 & A 886/888/890...

And let's not even get into water freeezing & boiling at 32 & 212 versus 0 & 100...

Re:Base-Ten BIGOTRY, I say!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932580)

"Or entire societies, like the British empire, which use no base at all?"

Technically speaking this is "base inconvenient".

(Metric FTW!)

Yes and No (4, Insightful)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931842)

Yes, countries that use non-English characters should be able to interact with the rest of the world using their natural language. No, they shouldn't rush the change and risk a possible crash of a large portion of the Internet. Be patient young patawans, soon you will be able to have DNS names with any character you can think of, but it will be reliable and actually work.

Re:Yes and No (1)

RobertCorsaro (903911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931934)

You already can use illegal characters for DNS. Just don't use their system. Some of us have already become part of the undergroun.d.

Re:Yes and No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931944)

Patawans? d/t?

Re:Yes and No (1)

Asrynachs (1000570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932036)

What's wrong with saying this is the way ths system works. You'll have to deal with it? Why is it we have to change the way things work just because it's not precisely perfect in the minds of some people. The bloody middle east censors their internet anway. I imagine whatever dictatorships over there could claim a victory over the west by declaring that they've given in to their demands and now the populous can access their propoganda websites with the address of their native tounge.

Re:Yes and No (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932618)

I've already seen systems where Chinese characters can be directly used in the address bar. That was a browser add-on that only worked in IE, though.

Re:Yes and No - thinking long term (1)

bbernard (930130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932748)

Besides, think of how well prepared DNS will be to start supporting lookups in extra-terestrial languages when the time comes if we do this now! We'll be completely compatible with Martian, Klingon, Mimbari, and Vulcan networking systems the day we meet them! We should be able to view each other's pron almost immediately!

Break the whole Internet? (2, Funny)

GBWisc (659950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931862)

Plans to fast-track the introduction of non-English characters in website domain names could 'break the whole internet', warns ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey

Luckily for us, GWB knows that we have some redundancy with the Internets, so if one breaks we can just use another.

Re:Break the whole Internet? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931956)

Thank goodness Al Gore built it in. But what if one of the tubes leaks and the basement floods?

Maybe it's time to get rid of Bind? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931870)

Given that some bind implementations still barf on an underscore, is this really premature?
Maybe it's time to get rid of Bind? The Model-T of DNS implementations...

Re:Maybe it's time to get rid of Bind? (1)

huguley (87575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932220)


Right.... And use the wonderful MS DNS? The one that went against RFCs and introduced a non-standard character that horked up everything? I am sure MS would have this whole il8n thing sorted out in no time....

What exactly would you replace bind with? Oh wait you don't care your just a troll.

Re:Maybe it's time to get rid of Bind? (1)

igb (28052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932332)

Actually, back in the day bind _did_ tolerate underscores. I remember the anguish we had flushing machines called things like fileserver_one out the day that Vixie et al decided to enforce the standards. The DNS standards say [-a-z0-9], with dot as a delimiter. It's not the place for implementations to play hooky with that. For years there were hacks in bind to allow you to choose between accepting underscores in master zones (bad idea), secondary zones (quite bad idea) and recursive queries (sometimes unavoidable). Had the standards been followed in the first place this issue would never arise.

ian

That would be a good reason to get the UN in (2, Funny)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931918)

The ICANN tries to give a technical reason to a political problem, although this reason may be valid, it is not a very good idea. With the UN, it will be handled by international comitees and we will all be long dead before they finally agree on which country will be in that comitee.

Late in coming? (2, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931924)

Perhaps, but I can't fault ICANN for this one, as much as I might like to. Like it or not, most internet technologies have their roots in latin speaking countries, which means systems developed there may not be tweaked to work with outside language schemes.

If the fault lies with anyone, it's with the individual contributers of the tech. Or better, with the non-latin countries appearent lack of interest in some of the core projects needed to push this through ICANN ( specifically DNS, httpd ).

Re:Late in coming? (-1, Offtopic)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932058)

Germans love David Hasselhoff

Let me tell you... it's not just the Germans!

Re:Late in coming? (1)

radja (58949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932084)

although you're right, many of the latin-alphabet countries have at least some 'unique' letters, mostly ligatures, like the german ringel S(long S/short S ligature) and the dutch 'long y' (i/j ligature and different from the y). many of these letters don't appear in the alfabet itself.

