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Subject: Re: [tm-pubsubj-comment] Baltimore minutes

Lars Marius Garshol scripsit:

> Of course, there's also the issue of human-friendliness, and I think
> ISO 639 and 3166 have made the right choices. Languages do not change
> very often, so using human-understandable lables in ISO 639 is OK (and
> would have been no problem had ISO chosen stability over semantics).
> Countries, on the other hand, do change often, and even change names,
> and so choosing numbers in ISO 3166 is also right.

The only reason that ISO 639 (or more accurately, its RA) favors stability
is that the RFC 3066 community hammered them until they accepted the
stability principle.  Michael Everson, the RFC 3066 reviewer, had a lot
to do with this and can probably tell you the ins and outs.  Before that,
ISO 639 codes were almost as labile as ISO 3166 ones.

> I suppose you mean this as an illustration that if the authority is
> not committed to stability having identifiers free of semantics does
> not help. 

Just so.

> To me it is beginning to seem that there are some general guidelines
> that can be pointed towards, but that hard and absolute rules are
> going to be very difficult to come up with.

This is the beginning of wisdom.  :-)

All Gaul is divided into three parts: the part          John Cowan
that cooks with lard and goose fat, the part            www.ccil.org/~cowan
that cooks with olive oil, and the part that            www.reutershealth.com
cooks with butter. -- David Chessler                    jcowan@reutershealth.com

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