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Internationalized Domain Names Coming Soon 526

Posted by michael
from the untypable dept.
rduke15 writes "You think you know how to parse a domain name for validity? Well, in case you haven't noticed, things are getting tougher as registrars keep adopting IDN (Internationalized Domain Names), which uses a weird encoding named Punycode to enable accented characters in domain names. The Register reports about Switzerland, Germany and Austria's joint move to enable IDN. See the overview in English from Switch. But I guess it would be difficult to talk about this on /., since it does not even support basic Latin-1 ... :-)"
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Internationalized Domain Names Coming Soon

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  • Ah great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Worminater (600129) <worminaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:05PM (#7560644)
    More ways for trolls to disguise goatse.cx links...
  • sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:07PM (#7560668)
    Sounds like a job for Unicode.
    Unicode.org [unicode.org]
    • The problem is Unicode support is not present in the places it is needed. So they have a way of encoding Unicode in ASCII.
  • by CTalkobt (81900) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:07PM (#7560670) Homepage
    It looks to me like the problem is that the DNS servers don't support unicode so they're using a bad implementation of it.

    Why not extend dns to support unicode? That way they'd be no translation or other crap to go through.

    Granted software would need changing but that be the case with the mangled crap that's mentioned in the article.

    What am I not understanding here? Or is this just implementation dreamed up to make life complicated?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Better still, why not just suck it up and get by with ascii? It only requires 1 byte per character, and is easy to memorize.

      Accented characters are so Old World and passe, anyway.

    • Paul Vickie (of BIND fame) has stated that supporting unicode in bind would probably require at least a year to implement, and could introduce new buffer overflow exploits.

      djbdns doesn't support unicode either, although it doesn't rely on standard c-libraries, so unicode support might only take a few weeks to add.

      Unicode would be better than punycode, but punycode works with existing DNS client and server software.

      • by dmelomed (148666) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @04:09PM (#7561410)
        "djbdns doesn't support unicode either, although it doesn't rely on standard c-libraries, so unicode support might only take a few weeks to add."

        djbdns is 8-bit clean. Use UTF-8 all you want right now.
      • So if he'd started working on it over a year ago, it would be ready by now.
      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @05:08PM (#7562023) Homepage
        Paul Vickie (of BIND fame) has stated that supporting unicode in bind would probably require at least a year to implement, and could introduce new buffer overflow exploits.

        If Paul Vixie did say that it would kinda argue for chosing that route rather than trying to get the IETF to agree to anything, so far it has been over five years since the start of this effort and counting.

        The real problem is not fixing Bind, that is easy. Deploying bind updates and deploying compatible client updates is the real problem. It just isn't feasible.

    • by pawal (6862) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:55PM (#7561233) Homepage
      There are _so_ many applications using the domain name system that feeding UTF-8 through it will break most of them. Except for perhaps Internet Explorer.

      The registries using UTF-8 (most notably .NU) are running IDN in parallell with UTF-8 now.

      The Swedish registry is only using IDN. The reason for that is that UTF-8 in DNS is not an internet supported standard at all.

      http://www.xn--rksmrgs-5wao1o.se/ [xn--rksmrgs-5wao1o.se] will work if you are using a recend Mozilla. (Slashdot should upgrade to at least ISO-8859-1 or UTF-8... I couldn't write raksmorgas.se correctly.)

      Microsoft are extremly slow in supporting IDN, and will probably not launch it until next OS release which is in 2006... There are plugins from Verisign.

      Do a good thing, release an open source plugin for MSIE.
    • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel@bc g r e e n . c om> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @04:07PM (#7561385) Homepage Journal
      Why not extend dns to support unicode? That way they'd be no translation or other crap to go through.

      Sounds like a great idea.... If you're willing to re-implement the DNS code in my Win-95 box.... or on my Amiga-4000. How about my 10 year old Apollo workstation or the SUN-3 that's still working just fine, thank you. etc. etc.

      A lot of old DNS implementations would choke (and properly so) on UTF-8 encoded DNS names. We probably could have seeded the needs of the future by saying that IP-6 DNS servers should support unicode, but I think that even that boat has been missed. (or is quickly leaving dock).

