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Re: Binary vs. ASCII for certificates

Bancroft Scott wrote:
> How do you propose handling internationalization?  Is spki targeted
> mainly at the English speaking world?  Allowing use of Unicode is
> a plus that I think we ought to keep in mind.

I also endorse Unicode. In the UTF-8 encoding, it is roughly
equivalent to 7-bit ascii. Only once the UTF-8 parser comes across a
character with the 8th bit set does it go into gear.

Bancroft Scott wrote more:
> I find it much easier processing messages when fields are either of
> fixed length or are prefixed with a length field when appropriate.

This is one problem with UTF-8, that the strings are variable length,
or at least, they have the potential to be during the ISO-LATIN-1 to
UTF-8 conversion. This requires more careful memory management, among
other things. The good news is that advanced dynamic languages like
Java will (IMHO) be increasingly used for this type of programming, so
the variablity of the string lengths becomes less of an issue).

Later, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> encoded, I'd say that going for UNICODE certificates would be a big
> mistake -- it would eliminate all the benefits of ASCII but force all
> the worst problems associated with such a format. If we had to encode

The "worst problems" of Unicode aren't all that bad, IMHO. In any
case, when faced with a tricky, but useful desired feature
(i.e. Unicode) it makes sense for one person to write a good library
of routines once, distribute it, and allow others to use it in their
products. To this end, Bunyip is writing a Unicode library. It will be
publically distributed and available for use in free and commercial
software products.

Don't ask about the release schedule -- these things are hard to
predict. The code exists, in a prelimiary form. It's mostly a good
data structure and some routines to manage it. It is currently being
used in version 2.0 of Digger, Bunyip's Whois++ server. Bunyip has
plans to ship the unicode library separately, as well as integrated
into the Digger 2.0 distribution.

For more information about the Unicode library, write to
libunicode-info@bunyip.com. (This alias will be working
tomorrow... for now, send mail to me.)

    Jeff Allen <jeff@bunyip.com>   |   For information about Bunyip
Bunyip Information Systems, Inc.   |   send e-mail to <info@bunyip.com>