Jan 4, 2008

Mixing politics and Unicode considered harmful

Over at Slashdot there is a story about Russia pushing for its own International TLD '.рф'. The comment put onto a Guardian article about this has turned some 'cold war alarm bells' on my side, hence I posted the following in the comment thread:

I'd suggest Mr. kdawson next time to take a slightly less political look at the stories he's putting up. This has nothing to do with "Hindering Paraguayan hackers" and even less so with "establishing greater control over a walled-off Internet." TLD '.RU' comes from ISO two-letter country code for Russia which is 'RU' (Notice that it matches first two letters of country name. Coincidence?). When you move to ITLDs, which presumable will allow us all to use domain names written in any language, translating 'RU' to a literal equivalent in Russian 'РУ' makes *no* sense at all. Forget about Paraguay here — it simply makes 0 sense. Options that make a little more sense are 'РОС' or 'РУС' (being parts of words 'россия' and 'русский' respectively) — but they contain thee letter each.

Now, official name of the country is not 'Russia' (just as US is not 'America'), it is 'Russian Federation'. In Russian this is 'Российская Федерация', and that is where ITLD '.РФ' is coming from.

Slashdot has eaten my Cyrillic letters and hence I'm reposting it here.