      In the meantime the old DNS and it's anglo-centric presumptions and restrictions are with us for the next few years (or decades, as the case may be). Clearly some people feel the need to live within those restrictions.

    • It looks to me like the problem is that the DNS servers don't support unicode so they're using a bad implementation of it. Why not extend dns to support unicode? That way they'd be no translation or other crap to go through.

      It's not as simple as you may think. I am all for Unicode, but to use it for domain names can lead to unwanted consequences.

      There already exists some intenationalized domain names in Chinese, so instead of having chopsticks.com we can have [insert chinese characters for chopsticks

    • I for one... (Score:3, Redundant)

      by corebreech (469871)
      ...most certainly do not welcome our new Unicode-munging overlords.

      I don't care what the issues are. I have had it up to HERE with charset issues! ENOUGH ALREADY!

      If you can't do it using UTF-8, don't do it at all!

      Dammit.
    • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @05:15PM (#7562099)
      Why not extend dns to support unicode?

      DNS should never get Unicode support, or any form of "internationalization" for that matter!

      DNS is supposed to be a way for humans to communicate with computers about internet hosts. The intent is not for some human to be able to read it, but for all humans. This has worked until now because hostnames were limited to only ~37 characters. Regardless of native language, any computer operator can quickly learn to handle the [a-z][0-9] gylphs. Basically anyone literate in one language can copy ASCII characters from a signpost onto a notepad, and then punch those into a keyboard. Even if her culture doesn't use the ASCII set in normal daily activities (which about everyone in America, Europe, and Japan does), then the shapes are at least simple enough to copy geometrically.

      But if 16-bit charsets are allowed in DNS, we could get hostnames composed of 3 Chinese characters and two Arabic ones, and which a Russian or Briton will be incapable of processing without tremendous pain.

      DNS is something that should be left in a "lowest common denominator" form, so that it's accessible to all of humanity (if they meet the low hurdle of operating a normal PC)

      Internationalized host identifiers in URLs will be important, of course. But they should be a separate layer implemented on top of DNS. DNS is a standard that already exists. Rather than changing the standard and breaking every single internet-using computer (the "flag day" scenario), a new system should be rolled out for people who want host identifiers in funny-looking squiggles.
  • really dumb sounding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:08PM (#7560673)
    I'm sorry, is it just me or do they seem to be taking a bad shortcut to get to a good end? It doesn't seem like they are doing this correctly. Why not plan to migrate to unicode? Their choice seems shortsighted and flawed. I hope they atleast considered unicode and came up with real reasons why not to use it.

    • by x mani x (21412)
      They did obviously consider unicode, perhaps you did not RTFA. However their solution uses unicode at a different layer.

      I think the *real* solution here is to reimplement ALL top level DNS servers to support unicode. But the overhead in doing this, when you really think about it, seems difficult (ICANN approval, unicode related bugs, getting everyone to use new DNS server, etc). At least, since the ASCII text supported by DNS are exactly the same in Unicode, backwards compatibility should not be a problem.
  • Why not (Score:4, Funny)

    by Pingular (670773) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:08PM (#7560683)
    But I guess it would be difficult to talk about this on /., since it does not even support basic Latin-1
    Just say the ascii number?
    • Re:Why not (Score:2, Informative)

      by lokedhs (672255)
      Right... What's the ASCII code for the Euro sign? Or even accented "a"? How about the russian Gze?

      Hint: ascii is 7-bit.

    • &#73;&#116;&#39;&#115;&#32;&#118;&#101;
      &#114;&#1 21;&#32;&#100;&#105;&#102;&#102;
      &#105;&#99;&#117 ;&#108;&#116;&#32;&#116;
      &#111;&#32;&#116;&#121;& #112;&#101;&#32;
      &#108;&#105;&#107;&#101;&#32;&#1 16;&#104;
      &#105;&#115;
      • Re:Because (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tackhead (54550)
        > &#73;&#116;&#39;&#115;&#32;&#118;&#101 ;
        &#114;&#1 21;&#32;&#100;&#105;&#102;&#102;
        &#105;&#99;&#117 ;&#108;&#116;&#32;&#116;
        &#111;&#32;&#116;&#121;&; #112;&#101;&#32;
        &#108;&#105;&#107;&#101;&#32;& #1 16;&#104;
        &#105;&#115;

