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Chinese IDN in the News

News.com published a well-research article on the Chinese Domain Names by Winston Chai.

This approach works fine in the English-savvy world. However, for non-English speakers, they could be faced with the unenviable task of rote-learning numerical IP addresses, which is highly improbable, or the English spellings of dozens of Web sites they want to access.

Just a few points of interest:

1. It sounds like Winston got some of his material from Dr. Tan.1 At least, that sounds suspicious like what Dr. Tan would say. :-)

2. While it is pretty well written, some of the information are a bit outdated. For example, VeriSign and i-DNS stuff are really old news (2001).

The newer stuff like the various IDN deployments in CJK (e.g. CNNIC), the open source effort in Mozilla, Konquerer and IDN-OSS, or the adoption of IDNs in Safari and Opera etc. wasn’t discussed. (See IDN Software for more information.)

Neither did it mention the JET Guideline for CJK which is an important work and milestone for Chinese Domain Names.

3. The “representative” mentioned in the article is Prof. Qian Hualin. Prof Qian is currently the Chief Engineer of CNIC (ISC is an organization under CNIC). Prof. Qian is also the board member of ICANN.

Despite Prof. Qian enthusiasm by the promises from Ballmer, I think Microsoft will take at least 12 months (but latest by Longhorn) to get IDN support into Internet Explorer. This was what Michel (Microsoft) essentially said during the ICANN IDN panel two weeks ago in Cape Town.

Oh one more thing,

While foreign IT vendors are going local, top-level support for implementation and education on IDNs, however, seems lacking, as efforts have been sporadic to date. At a time when things are moving at Internet speed, isn’t seven years too long a wait for IDNs to come to fruition?

As one who has been driving IDNs for the last five years, I say ‘Amen’.

ps: The reporter also made a minor mistake when saying IETF is the engineering arm of ICANN. ISOC is the “parent” organization for the informal IETF.

1 [Update] Okay, apparently Winston did try to contact me for the article but we never hooked up as I was in Cape Town in ICANN then.

By James Seng, Vice President

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Leo Yu  –  Dec 21, 2004 12:50 AM

As far as I know, ISC (Internet Society of China) has no relationship with CNIC (Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences). CNIC is also different with CNNIC(the registry of .CN ccTLD)

James Seng  –  Dec 23, 2004 7:14 AM


1. Have you check who is the chairman of ISC?

2. I’m aware CNIC & CNNIC are two different entity.

-James Seng

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