A Small, Cool Thing: Arabic Domain Names

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Today a quiet but interesting change occurred. ICANN, the organization that manages Web addresses, opened up the first top-level domains (you know, like .com and .org and such) that include non-Roman characters.

So far there are only three, and they’re all in Arabic — they’re country-code domains for Egypt (مصر), Saudi Arabia (السعودية) and United Arab Emirates (امارات). But it sounds like more will follow. It’s a blow to monolithic English-language Internet culture, and in favor of linguistic biodiversity online, which sounds like a good thing to me.

Apparently they’re still arguing about the .xxx domain, though, which is also a move I’d support.

These are both via Slashdot.