Internationalized RFCs

2017-10-05

Ever since the first "Request for Comments" (RFC 1) was published in 1969, the RFC series has been typeset exclusively in ASCII text. It's almost a running joke among technologists and programmers. Yet that is finally changing. The recently-published RFC 8187 marks the first time that RFCs have included Unicode characters and an encoding other than ASCII (i.e., UTF-8). Today, RFCs 8264, 8265, and 8266 take that a step further by using non-ASCII characters in a more thorough-going way; appropriately enough, these three RFCs define revised versions of the PRECIS specifications for the preparation, enforcement, and comparison of internationalized strings in application protocols (thus replacing RFCs 7564, 7613, and 7700, which I authored in 2015). I'm sure many readers never thought they'd see a symbol like ∞ (INFINITY, Unicode code point U+221E) in an RFC, but we did it! Many thanks to the RFC Editor team for making this day possible, and to my co-authors Marc Blanchet and Alexey Melnikov for making this day necessary. ;-)

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