        An opportunity to quote one of my favorite bits of .sigfodder of all time:

        Now, I knew this was coming, but that still didn't

      • It's just as hard to read it... damned whitespace...
  • Useful? Naw. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:09PM (#7560685) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure what all the accents are on the alphabet, will I have to know to type them to access a simple website? Sorry, this doesn't make using the net easier.
    • Re:Useful? Naw. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tuffy (10202) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:15PM (#7560782) Homepage Journal
      If you don't know how to type the characters necessary to access the web site, chances are you won't be able to read the content anyway. So I think it's a moot point.
      • Who types URLs? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Royster (16042)
        Geeks do, but your average surfer does not. They go clickly clickly on the results returned by the search engine or clicky clicky on the link someone emailed them or clicky clicky on the link from some other website.

        Most users don't even *know* that you can type stuff in the Address field.

      • Re:Useful? Naw. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)
        Bzzzt - wrong. You may not've travelled to countries with different "standard" keyboard layouts, but that's not going to help a Japanese businessman on a trip to Los Angeles figure out how to type the name of his company's website on a PC-104 setup. Put him on a Kanji keyboard and he'll be there in seconds. Give him a nice en.US layout and see what happens.

        What was your point again?

    • Re:Useful? Naw. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ShecoDu (447850)
      As others have pointed out, if you dont use the accents, why would you want to visit a foreign language page? if you happend to like the language you can find the way to type the characters... besides, there is always a way to use google to locate the page and click on the link or something like that, you dont have to be so closed minded, not just because you dont find it usesful, everybody will see it the same way as you do...

      Just as the moderator guideline says "focus on promoting instead of modding down
    • Re:Useful? Naw. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by McDutchie (151611) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @05:06PM (#7561997) Homepage
      I'm not sure what all the accents are on the alphabet, will I have to know to type them to access a simple website?

      Never fear, oh monolingual one, I found this very handy site [google.com] that will help solve this pesky problem for you. Try it some time and let us know what you think!

    • Re:Useful? Naw. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mijok (603178)
      Well for non-English speakers it will make quite a big difference. Let me give you two funny and/or embarrasing examples: Two municipality names in Sweden: Mnsters and Hrby. As you (hopefully) can see the first one has two dots over the "o" (called "umlaut" in german, i.e. a form of the letter "o", in Swedish it is considered a different letter in the alphabet) and a ring above the a and the latter name has two dots over the "o". Well, these municipalities have websites and since they can't get the dots and
  • Oh great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by JoeLinux (20366)
    Now the Europian Union will want everyone to click on the left side of the mouse, left-handers be damned.

    The French will demand that "bandwidth exceeded" errors be renamed to "(web page) surrenders"

    The Germans will try to take over the internet.

    In a sneak attack, the Iraqis will launch a massive DDOS attack, but accidently hard-code localhost in the trojan. The Iraqi information guru will deny everything.
    • by beebware (149208)
      Whilst us poor Brits will just do everything President Bush's lapdog (aka Tony Blair) tells us to do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:11PM (#7560722)
    ,
    Taco est un mechant garcon.
    '
  • by Ryu2 (89645) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:11PM (#7560724) Homepage Journal
    While it's logical for, say, Chinese companies to have a Chinese domain name and Chinese e-mail addresses, it may not be the best choice if the company wishes to expand oversea.

    Unfortunate but true, if a company has a Chinese domain name, it would probably be only used within China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan (since it's unicode), and maybe South Korea. The company would be pretty much limited to the East Asia market.

    However, I suppose the company could get both a Chinese domain and an English, or rather Pinyin, domain so they could make their Chinese, or maybe other Asian clients feel "closer" while also being able to reach clients outside of East Asia.

    I also think that it'd be great to give people the option of having a native-language email address. It's not too hard to set up a romanized email alias for it. An SMTP "X-Roman-Address" header could even by added to outgoing messages in case a recipient can't read the default "From" line.
    • Unfortunate but true, if a company has a Chinese domain name, it would probably be only used within China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan (since it's unicode), and maybe South Korea. The company would be pretty much limited to the East Asia market.

      Yeah, they would "limit" themselves to the fastest growing economy in the world and a market of about 2 billion people...who'd want that?

