ICANN gets test results on internationalised domains
Mao's model communist beta testers step it up
ICANN made a serious public relations push about its long-standing attempts to implement Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) the week prior to the October ICANN meeting, and the initial public test results are in.
ICANN released preliminary statistics Monday covering the first public tests of the long awaited localised domains.
In truth, IDNs have been in the testing phase for years, but only in the weeks leading up to the latest ICANN meeting did ICANN allow the Joe Sixpacks of the non-English speaking world to test the system out, albeit in a very limited capacity. This correspondent was fortunate enough to get a personal walk-through of the system at the Los Angeles meeting courtesy of ICANN's IDN honcho Tina Dam.
The results are in, and the black helicopter compulsives can rejoice: the Chinese are indeed threat numero uno to western civilisation, if ICANN's numbers are to be believed. Chinese-literate internet enthusiasts accounted for a whopping 40 per cent of all beta testers, followed weakly by our other former cold war foil, the Russian-speaking crowd, at a relatively feeble 13 per cent.
Somewhat surprisingly, Opera, which at the time of the meeting was the only fully compatible IDN web browser, hasn't gained any traction whatsoever in the browser wars as result of its technological superiority, even among early adopters.
Full-fledged IDNs are still a bit away, but for those who want to pre-party and do a little beta testing themselves, the latest testing results and posted comments can be found here. ®
Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
You do NOT type the Kanji into the URL but an encoded version of it. That uses US-ASCII codepoint and can thus be typed from a normal keyboard.
Risk of Ghettoizing Internet
My concern is not with the idea of International Domain Names, but with the real possibility of setting up ghettos on the Internet -- one for each language. This leads to the reinvention of the Tower of Babel and all its inherent problems. The huge advantage of everyone speaking the same language, on-line at least, means that the ideas and contributions have no borders or boundaries.
Another concern is that IDN allows for easier government censorship.
Let's be honest, sending *anything* by text is a triumph of the will over a wholly inadequate input device. Anyway, *you* won't have to. The people with Kanji URLs in their address book will be "foreigners" and will probably have a phone with a Kanji keyboard.
I'm struggling to see the "news" in this story, though. It appears that 99% of those who signed up for the IDN beta are folks who don't use a Latin alphabet. Well bugger me with a pitchfork. Who'd have guessed?