ICANN to start Internationalised Domain Name testing

The ICANN plan to roll out domain names non-western scripts is about to release trial top-level domain names using the world ‘test’ translated into Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil. The top level trial domains will be retired once production domains in these scripts are rolled out:

It is planned that the .test labels will be kept in the DNS root zone and resolving with example
positioned at the second level (i.e., translations of example.test) until registrations in a
corresponding script are available in a production environment. Although it is anticipated that
the evaluation facility will be of short-term utility the lifespan of the evaluation may be
extended if it is demonstrated that target groups will derive continuing benefit from it.

I’m expecting that many, many, applications which touch DNS are going to have to be patch to fix bugs that will be shown up by this change, so expect a wave of patches and updates 2-6 months from now. Well behaved applications which handle DNS by calling system libraries are likely to be OK, since this change have been in the wind for ~3 years and the maintainers of specialist libraries should be prepared for it.

I’ve previously written about ICANN’s failure to move on this and other topics, but it looks like I may have been too quick to criticise them.