      P.S. Why can't that company have a chineese domain name and a roman-character domain name? Is there a law I don't know
    • Yeah, it's not like Chinese companies don't already have this exact same problem when dealing with postal addresses. And it's not like they have it solved by having the Chinese post office understand Romanized addresses.

      You solved the problem in your post; get two domains. Not too hard.
  • by HermanZA (633358) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:12PM (#7560728)
    That is sure to improve your hit rate no end...

    I sure hope this harebrained idea doesn't take off.

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:31PM (#7560978) Homepage Journal
      That is sure to improve your hit rate no end...

      URLs that you cannot type. But why would they want your hits if you can't even type their domain name? Its not like you'll be able to read the content if you get there, or understand their ads.
    • Or how about URLs you have to spell differently than you spell the name of the company in question? Thats a pretty harebraided idea, but one very many* people online today. Take for instance norwegians (as I happen to be one myself). The norwegian alphabet consists of 29 letters, the old 26 from latin (a-z) as well as three I can't show you here on /. since the site for some bizarre reason don't support them**. Therefore we're forced to use 'ae', 'oe' and 'aa'*** instead, opening for plenty more misundersta

  • by Arcturax (454188) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:12PM (#7560733)
    After all, now they need not only worry about registering say...

    Microsoft.com
    Microsoft.net
    Microsoft.org
    Mic rosoft.tv
    etc..

    But also
    Microsoft.com
    Microsoft.com

    Well, you get the picture.
    • Well ok, it looks like /. doesn't support these characters either... That or my font settings need adjusted. just imagine that last two Microsoft's.com had a collection of accents, double dots, the o with a slash through it and such.
  • by ospirata (565063) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:13PM (#7560746)
    I'm delighted to tell that Mozilla is one step forward again, and already supports IDN since version 0.9.5 http://www.mozilla.org/projects/intl/idn_mozilla.h tml [mozilla.org]
  • Mixed feelings (Score:5, Informative)

    by f97tosc (578893) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:14PM (#7560761)
    I have mixed feelings about this. I am from Sweden, and it always looks kind of ugly when names lose their dots and circles in the domain name.

    On the other hand, this is also quite convenient. I live in the US now, and I travel around quite a bit. I often surf on Swedish Internet sites, typically without access to a Swedish keyboard. It would not be very convenient if the domain names used non-English symbols.

    Sometimes I go to Japanese sites also, and I am really glad that I don't have to install a Japanese word processor to do this...

    Tor
    • Re:Mixed feelings (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HerbieStone (64244)
      That's why Website owner will register thier sites under two Domain: The current one for english-keyboard users, and the (orginal) foreign-named Domain

      And that's also why registrars love it.

  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:17PM (#7560802) Homepage Journal

    Any Internet RFC which includes the phrase, -with-SUPER-MONKEYS, has GOT to be good. (And in case you think I'm trolling, check the link.)

  • USA! (Score:2, Funny)

    by ekephart (256467)
    U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!!

    If it wasn't for us we'd all be speaking German. Wait.

    [ducks]
  • Poland (.pl) officialy have IDN domain since 11th September 2003.
  • by The_Systech (568093) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:20PM (#7560843) Homepage
    Yeah, but did anybody get Al Gore's approval to make these changes?
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:22PM (#7560859) Homepage Journal
    Now I won't have to be limited to using a hyphen! I can register d[i-circ]xiechicks.com, or dixi[e-grave]chicks.com, or maybe dixie[c-cedil]hicks.com!

    That last one would be doubly good, because if I understand the Punycode [faqs.org] spec correctly, it'll get translated to ASCII as dixiehicks-XXXX.com. Not my opinion of the group, but maybe it would attract hits from the Toby Keith crowd.
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:22PM (#7560869) Homepage Journal
    - - - - ..
    I, for one, welcome our new European overlords.
  • What happens when someone registers the domain cnn.com where the c or n is actually a character in a different character set. Then it would be difficult for 99% of the population to tell the difference say when they follow a link to http://www.cnn.com/the_world_is_ending_sell_your_s oul.html
  • No change needed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjgc.org> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:24PM (#7560895) Homepage Journal
    > You think you know how to parse a domain name for validity?