Re:Late in coming? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932184)

Like it or not, most internet technologies have their roots in latin speaking countries

Yes, the Vatican State, back in the MCMLX's.

When you've built on a foundation of straw- (4, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931966)

- Don't be too surprised when people around you start building their own houses rather than choosing to pay rent.

DNS upheaval has been a long time coming, and the current anti-American sentiment worldwide isn't exactly helping to stabilize it. We're already seeing all sorts of adhoc routing setups that deal with shortcomings of an ameri-centric DNS. My guess is that within the next few years, ICANN's 'control' of the internet will be in name only as everyone else in the world will have moved on to alternative routing and domain systems.

Re:When you've built on a foundation of straw- (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932124)

Cool... sounds like a good solution to me. If someone can develop a better system that works for people who WANT to use it great.

Re:When you've built on a foundation of straw- (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932324)

I think you are confusing anti-American GOVERNMENT sentiment with anti-American PEOPLE sentiment. Oh, and don't forget, we built the Internet. We were there first. We laid the groundwork and did the first R&D. It was only later that other countries started to get involved. And at any point in those phases, they could have suggested these changes. Instead, they wait until the house it built and everyone else it hanging their family pictures to complain about the choice of land and demand everyone start over. The changes will come, but they will have to be slower and more tested now since they didn't speak up in the beginning.

Re:When you've built on a foundation of straw- (3, Insightful)

t0tAl_mElTd0wN (905880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932360)

I think that might be jumping the gun. American or not, the internet plays a huge role in the functionality of the modern world. Just imagine the chaos if international office networks went from "I can't open this word document you sent me because it's in a different format" to "I can't get email from you because you're on a different internet". American DNS control or not, decentralizing the internet like you suggest might happen could be one of the worst things that could happen for global communications.

Re:When you've built on a foundation of straw- (1)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932636)

Seems like a good time to hype IPv6. These ancient bind implementations probably can't resolve in the IPv6 address space anyway. So all we need to do is give country X an address block of XXXX. The main reason I point out IP blocks, is due to the fact that if a country has a domain name of citybank.com (with some crazy characters that appear the same), and the ip block is from a country that may be suspicious, then it allows phishing implementations to warn people from various countries.

And lets face it, in order for this stuff to work, the DNS portion is going to need a complete overhaul anyway. Really all you need is a translation table based system for character 'X' means 'xfg' in the legacy DNS entries - even if it makes no sense and doesn't form words. It sounds like a huge pain in the ass, but if these countries really want to do this (and I'm assuming they do) - then it's probably time we accommodate them before this grows into some screwed up system with no standards.

Stupid question (3, Insightful)

VENONA (902751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931974)

"Given that some societies have used non-Latin characters for thousands of years, is this a bit late in coming?"

No.

Zonk either knows zero about the histories of the Internet or DNS, or is so enamored of finishing stories with questions that he'll tack on the truly ridiculous.

Re:Stupid question (1, Offtopic)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932256)

Read the news. Is organized religion currently a net win, or a dead loss?

I like your sig... it's just not accurate. You've focused to much on a particulary component of the larger problem and have failed to recognize the actual whole of the issue. Here's a correct understanding of the problem.

Read the news and some history. Is organized humanity currently a net win, or a dead loss?

I feel marginalized... (-1, Offtopic)

SammysIsland (705274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932010)

I am filing a complaint with Intel that I too feel marginalized. I feel that pig-latin should be included in the x86 instruction set.

Internet: Made in the US of A (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932020)

If it were made in the wacky middle east, there'd be weird ass letters in domain names. The thing is that the M-E is too busy killing each other to ever "invent" anything at all. Not in the last couple thousand years.

Watch out for attacks (5, Insightful)

Agelmar (205181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932042)

For all you people saying "There's no problem, just do it" - I say watch out... there will be a rush of attacks and spoofs as soon as this is opened up. The letter "a" appears in the unicode character set multiple times, and some of the variants are almost indistinguishable. I'm not just talking about someone registering släshdot.org, I'm talking about someone reigstering slashdot.org (the a is FF41 instead of the normal a). Good luck telling the attacks appart from the real sites.

