Archive for May, 2010

IDNs: The Internet has changed forever, and no one seems to have noticed

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Yesterday, one of the biggest events in the history of the Internet took place; non-Latin top-level domains went live in the DNS root zone. In plain English, you can now type the whole of a domain name in Arabic script. Not just the left of the dot (as in dot org) but the right of it, too. The three new top-level domains are السعودية. (“Al-Saudiah”), امارات. ( “Emarat”) and مصر. (“Misr”). They are country code names in Arabic for Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

How did this happen? Years of collaboration and cooperation between countless technical, policy and linguistic experts around the world, endless patience and a fair amount of justified and motivating impatience for people to be able to use their own scripts and thus languages to access the Internet.

As Tina Dam, who leads ICANN work on internationalising domain names puts it, credit goes to the “registries and governments that have worked actively locally; the IDNA protocol authors; the policy makers; application developers” such as browsers who had to figure out how to make the url field read from right to left, and many, many more. Keep reading