At Xerox, Huan-mei Liao, Nelson Ng, Dave Opstad, and Lee Collins
begin work on a database to map the relationships between identical
Japanese (JIS) and Chinese (simplified and traditional) characters for
quickly building a font for extended Chinese characters. Xerox users
(e.g. Nakajima of Toronto) were in fact using JIS to extend the small
Chinese character set. This leads to a first discussion of Han
Unification, the pros & cons of which are written up by Eric Mader.
At the same time at Apple, discussions of a universal character set
are sparked by the Apple File Exchange development. Mark Davis begins
Apple's participation in ANSI X3L2.
Peter Fenwick's visit to Xerox inspires Unicode's original "begin
at 0 and add the next character" architecture. Also attending were
Alan Tucker and Karen Smith-Yoshimura from RLG (The Research Libraries
Group) and Nakajima from the University of Toronto.
The Xerox group under Joe Becker begins discussing multilingual
issues with Davis. New character encoding is a major topic.
Evaluation by Opstad that 7 years of experience with Xerox XCCS
compression scheme shows that fixed-width design is preferable.
Earliest documented use of the term "Unicode" coined by Becker;
from unique, universal, and uniform character encoding.
Collins begins work at Apple. One of the first tasks is to consider
Davis's new character encoding proposals for future Apple systems, one
of which includes fixed-width 16 bit characters, under the name "High
Text" (ASCII being "Low Text"). Three main investigations are
- comparisons of fixed-width and mixed-width text access;
- investigations of the total system storage requirements with
two-byte text; and
- preliminary character counts for all world alphabets.
Based on these investigations, and experience with different
character encodings, the basic architecture for Unicode is derived.
This is incorporated in Collins' document Unicode Principles.
Becker presents Unicode principles to /usr/group
Internationalization Subcommittee meeting at Uniforum in Dallas.
First Unicode text prototypes begin in Apple. Decision is made to
incorporate Unicode support into TrueType.
Becker and Collins meet with Tucker and Smith-Yoshimura of RLG in
the downtown Palo Alto RLG annex to discuss criteria for unifying Han
Apple purchases RLG's CJK character database for study of Han
Becker and Collins go to ANSI X3L2 to argue for Han Unification and
use of C0 C1 within ISO DP 10646. Becker later presents "Unicode '88"
proposal to ISO WG2.
Encouraged by Ed Smura of Association of Font Information
Interchange (AFII), Collins and Becker attend AFII meeting in Tokyo to
discuss Han glyphs. Included demo at Fuji Xerox of the Xerox Han
cross-reference tool in reference to Han unification.
Collins begins building the Unicode Non-Han database and defining
the initial repertoire, the first database for the Unicode names and
mappings. The core content and issues are refined in a series of
meetings. The original design, based on distinction between text
content and text form, excludes composite characters.
Collins meets with Xerox standards people (Ed Smura, Abhay Busha,
Becker) to discuss sharing of databases for Han Unification. Xerox
supports multi-corporate alternative to 10646. Agrees to exchange data
with the aim of harmonizing the two databases.
Metaphor decides to implement a 16-bit character encoding to
support internationalization of its software.
Unicode meeting brings in Metaphor (Mike Kernaghan and Ken
Whistler), RLG (Karen Smith-Yoshimura and Joan Aliprand).
Out of this grows the bi-monthly meetings joined by Sun (Glenn
Wright), then Adobe (John Renner), Claris (Joe Bosurgi), HP (Mike Ksar),
NeXT (James Higa) and Pacific Rim Connections (James Caldwell).
The numbering of these Unicode working group meetings, which later
morphed into Unicode Technical Committee meetings when the Unicode
Consortium was formally founded in 1991, starts from the February 1989
Meetings are initially held at Xerox, Metaphor, Apple, and HP.
Eventually RLG offers a permanent meeting place.
Glenn Wright begins maintaining Unicode@sun.com for network
discussion of Unicode.
Collins begins building Unicode Han database in Hypercard using RLG
and CCCII data. Repertoire of existing Han standards (Big Five/CNS,
GB, JIS, KS, and EACC) is completed by May.
Decision to incorporate all composite characters in existing ISO
registered standards and to guarantee round trip conversion to
Becker and Collins attend AFII meeting in Hong Kong to discuss
common Han glyphs. AFII comes out in support of Han Unification within
ISO DP 10646.