    Yes, I do, and if you _read_ the RFC you'll see that nothing changes, these domain names are encoded into the same character set as the current DNS system. And hence if you give me a URL I can validate it with existing scripts. There's an example which shows that Bucher.ch (with an umlaut on the u) would be translated to: xn--bcher-kva.ch which looks totally parseable to me.

    John.
  • by nizo (81281) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:25PM (#7560912) Homepage Journal
    Personally I can't wait to see funky chinese character domain names in my web logs (mostly from infected windows machines trying to attack my apache server).
  • Reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajnlth (702063) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:27PM (#7560930)
    I would guess that the reason for this rather than redesigning DNS to use Unicode is beacause of the still rather dominant presence of the USA on the internet.

    Since this solution doesn't break any old implementation just the countries that need it will have to modify their software, and not wait for the slow and expensive process of changing all of DNS, which a large part of the 'net isn't motivated do pay for.

    • Actually it doesn't really have anything to do with the USA. Most of the world uses BIND and the BIND guys say it'd take them a year to get full UNICODE support, not to mention the security problems they'd have to worry about then. After reading the RFC, I have to say this is a pretty nifty hack to make it work since every string gets encoded into a unique punycode string that's compliant with the current DNS RFCs.

      Plus the guy uses Amuro Namie in one of his examples, so he's gotta be cool. :P
  • Just use Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bstadil (7110) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:28PM (#7560944) Homepage
    The whole issue of convenient Domain names is a bit passee.

    Often used url's I have as book marks and when i need some other site, it is much easier to make a guess via Google. What I am looking for is almost always on page one of googles choices.

    Sure Google could find a way to handle the special characters and make an intelligent suggestion, if nothing else based on IP address of the request. If it is from Burundi chances of needing a German umlaut is slim

  • let me be the first to call www.hotmail.com !
    • d'oh... i had the i with the two little dots over it... it was really quite clever, i swear... looks like slash filtered it out... With this explanation you can now feel free to mod my parent post as funny and insightful. thank-you for your time.
  • Let's assume (and I might not be correct in this assertion) that every computer in every country can at least type & see the 26 letters used in the English language plus digits 0-9 and the dash & period signs. However, I have no idea how to type anything coherent in Chinese Simplified or Traditional (hell, it's all Chinese to me...)...

    In the interest of fostering the best method to communicate your ideas, products, services, etc., would you not want to use the characters that most everybody can t
  • "Yeah, let's make sure that every normal english domain name can easily be spoofed with accented characters, not to mention having everyone open up and hunt around charmap to get to these new domains"...

    This isnt going to be abused, AT ALL. Worst idea ever.

    The Internet (domain names, top-tier nameservers, nameserver software, web and e-mail server software, all markup documents) runs on english, there's no way to i18n it without opening up a world of hurt. Sorry, but I don't want to have to upgrade BIND
    • Nothing in the DNS infrastructure need to be upgraded. There is only us-ascii in the zones. BUT, you have to upgrade your applications in order to read them the names the way they are supposed to read, otherwise you will end up with www.xn--rksmrgs-5wao1o.se instead of "www.raksmorgas.se".
    • by dabadab (126782) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @04:36PM (#7561695)
      You know, this arrogant, self-centric view does not help the discussion.
      Anyway, the current infrastructure DOES NO have to be updated and this change is NOT intended to be "some jagoff's playground", but rather for the non-English speaking people - there are quite a few of them.
  • by Krach42 (227798) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @03:40PM (#7561083) Homepage Journal
    Ok, so you're mostly guarenteed a domain name if you own the trademark on the name. (To prevent cybersquatters right?)

    Well, what about the .jp domain? How can they possibly handle this, since in Japan you cannot copyright latin characters. (Or at least as far as I've heard)

    This is the reasoning I've heard, as to why IBM is ai-bi-emu in Japan. And maikurosofuto, souni, etc. (roomaji transliteration there, sorry if you don't get why ai=I)

    So what do you do in this case? Unless they can enter Shift-JIS or Unicode URLs, then you're stuck having people enter roomaji versions of your name, which remember, aren't technically trademarkable.

    I'd love to hear I'm wrong on some point here, could anyone with more info clue me in?

