SC22/WG20 N1074




Subject: W3C I18N WG Liaison Report

Source: Martin Duerst



from: W3C Internationalization WG

to:   ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2

date: 6 October 2003



The WG is continuing its work in three task forces:


- The Core Task Force:

   - has reviewed various numerous other W3C specifications

   - continues to work on the Character Model, and recently

     republished this as an interim working draft documenting

     progress on addressing comments (

   - is working on addressing the remaining issues in the

     Internationalized Resource Identifiers Internet-Draft



- The Gudelines, Education & Outreach (GEO) Task Force

   - has published a "Framework Document for i18n Guidelines" working

     draft at

   - is working on publishing the first working draft of

     "Authoring Techniques for XHTML & HTML Internationalization 1.0"

   - is producing a series of weekly questions and answers (FAQ)


     (also available as an RSS feed at


- The Web Services Task Force

   - is working on Web Services Internationalization Usage Scenarios

     (working draft at

   - is reviewing other W3C specifications in the area of

     Web services


We encourage members of SC2/WG2 to comment on the above documents and to participate in our work (see

for details).




The W3C Internationalization WG also wishes to call your attention to its following resolution:



The Internationalization Working Group (I18N WG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) strongly supports the letter sent by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee to ISO President Oliver Smoot, expressing the W3C's deep concerns over a recent proposal by the ISO Commercial Policies Steering Group  (CPSG) to charge fees for the commercial use of ISO codes such as ISO  639 (language codes), ISO 3166 (country codes), and ISO 4127 (currency codes).


for full text).


The I18N WG also agrees with the Unicode Technical Committee (see and others regarding the highly problematic recent re-assignement of "cs" (formerly

Czechoslovakia) to Serbia and Montenegro. This code assignement should be rescinded as soon as possible, and the underlying policy should be fixed to not allow code reuse, at least not for a very long period of time, for example 100 years.




A copy of the letter to Mr. Smoot is appended for your convenience:





Text of message to Oliver Smoot




To:  Dr. Oliver Smoot, President, International Organization for Standardization


Dear Dr. Smoot,


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) wishes to express its deep concerns over a recent proposal by the ISO Commercial Policies Steering Group

(CPSG) to charge fees for the commercial use of ISO codes such as ISO

639 (language codes), ISO 3166 (country codes), and ISO 4127 (currency codes).


These and similar codes are widely used on the Web. In particular the language and country codes are of direct interest to W3C and the users of W3C Recommendations in the context of HTTP, HTML and XML and various other technologies. Language and country codes currently provide a single, standard way of identifying languages (and locales) throughout the Web. Multilingual Web sites and Web pages, as well as internationalization and localization features, would be particularly affected.


Any charges for the use of these standards are going to lead to fragmentation, delay in deployment, and in effect a lack of standardization. In particular, those users who depend upon multi-lingual or non-English language services will suffer.


In their considerations, the CPSG notes "the necessity for a number of ISO standards to be published as databases". Web technology today allows publication and reuse of data at a small fraction of the costs a few years ago. If it is the case that the costs of maintaining these databases is beyond ISO's capacity to cover, we would suggest that ISO open a discussion with the larger user community about how these services might be hosted in a manner that covers these costs.


Given that this policy would have profound impact not only on ISO, but also on industry and users of the Web at large, we urge ISO to further consider this policy and its broader implications and consequences, and to reassure the community as quickly as possible that there will be no charges for the use of these standards.


Best regards,


Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director

Steven R. Bratt, W3C Chief Operating Officer