The name of the song is not 'ps-PS I Love You'

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/02/04 07:31 -05:00, original URI:

(apologies to Sir Paul McCartney for riffing on the B-side to Love Me Do!)

I have talked about pseudo locales in passing previously, in Walking off the end of the eighth bit. But I never talked about the names of these little built-on beasties that Shawn first mentioned in Pseudo Locales in Windows Vista Beta 2 (qps-ploc, qps-mirr, and qps-asia).

These three locales were not yet another example of Microsoft flouting an international standard; quite the opposite in fact!

If you look at RFC4646 (Tags for Identifying Languages) section (excerpted in part here):

The subtags in the range 'qaa' through 'qtz' are reserved for private use in language tags.  These subtags correspond to codes reserved by ISO 639-2 for private use.  These codes MAY be used for non-registered primary language subtags (instead of using private use subtags following 'x-').

It is clear that the qps tag for Microsoft's own "private" pseudo-locales for testing purposes had an entirely standards-based origin.

Of course, not everyone wanted to play by the rules. :-(

Everyone, from the localization/localizability folks inside of Microsoft to authors like Guy Smith-Ferrier outside of it actually went ahead and used ps-ps as the name for the pseudo-locale. This is bad for two entirely separate reasons:

  1. The name does not follow the rules of the IETF standard that have been established as the best way to represent non-registered, private use tags.
  2. The actual subparts of ps-ps actually have defined meanings -- in this case it is suggestive of a "Pashto (Palestinian Authority)" locale, which is itself quite silly since Pashto as a language is not used anywhere in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

As a company this is the kind of misuse that we are really trying to get away from, which is one of the reasons that the way to make the "official Microsoft" pseudo locale names visible was documented for people who wanted to use them in their own testing.

Thus my plea to all those using ps-PS for their pseudo locale needs -- STOP DOING THAT, PLEASE! There are perfectly acceptable ways to do this that conform to the standards and they represent the direction one ought to be heading in....


This post brought to you by q (U+0071, a.k.a. LATIN SMALL LETTER Q)

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referenced by

2012/03/20 How to misuse codes while fixing the misuse of codes (Microsoft edition)

2011/04/11 One of my colleagues is the "Pseudo Man" (a rich source of puns in conversation!)

2008/02/21 Why is the separator blue?

2007/06/15 The last XP LIP? We'll head it off at the Pas[hto]

2007/03/22 When language codes are reported that don't actually exist

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