> From: JFC (Jefsey) Morfin [mailto:jefsey@xxxxxxxxxx]
> An exchange on WG-ltru documents...
In this post from Mr. Morfin, it is difficult (at least for me) to
ascertain his point other than in relation to certain specifics:
> proposed langtag is an arbitrary limited compound of three
> information: language name, script and country. A language
> identification MAY call for far more elements, and deliver much more
Mr. Morfin has often suggested to the LTRU WG that language tags should
be able to provide greater information than is allowed by the draft. He
has never provided any specific proposal except a request to permit
certain private-use tags, which I will return to below. The consensus of
the remainder of the LTRU WG is that the draft supports all relevant
distinctions needed to describe the linguistic and written-form
attributes of content as may be needed for all purposes, commercial and
> This means that:
> - "fr-Latn-fr" is the default tag based upon ISO 639-1/2/3
> - "x-fran" is a private use tag based upon ISO 639-6
> - "0-jefsey.com:franver" is my vision of the French at the Palace of
> Versailles. Documented by an ISO 11179 conformant system (see below)
Two comments: First, Mr. Morfin suggested within the LTRU WG that the
syntax for language tags should be loosened to permit additional
characters, such as "." and ":". The remainder of the WG was in
consensus that this was unacceptable due to backward incompatibility
with processes designed to conform to RFC 3066.
Secondly, Mr. Morfin has repeatedly made mention of ISO 11179, a series
of ISO standards on metadata and metadata registries, indicating his
view that language tags used on the Internet should be maintained in a
registry conformant with ISO 11179, and therefore that the draft should
make reference to those standards. He has also, on several occasions
such as his comments above, cited ISO 11179 in relation to his views in
a manner that appears to be intended to suggest that his views are
superior to the draft because he has cited that series of standards
while the draft does not. A reality check is in need here:
- While Mr. Morfin cites ISO 11179, he has never made statements
that clearly indicate that he actually understands those
- While Mr. Morfin refers to "an ISO 11179 conformant system",
none of the ISO 11179 series of standards contains any statement
of conformance requirements. Thus, no such notion of "ISO 11179
conformant" is defined anywhere. All that can be said is that a
system of metadata elements is maintained and administered using
a certain amount of the conceptual model, practice and
administrative infrastructure specified in the ISO 11179 standards.
The draft uses some measure of these, though it does not make
normative reference to ISO 11179.
In terms of ISO 11179 notions, each entry in the proposed registry
includes the two essential components of a metadata element: a
representation, and a data element concept. Each item in the
registry indicates (i) the representation used in language tags,
(ii) a designator that indicates the value meaning and that can
also serve as the data identifier, (iii) the object class (its
"type"), (iv) the administrative status (limited to deprecated or
not deprecated), as well as other properties.
Thus, while it cannot formally be said that the draft conforms
to ISO 11179 (since no terms of conformance are defined), I think
it *can* reasonably be said that the draft creates a registry and
system of metadata elements that is consistent with the model
presented in ISO 11179.
- The primary reason that the LTRU WG chose not to reference ISO
11179 in this draft had nothing to do with whether the WG
considered ISO 11179 appropriate or valuable in general. Rather,
it was that it was not deemed that reference to ISO 11179 would
add significant value in the context of an IETF language subtag
registry. Taken together, the ISO 11179 standards are long and
complex, and have not to our knowledge been referenced in any
other IETF metadata registry -- and certainly not in relation
to RFC 1766 or RFC 3066, which specifications accomplish their
purposes in spite of that absence of reference.
Thus, when I see Mr. Morfin citing ISO 11179 in the course of arguing
for some view that he holds, I consider that citation to have added
nothing of significance in support of his view.
> This means that this debate is only to lock a _final_ ABNF via an
> accepted RFC and a loaded operationalIANA registry _before_ a simpler
> solution [ISO 639-6] is available three months from now....
This statement makes several assumptions of uncertain validity, not the
least of which is that use of alpha-4 symbols from ISO 639-6 for IETF
language tags would constitute a simpler solution. Given the widespread
existing use of RFC 3066 tags, use of ISO 639-6 would have to go
alongside use of multi-part tags of the form permitted by RFC 3066,
which is certainly not simpler than what is specified in the draft.
> >Your statement doesn't contradict anything that Debbie has said,
> >provided the context is ISO 639-6 alone. If we were to talk about
> >incorporation of ISO 639-6 into a revision of RFC 3066, however, then
> >duplication would become an issue for consideration.
> This is the WG-ltru Charter that all the ISO codes be included.
The charter makes reference to "the underlying ISO standards"; that is,
to the ISO standards referenced in RFC 3066 or those cited in the
charter to be incorporated into the update RFC. The charter does not
cite ISO 639-6, let alone state that "all the ISO codes be included".
> Nice to see that ISO 11179 is accepted now. Peter Constable and the
> WG-ltru have opposed the reference to ISO 11179 model. This model
> permits to conceptualise languages and to include in their
> description an unlimited number of additional elements.
This is in no way implied by ISO 11179. The model of that standard
assumes that metadata elements designate concepts within some conceptual
system, and that the system of metadata elements includes a meta-model
that reflects that conceptual system. This would have the effect of
*constraining* the concepts represented to entities within that
conceptual model. Those entities may be an infinite set, but the set of
entities that can be represented by the tags defined by this draft would
not increase in number if the draft were changed to reference ISO 11179.
> But ISO 11179 totally open the concept...
Clearly either Mr. Morfin does not understand ISO 11179 or, if he does,
he has totally failed to express a statement consistent with that
> I would then advise that the Draft is sent back to the WG-ltru, with
> the suggestion that a lexicon is provided which would define what is
> a "language", a "script", a "country", and the purpose (informative,
> descriptive, normative?) of a langtag. This might be a big step ahead.
Mr. Morfin submitted a request to the WG that these terms be defined.
The consensus of everyone else in the WG was that this was not necessary
since it would not significantly alter the ability of anyone to
implement or use the specification.
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