  • It looks to me like this isn't really going to be such a big deal. Their domain names are going to be converted for DNS anyway, so it's not like we would have to type in a complicated string of characters that aren't on our keyboards. So we can't remember what to type so easily, so what? That's why we have bookmarks. Besides, this isn't really for us anyway. It's purpose seems to be to allow the people in other countries to use their own native languages for their own domain names. Easier for them, right? A
  • as a precursor to a much greater problem?

    This is a step in a direction I dont think we want to go. Imagine if this goes through, if you will. What will follow?

    Next you're going to hear about programming languages being developed in other languages. Think outsourcing to india is so great? Wait til your next batch of outsourced code cannot be read, because it's not in english anymore!

    One of the things about computing has been the language standardization. Sure, you can do things in other languages, bu
  • That's what utf-8 is for. Why on earth invent yet another encoding?

  • If http can be a standard, xml can be a standard, posix can be a standard, why stop there? Why not have english be the standard too? If developers have to wade through the confused bable that is the W3C recommendations, then certainly the rest of the world can drop their own native languages just as surely as we drop our own native implementations of rendering and networking engines.

    English as the world language is surely as efficient as a single standards based unix as a world operating system.
  • Why on earth are hyphens the only allowable punctuation at the moment?

    Is there really any reason to continue to disallow things like:

    10%.com
    10off.com
    #dot.org
    and most importantly Andy_R.com

    while allowing motorhead.com to have their umlauts?
    • There are technical reasons for disallowing certain characters. They are "reserved characters" in URLS.
      • The ? signifies the end of the URL and the beginning of the parameters.
      • The & deliminates the parameters.
      • The % are used for escapes [ie %20; is a space in URL parameters].
      • The = is the assignment operation in URL parameters.
      • The # is link anchors

      There are a couple others, but I don't remember them offhand... So in other words, these characters are unusable for a reason.

  • *.Dar-al-Islam

    *.Dar-al-Kufr

    *.Dar-al-Harb

    What more do you need? :-)

  • by Psychic Burrito (611532) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @04:09PM (#7561413)
    Does anybody know if this will just work "out of the box" with every computer that can produce umlauts?

    I'm asking because today, I've tried out the Netsol [verisign.com] way of doing umlauts and they don't work at all with my Mac OS X and Safari: None of the listed domains work. The page lists a "plugin" that every web user is supposed to install, but it's Win only (of course...) and it's quite silly to have a domain with umlauts if you have to tell all your customers "before visiting me, please install this plugin"...

    Any idea if this new way work in all circumstances where the user has a international keyboard? Thanks!

  • This is important.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by k98sven (324383) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @04:19PM (#7561529) Journal
    Just to diverge, I'd like to represent the non-english speaker view here.

    In most of the languages with 'funny accents' like umlauts, these characters often have a completely different pronounciation, and are often considered to be a completely different letter than without the 'accent'.

    Simply 'brushing off the dirt' and removing the 'accent' thus changes the word. Sometimes with wierd results.
    Just ask someone from the town of Moensteraas, Sweden [monsteras.se].
    Their website contains mostly municipal information intended for swedes, but due to the restrictions of DNS, the name is instead spelt 'monsteras', which means 'monster-carcass' in Swedish.

    Obviously, these people would be happier spelling it with umlauts on the o, and a ring over the a.

  • by davburns (49244) <davburns+slashdo ... u ['at.' in gap]> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @05:26PM (#7562209) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps I'm showing grave naivete, but it seems like it would be better to treat accents (dots, slashes and stuff) like case. DNS names are case insensitive, but case preserving. So, you can type all your fancy European characters if you want, but you don't have to mess with them if you're on a keyboard where that's difficult, and there's no additional opportunity for squatting or visual name hijacking. Naturally, you would want the accents to appear on reverse lookups (just like mixed case domain names work.)

    I know there are times when differnet accents sometimes indicate different words -- but I'm under the impression that it is unlikely that more than one of them would be a "good" domain name. (Am I wrong about that?)

    This won't work for non-latin characters, obviously. But UTF-8 seems like a better solution to that. (I understand that most chineese words are 2-3 characters of 2-3 bytes (unified is U-430 to U-9fa and upto U-7ff is 2 characters) for 4-9 bytes -- clearly less than 63 bytes) The obvious downside is that it means that all DNS servers and resolvers must (at least!) be 8-bit clean.

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