Re:Watch out for attacks (1)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932572)

I'm talking about someone reigstering slashdot.org (the a is FF41 instead of the normal a).
Yikes! You almost tricked me into thinking it's 0430!

Sure, go 'head (4, Insightful)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932044)


I'd be in favor of the change just because anything that undermines the Unix Tower of Babel -- the dependency on ASCII which complicates text handling sooooo much even when Windows solved the problem soooo long ago -- is good. Even Java gets it. Even Apple (finally) get it. Unix Is Teh Problem.

And the ASCII problem isn't just bad because it forces people to use inefficient encodings like UTF-8 (THREE bytes per character?) It's bad because it allows people to write code like:

if(string[index] == '.' || string[index] == '?' || string[index] == '!') sentenceEnd = true;

(a line repeated, with subtle variations, several hundred times in the code of a certain ubiquitous editor).

And, lo and behold, the above does not work, but once it appears in a few thousand places it's impossible to fix, and a vast towering structure of fixes made by people who don't really understand why it's an issue is built.

So, even though the proposed change would be hugely inconvenient for a huge number of people, I'm in favor, because I want the world to grow the fork up and understand that text != byte array some time while I'm still alive.

 

Re:Sure, go 'head (1)

reed (19777) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932536)

... the dependency on ASCII which complicates text handling sooooo much even when Windows solved the problem soooo long ago ... inefficient encodings like UTF-8 (THREE bytes per character?)


What the hell are you talking about??

Re:Sure, go 'head (1)

SilentGhost (964190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932564)

why on earth did you decided that world needs to understand smth.? it needs simple and reliable system to work with, and ascii completely fulfils this role for this particular task. Let the world burn for sake of Arabic alphabet? nope, thanks

Apple is a "unix" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932654)

maybe you're stuck in os9, dunno...
Apple just somehow made "their unix" do all kinds of fancy stuff

m10

(let's keep ourselves from the argument if macosx/darwin is to be classified as a *real* unix or not - it's a completely different discussion)

Once again we are just western savages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932068)

> Given that some societies have used non-Latin characters for thousands of years, is this a bit late in coming?

Had Hammurabi stored his laws on silicon instead of stone then perhaps there would be a point to that question.

Anything's possible. (-1, Offtopic)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932380)

"Had Hammurabi stored his laws on silicon instead of stone then perhaps there would be a point to that question"

Stranger things have happened. In the early 1970s [wikipedia.org] , US military officials wrote their letters using Microsoft Office 97.

Can't trust your browser's address bar anymore. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932082)


Unicode has many characters that look almost exactly like characters in Latin-1.

For example, if "www.microsoft.com" is shown in your browser's address bar, how would you know for sure that the "c" is not from the Cyrillic alphabet, or the "o" is not from the Greek alphabet?

You simply won't be able to trust your browser's address bar anymore. The possibilities for phishing attacks are endless.

Re:Can't trust your browser's address bar anymore. (4, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932354)

Why not have the browser fail to render them outside of the user's preferred alphabet?

Cyrillic users would see www.**c******.com, latin users would see www.mi*rosoft.com?

Or better yet, put up a big warning that it's using mixed alphabets?

Re:Can't trust your browser's address bar anymore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932556)

For example, if "www.microsoft.com" is shown in your browser's address bar, how would you know for sure that the "c" is not from the Cyrillic alphabet, or the "o" is not from the Greek alphabet?

Because that's not what I typed in? Because that's not what my bookmark points to?

The trust issue only arises when you follow links from untrustworthy sources. The only people who'll get caught out by this are the people who click links to PayPal in spam emails and check the address bar to make sure they really are on PayPal. I don't think there's that many people doing that, do you?

Make 'em all speak english (-1, Flamebait)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932090)

It would simplify everything. The ones who don't want to? Get stuffed.

Really, we should be actively culling the numbers of languages out there, they exist to facilitate communication, guess what, they're doing the opposite.

 

Re:Make 'em all speak english (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932238)

Many of them actually do speak English

Re:Make 'em all speak english (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932388)

Why English? Why not, say, Spanish, or Mandarin?

Re:Make 'em all speak english (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932614)

Because those languages are dirka, obviously

Re:Make 'em all speak english (0, Troll)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932732)

At the risk of sounding like a cultural chauvenist... because we invented the damn internet, and we speak English, and use the Latin-1 character set.