Becker and Collins merge Apple and Xerox Han databases, resolving
differences. Decision to follow JIS and Chinese guidelines in
resolving variants and to preserve all distinctions within existing
Decision to use logical ordering for bidirectional (Middle Eastern)
and Indic text. Issues of multiple embeddings first discussed.
Becker and Collins present first draft (printed by Becker) of
Unicode to ANSI X3L2. As a result, ANSI proposes a compromised Han
Unification and use of C0, C1 to ISO. Apple, Claris, Metaphor, NeXT,
and Sun participate on behalf of Unicode. This first draft uses
Davis's Gray code scheme for ordering the Han.
As a result of this compromise, the Unicode working group decides
to use existing ISO orderings for script subsets, and use the ISO
Collins presents Unicode to Microsoft and IBM in conjunction with
cooperation between Apple and Microsoft on TrueType.
Collins attends ISO Ad Hoc on Han Unification in Beijing,
representing both ANSI and Unicode. Input from this meeting encourages
use of human-readable ordering of the Han characters. Unicode resolves
to cooperate with China on Han unification.
Collins discussed Unicode with Apple Japan engineers and gets
support for Unicode.
Davis represents Unicode at ISO SC2/WG2 meeting in Amman Jordan.
WG2 agrees to accept floating diacritics.
Rick McGowan of AT&T Unix Pacific in Tokyo begins vigorous
discussion in support of Unicode on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cora Zhang is hired to begin identifying JIS X 0212-1990 and GB1
mappings for inclusion in Unicode Han set.
Collins presents Unicode as Apple's future character set at the
TrueType font Jamboree.
Becker presents Unicode at Unix Internationalization meeting.
As a result of Apple-Microsoft cooperation on True-Type,
Microsoft begins to show interest in Unicode. Michel Suignard and
Asmus Freytag of Microsoft begin attending Unicode meetings.
McGowan later attends first Unicode meeting in Tokyo with Apple
Japan, Microsoft KK, etc.
JIS committee meets to discuss Unicode. Collins translates comments
from Pro Tajima resulting from this meeting. Becker and Collins write
Seybold Report on Desktop Publishing highlights Unicode project as
part of discussion on fonts. Becker, Collins and Davis respond with
two lengthy corrections in April issue.
Collins and Becker attend the ISO WG2 Ad Hoc on Han Unification in
Seoul Korea. New layout of Unicode is distributed based on Kang Xi
radical stroke order.
Non-Han basically is completed by this time. Work begins on cross
mappings and names.
Characters are removed from 0x0080-0x009F C1 space for
compatibility. "Roundtrip" guaranteed for ISO 8859 and ISO 6937.
Glenn Wright of Sun and Mike Kernaghan of Metaphor begin work on
incorporation of the Unicode Consortium.
Joan Winters starts representing SHARE at Unicode meetings. (SHARE
begins giving Unicode a lot of attention in newsletters and conference
Japanese Unicode Study Group founded by Kitano-san (Microsoft
Japan), Yamamura-san (Apple Japan) and McGowan. Later attendees
include Takahasi-san (Apple Japan), Kido-san (IBM Japan), Yamada-san
(Apple Japan), Hamaguchi-san (NEC), Kurosaka-san (Sun Microsystems
Japan), Sekiguchi-san (Fujitsu), Suzuki-san (IBM Japan).
ISO SC2 meeting in Washington, D.C. rebuffs ANSI proposal and
overturns WG2 decision on floating diacritics.
Decision is made to use names consistant with ISO 10646 where
Becker distributes the first complete draft of Unicode character
names. Whistler starts building 4th Dimension database of names and
mappings, based on data parsed from Becker's names list.
Davis presents Unicode at the Apple Worldwide Developer's
IBM becomes active in Unicode. J.G. Van Stee joins as regular IBM
representative to Unicode.
Sun hires James Caldwell of Pacific Rim Connections to edit the
Whistler takes over the Unicode non-Han database work from Collins.
Metaphor and Microsoft begin extensive character mapping effort.
Acting officers are elected for the Unicode Consortium: President
(Mark Davis), Treasurer (Bill English), Secretary (Ken Whistler).
Isai Scheinberg organizes IBM review of Unicode and study by
Toronto University of Unicode Han Unification.
Aldus (Anas Jerrah) joins Unicode.
