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Re: TLG Review – Independent External Reviewers' Draft Report

  • To: tlg-review-2010@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Re: TLG Review – Independent External Reviewers' Draft Report
  • From: Eric Brunner-Williams <ebw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 13:07:13 -0500

I don't share the happy readings of the Board members commenting on the JAS report.

The report does not begin with the history of the formation of the New Entity and the change of structure in 2002, but with the quartet of the ITU, ETSI, W3C and the IAB from the 28 October 2010 By Laws.

The PSO, established in the 6 November 1998 By Laws, discontinued in the 15 December 2002 By Laws, really make better reading, and better understanding of why there was a Technical Liaison Group in the first place, and what its continuing purpose might be.

This is a short coming.

It is a bother that not every rotation brings us the best and brightest, we were lucky with Thomas, but the same could be said of the processes that populate the Board itself. Some of the choices we've been saddled with have been less fruitful than others.

Recommendation 2, if applied to the IANA / ICANN relationship, would allow an "ICANN" with sufficient technical management to dispense with the distinct technical management of the IANA function. Now for some technical issues, a competent generalist on the ICANN Board would be nice, but there are IANA issues that require specialist knowledge, and independence from unqualified claims of authority.

Therefore, Recommendation 2 is flawed.

Recommendation 3 makes an issue of regionalism, but with no other basis for making the recommendation. This is bogus. There are regional discrepancies in v4 allocations, and in character sets. It could be that a European regional entity, or a North American regional entity, over-represent the interests of relatively privileged early-adopters of both v4 technology, and ASCII, and extended ASCII script, but to pretend regional discrepancies don't exist because of the inconsistency of the regional nature of ETSI is an error.

Recommendation 4 is profoundly mistaken. The Unicode Consortium does not play nice with others and refrain from running with scissors.

The reason we have directionality leaking across label boundaries, causing us (the DNS industry) to restrict the position, even the existence, of bi-directional characters in labels composed in bidirectional scripts, is because the their (the printer industry) bidi algorithm treats "." as paper punctuation, which has a directional property.

We (the DNS industry) are not their primary interest, and they really don't care if a third or more of the global user population decides to use a standard that meets their needs because it -- the choice of glyphs -- really doesn't matter to printer vendors.

I don't know how to say this nicer, they are past the point of polite correction.

Recommendation 5 is just plain silly. The point of participation is substantive, not procedural. The issue is not corporate status, it is technical correctness.

Recommendation 7 has nothing to do with the TLG, and the notion of "loyalty to ICANN" is again, peculiar, as the requirement is to obtain technical correctness and operational reliability.

If the commitment to "loyalty" is greater than the commitment to technical correctness, then it is hard to see how ICANN could have learned from the operation of the CNNIC root, and introduced corrections to the function of the IANA root, necessary to allow Chinese script labels, Cyrillic script labels, and also Arabic script labels, in the root.

Fortunately, some "disloyal" looking over the fence took place, and ICANN is better for it.

Far too much of this report is tied up in the ICANN vs ITU song and dance, and as riviting as that is, it is less important than ensuring that the necessity for divergence from RFC 2826 is managed with an awareness that failure is not an option and technical correctness is mandatory to implement.

Eric Brunner-Williams
in a personal capacity

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