If individual countries want to implement their own DNS-equivalents in their national character set them more power to'em, I say. However, they'll also have to deal with upgrading every DNS-capable application on every machine in the country, then find a solution to the massive problem of phishing they've just caused by introducing two identical-looking (but numerically different) characters... and then find a way to enable other nationalities to type and use those URLs without necessarily having the characters on their keyboards or character-sets on their machines.

I honestly don't see a way around this.

Re:Make 'em all speak english (1, Troll)

igb (28052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932482)

Amusingly, when the issue is non-UTF8 character sets, or censorship, or anything else that upsets the non-Western countries, they start shouting threats like ``Turkey will start its own top-level domains'' or ``Iran will disconnect from the Internet''. Which I'm sure is terribly impressive in UN-type meetings where we're supposed to pretend that all countries' opinions matter, but in the real world is an entirely hollow threat.

Were some random non-UTF8 country to make interworking with the rest of the Internet harder, it would be cutting its nose off to spite its face. For the G7 countries (yes, G7, not G8), the value of Internet connectivity to random minor countries is minimal. The value to those countries of Internet connectivity is large. Do US users care if Uzbekistan is on the Internet? No: it has zero impact on 99% of them, minimal impact on 0.9% of them, etc. Do people in Uzbekistan care about being able to access Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, CNN, the BBC? I rather think they do.

No one likes pointing out to random minor countries that their presence on the Internet is far more in their interest than it is in anyone else's. But that doesn't make it any the less true. So, in general terms, the choice they're getting is ``largely anglophone, largely UTF-8, or nothing''.

ian

punicode? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932098)

Whatever happened to Punicode (Unicode in a special dns-characters-only encoding format)? There was some hoopla about the scheme, which would require browsers to show punicode-encoded URLs in the appropriate characters on the screen, but some naysayers said that it was a phisher's dream since many glyphs throughout Unicode looked alike. I figure this issue has nothing to do with Unicode per se, but with phishing vs certified sites in general, but I haven't heard a peep from the Punicode camp for over a year.

Re:punicode? (1)

BeeRockxs (782462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932684)

AFAIK it's used already for domain names to contain non-ascii characters.

It's a little late, don't you think? (1, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932104)

Prince no longer goes by that strange symbol as his name anymore.

Woot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932116)

Domain names in Tengwar, Yay!

Threat to Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932128)

So, how does Google work in an international Internet? If each content contributer is submitting in their native language, will I be able to search for terms anymore?
I don't think English SHOULD be the default language, but there is certainly some advantages to one language for all content. Related to that, weren't all computers susposed to be using Japanese or something by this point? There was a prediction "back in the day" along those lines for a while, something about that character set being more efficient for machines to parse...

URL goldmine. (4, Insightful)

emmagsachs (1024119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932132)

Imagine the land rush that'll ensue if DNS will allow non-Latin characters. Trademark transliteration ? A heaven for domainsquatters and an upcoming surge of legal fees for trademark lawyers, if you ask me.

Nice for localising, sure, but how usable will Japanese, Indian, or Arabic script URLs -- for example -- be for those who do not have access to the respective sets or keyboard layouts?

compounding one mistake with another (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932144)

Of course it's late in coming.

But that doesn't mean it should be done hastily and badly.

why???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932168)

why would you want a domain name the biggest users (and hence customers) on the internet worldwide cannot type on their keyboard.

As there is no current danger of the current DNS address space running out...
sticking to ASCII seems sane to me but then again this is a political not a technical problem....

Caprican and Tauron letter systems (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932206)

"One source of the pressure was Adama..."

And he will not rest until the script of each of the 12 Colonies is properly represented with ICANN. I hear he's not too keen on Cyrillic, however.

English, not latin languages (2, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932244)

Given that some societies have used non-Latin characters for thousands of years, is this a bit late in coming?

Let's be clear. The domain name system only uses English characters. There are lots of languages in Europe (Italian, Spanish, French...) which are closer to latin than English (which isn't really a latin language at all) which are not currently represented, because you can't use accents in domain names, or other letters such as the spanish Enye (n with a squiggle, actually a distinct letter). English speakers often think accents aren't important but they can completely change a word's meaning.

