There's no "I" in IDN, part 6: It isn't like there's an "I" in EAI, either!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/07/14 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

Prior blogs in this series:

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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referenced by

2013/10/17 There's no "I" in IDN, part 19: There's no "I" in IPv6, either!

2013/10/08 There's no "I" in IDN, part 18: There isn't even an "I" in John C. Klensin's name!

2013/09/13 There's no "I" in IDN, part 17: EAI made it to China, and everybody knows it!

2013/04/19 There's no "I" in IDN, part 16: It's a good thing they decided to call it EAI!

2012/10/12 There's no "I" in IDN, part 15: Still no 'I' in EAI.... but we could use an US sometime soon!

2012/08/08 There's no "I" in IDN, part 14: It turns out there's no "I" in IE, either

2012/05/18 There's no "I" in IDN, part 13: Desktop and Managed and Metro; oh my!

2012/02/27 There's no "I" in IDN, part 12: Emoji + IDN == U+1F4A9 (PILE OF POO)

2012/01/11 Better know an Exec part 2 (Quality time with Rich Kaplan, his wife Karmann & 13 others)

2011/10/25 There's no "I" in IDN, part 11: There's no place like ::1, not even!

2011/09/21 There's no "I" in IDN, part 10: Who needs IDN support? How much? When? (Part 2)

2011/09/16 There's no "I" in IDN, part 9: Who needs IDN support? How much? When? (Part 1)

2011/08/12 There's no "I" in IDN part 8: Punycode don't do the PUA

2011/07/28 There's no "I" in IDN, part 7: IDN comes to AdWords

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