[rfc-i] I-D ACTION:draft-hoffman-utf8-rfcs-02.txt

Fred Baker fred at cisco.com
Fri Sep 26 17:57:29 PDT 2008


I think the key question has to be focused around the traditional RFC- 
in-ASCII arguments. I summarize here for your memory (in case the  
every-six-months debate has not yet been burned into your brain):

Q: Can we please have RFCs in <format du jour>
A: No, or at least not only in <format du jour>; The reference  
instance must be in ASCII

Q: But the pictures are so much more easily drawn using modern tools  
in <format du jour>, and the fonts more readable, especially in <my  
native language>. I can even spell my name correctly!
A: But will anyone be able to read your RFC 10,000 years from now,  
when to do so they will have to find it painted on the wall of a cave?  
ASCII is the only format that has stood the test of time - all others  
eventually get changed.

Q: (whiney voice) Gee, Mr Wizard, you mean I have to do ASCII Art? I  
don't L-I-K-E ASCII Art! Why?
A: (authoritative voice) Because an ASCII RFC can be read on a  
Teletype model 33 while hanging upside down from a chin-up bar in the  
bowels of a machine room when <bleep> is happening and one really  
needs to get it right. One needs to be able to grep the RFC to find  
the right RFC and the right text, and generally be able to do things  
as they were done on unix version 6 in 1980. Otherwise, the Internet  
will come crashing down around your ears and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT.

Q: <sniffle>...
...

OK, so tell me this. Can one read UTF8 while hanging upside down from  
a chin-up bar in the bowels of a machine room when <bleep> is  
happening and one really needs to get it right? If not, and we agree  
to UTF8, what does that say about formats in which UTF8 can be read by  
an actual living-and-breathing human being, like PDF?

This is not an argument about UTF8, mind you. 


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