Re:English, not latin languages (3, Insightful)

brusk (135896) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932602)

True, but the English subset of the alphabet has another feature that matters in this regard: it's a lowest common denominator that all computers on the planet are capable of producing. I can type any letter easily on a computer in China, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Spain, India, etc. I can't necessarily input a given Chinese character, Arabic letter, or Cyrillic letter.

Why does this matter? Well, one argument is that it doesn't, much: if I want to view a Chinese website I'm probably in China and can input Chinese characters on my computer. But what about a Chinese person visiting an English-speaking country and surfing at a public computer (e.g. in a web cafe)? If the computer isn't set up for input of Chinese, he/she won't be able to view certain sites if they can only be accessed by inputting a non-latin URI. Thus to serve all possible customers, the computer would need dozens of input systems installed. That simply isn't going to happen. The alternative of just inputting Unicode codes is unworkable.

Hence it makes more sense to have a requirement that any non-Latin DNS registration ALSO be accompanied by a pure ASCII one, so that any computer will be able to access it. This also helps people who don't know a given language very well: if you don't know Chinese well, and are just learning it, you may find it hard to type in a web address with unfamiliar characters, even if your computer has Chinese input enabled. That shouldn't keep you from visiting a site.

In fact, there are some Chinese systems that do this, by creating a registry of Chinese names for websites. But they involve kludgy workarounds like browser bars that are not universal and are otherwise evil.

Re:English, not latin languages (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932672)

. English speakers often think accents aren't important but they can completely change a word's meaning.

Yes, I am an English speaker, and throughout the day I often stumble across the recurring idea that accents are of no particular use to determing the meaning of a word. I would go so far as to say that I often think accents just aren't important. I'm glad Slashdot has you around to set things straight.

Re:English, not latin languages (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932746)

Latin *characters*, not the Latin language. The whole point of alphabets is that you can use them to write different languages. It's irrelevant that English isn't really a Romance/Latin language.

Though, the later Latin alphabet only has 23 letters... if we're really sticking to that, you can't use U, J, or W. :P So they really do mean the English alphabet.

Not a trivial job (4, Insightful)

turnipsatemybaby (648996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932300)

The internet was originally conceived, designed, and implemented in the USA at a time where hardware was at a premium, and corners were cut to conserve that limited resource. DNS was just one of the results of that era. However, it is the most visible because it is the front end means for people to find each other. That means there is now a very well established standard, used by people across the entire globe, that is very difficult to change.

Changing all the DNS servers in the world to switch from ASCII to Unicode is NOT trivial. The fact that some societies have used non-latin characters for thousands of years is completely and utterly irrelevant. THEY didn't make the internet. They simply bolted themselves on to an existing infrastructure.

I agree that progress needs to be made to accomodate non-latin characters, but to have people whining about "how they want it, and want it now"... That's just ridiculous. It's like waltzing into a house that was built 40 years ago and having a tantrum because the stairs are too steep and the house is too squished. Major structural renovations take time, effort, and careful planning. And there is nothing you can do to avoid that, short of implementing cheap stop-gap measures that are virtually guaranteed to cause even bigger unintended headaches later on.

thousands of years? (3, Insightful)

sexyrexy (793497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932344)

Given that some societies have used non-Latin characters for thousands of years, is this a bit late in coming?

Those societies did not build an entire economic and social infrastructure using all 50,000 of those characters in a few decades, though.

Basement (1, Funny)

faqmaster (172770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932348)

"What we're trying to do is change the bricks in the basement."
It's the Internet; so it's more accurate to say we're changing the bricks in your parent's basement.

Better idea! (2, Funny)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932404)

How 'bout we all just speak English and forget about all those weird letters.

(It was a joke... well sort of)

Huh? (4, Funny)

writermike (57327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932426)

ICANN Under Pressure Over Non-Latin Characters

You mean white people?

What kind of stupid idea (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932520)

Who idea was to use cyrillic character where theres and exactly identicaly non-cyrillic character on the ascii set. They just decided to stick cyrillic characters in a totally seperated grid rather than adding the additional characters form the cyrillic.

