RFC 4880, "OpenPGP Message Format", November 2007Source of RFC: openpgp (sec)
Errata ID: 2210
Reported By: Constantin Hagemeier
Date Reported: 2010-04-28
Rejected by: Sean Turner
Date Rejected: 2010-07-20
Section 5.2.2. says:
- Two-octet field holding left 16 bits of signed hash value.
It should say:
- Two-octet field holding the first 16 bits of signed hash value.
left is misleading. It could be remaining (from leave). And there are
cultures where the last letters of a line are on the left side.
The convention is high digit before (not left of) low digit (which may
be odd for Arabs).
The erratum makes good point that “left” is used where “first” or “high-order” might have been a better term. However, given that we know that we use Network Byte Order, “left” is a reasonable synonym for “first.” The IETF works in English and NBO; the comments about Arabs are well-taken, but pedantic and add no value.
Additionally, a search of other RFCs shows that we are not alone in using “left” to mean “high-order.” While this may be idiomatic rather than well-defined, our research shows it’s an IETF idiom as much as an OpenPGP idiom.