Use a simple eight dot three kludge (2, Interesting)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932544)

Set up a private latin name prefix for the non-latin names i.e. NONLATINPREFIX and then a UUEncode of the non-latin name.. IE (arabic word for horse in arabic script)=AER5ER8EDG so you would have NONLATINPREFIX-AER5ER8EDG.com as a domain name, that would resolve correctly if someone typed in (arabic word for horse in arabic script).. 1. This allows for simple web-extention to serve non-latin countries

2. Doesnt require any change to the DNS system. (other than some name policy changes)

3. Allows links to be imbedded in normalweb-pages so that they can be cut and pasted by anyone with latin functionality. So a Japanese person could cut and paste the link to some arabic site that they dont have the font for.

4. While this is a kludge it has some major advantages over rebuilding the DNS system.

Storm

DNS won't break (2, Informative)

zdzichu (100333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932552)

DNS won't break. In fact, it already works! The thing is called IDN [wikipedia.org] and is supported by all modern web browsers (including IE). Try for yourself - http://www.kozowski.pl [www.koz] (I hope Slashcode won't caniballize letter "").

So DNS and Web is OK. Any breakage I can think of may appear in email systems or other domain-based forms of communication.

Re:DNS won't break (1)

zdzichu (100333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932626)

It ate the letter. So I'd add Slashdot to possible broken systems.

Air Traffic Control (1)

zomgitsnev (1026776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932630)

I don't see anyone complaining that air traffic control "should include non-english words", so why should the internet include non-latin characters? The system works, and I see no reason not to leave it as it is.

Political policy again trumping practical sense? (1)

jgercken (314042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932656)

It's so frustrating how often people or groups with great political power but little technical insight frequently force changes without the capacity to truly weigh the risks involved. So very bad things continue to happen unnecessarily.

Case in point: The US publicizing advanced engineering documentation on how to build a nuke because some shmuck, who didn't grasp the consequences, ordered it posted thinking that somehow it would help his political party.

As technology becomes more ingrained in our lives, politicians will salivate even more over the being able to claim party to any major breakthroughs. There is more or less a separation of church and state in most countries. Can't we do the same with technology?

This will change the Internet into ... (1)

salec (791463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932676)

... parallel multi-nets. I guess servers will have multiple domain names for same IP address, one for each culture they wish to address.

No matter what, english-language net will continue to be *the* Internet, a global Forum, direct connection between common people from all parts of the world ( Hey there! :) ).

All the other nets will have quite a marginal significance. Nations will try to boost them in order to keep their citizens indoctrinated with own traditional values, but things that do not fly by themselves usually have short age, lose appeal and fade away. Internet as we know it will take only a mild hit, so no worries.

All this is needed for final globalization of internet - reaching people of the world with only as much as elementary literacy in their own mother's tongue. That is something that native english speakers take for granted - "Your grandma can use Internet". Well, most grandma's of the world still can't, or have difficulties with it.

I smell a hack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932682)

"we have to make sure that if we change the system, the rest is all going to work.'"

Pfttt. To quote Rocky Squirrel "that trick never works". Especially if they drop bind, and come up with something new. It's positively guaranteed that there will be a crack somewhere, waiting for a smart cracker to take advantage of it. History has well shown that the odds are extremely high there will be a back door vulnerability somewhere in the system.

*rubs his hands in greedy anticipation*

Oh yeah, here's a hint. Beware of accepting code from China (the allusion to the Trojan Horse is appropriate).

An alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16932712)

Perhaps *they* might have spent some of those thousands of years inventing computers and internetworks? If *they* want non-latin characters, let *them* build *their* own root nameservers, *their* own implementation of DNS, and go for it. Who's stopping *them*?

Why shouldn't this be "easy?" (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932728)

I thought this was what unicode was for. The only 3 scared characters that I wouldn't want messed with are the ":", "/", and "." How come we don't have a unicode DNS solution so countries could use the entir unicode address pool for domain names? I've read postings basically bashing the non-English world for not being invovled with the original tech so being left out. So that's a valid reason to discrimnate now? What used to get me excited about slashdot was the unquie solutions that you could find in the comments for real world problems. Used to be, on slashdot at the mere suggestion of a unicode DNS solution some one would either find one or write one. Now a days we get bitching and moaning regionalism about how either the US is behind the rest of the world due to our policies or that the US is better than rest of world because we speak English. Ug. Slashdot drives me batty sometimes.

I say that non-English countries should just do it. If it breaks Standard US or European IE or FireFox by putting the domain name in the address bar, no loss to your country.
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