Davis presents paper with alternative formatting code proposals,
and implements different proposals in a WYSIWYG prototype for
Results of IBM review of Unicode are incorporated: most notably,
the compatibility zone for half-width characters and Arabic glyphs.
Completion of Unicode Han final review draft. Toronto University
begins review of the Unicode Han.
Bosurgi (later of GO Corporation) joins Unicode.
Bidirectional subcommittee hosted by Asmus Freytag at Microsoft
begins detailed comparison of bidirectional text ordering proposals by
Davis, and IBM responses.
McGowan (at this time employed at NeXT) begins a database of
characters for addition to future versions of the standard.
Final review draft of Unicode is distributed internationally by
Asmus and Anas.
Davis presents paper on Unicode by Davis and Collins to IEEE
Yasuo Kida of Apple Japan represents Unicode at SEA Forum in Tokyo.
Indic character issues resolved in subcommittee. Decision to use
logical ordering for all South Asian scripts, add length marks, and
incorporate much of H. M. Ross' feedback.
Additional acting officers are elected for the Unicode Consortium:
(Vice-President) Mike Kernaghan and (Technical Vice-President) Joe
January 3, 1991
Incorporation of the Unicode Consortium as Unicode, Inc. in the
state of California.
January 25, 1991
First board meeting. By-laws approved, consortium officers
Last day of Unicode Working Group: created Unicode Technical
Committee (UTC) and its procedures.
"Universal Computer Code Due" by Andrew Pollack. One of the
first articles about Unicode appears in the New York Times.
Hired editor for Unicode Book: Erica Liederman.
UTC #44,45. Draft feedback consolidation.
Hired The Benjamin Group as PR firm. Explore PR strategies.
Press Release #1 issued 2/19.
Digital, Lotus, Novell corporate members joined.
Unicode vs. 10646 DIS 1 session at SHARE (San Francisco).
Unicode Book all day editing session on 3/15.
UTC #46 3/26-27. Unicode Book ETA to A/W May 7.
Unicode Book cover started. Started writing final text sections by
Ecological Linguistics joined corporate membership.
Dr. Freytag & Lee Collins appointed Technical Directors.
U.S. "No" position on 10646 DIS1.
2-day editing meeting #2. Much pressure to delay. Unicode
Book ETA held to May 7.
Sent out Han drafts. UTC written ballot: Conformance &
Pre-copy edit edition delivered to A/W on May 8 (on time).
Authors dropping like flies. (Too many crises, too few people.)
Merger proposals for Unicode & ISO 10646 were floated.
Borland Int'l joined corporate membership.
10646 DIS 1 defeated. "The Merger" process began at ad hoc ISO WG2
San Franciso meeting. A/W delay options reviewed. Han section delayed.
Last text review edition sent to A/W 6/27.
UTC #47 6/7. 10646M response; recommended 10646U proposal.
UTC Subcommittees for Gaiji, Hangul, CJK, New scripts created.
Drive towards Camera Ready Copy.
CJK-JRG (Chinese, Japanese & Korean Joint Research Group) created
to deal with Han Unification. This group later became the IRG.
Unicode book split into 2 volumes at last minute to support the
merger with 10646.
Commissioned Unicode brochure, Licensing agreement into Unicode.
Metaphor licensed character database to Unicode, Inc.
Unofficial 2-day Unicode Workshop a success.
Production-ready copy delivered to A/W 8/9, at long last.
Geneva WG2 meeting: accepted major Unicode features. (C0/C1;
Floating marks; Han Unification; Unicode chars.) Added ISO
relationship notice to book at last minute.
Intense lobbying effort to include Vietnamese pre-composed
UTC #48: Moved on to issues of support and other scripts.
Adobe corporate member joined.
Defined Affiliate membership.
WG2 meeting in Paris. SC2 meeting in Rennes. Several thousand more
compatibility characters, and in particular a large number of Arabic
ligatures were added for the repertoire merger with 10646.
UTC #49 in Toronto (Impacts of merger on Unicode, Volume II
Apple volunteered to print DIS 1.2 charts to help with merger.
A/W book arrived (10/18) and is distributed.
Worked on 10646 DIS 1.2. Apple licensed UniHan database to Unicode,
Commissioned IAPS to create professional course for March workshop.
Acceptance of Han Unification 1.0 from CJK-JRG. Validation of final
proposal at Apple. Distributed the UniHan 1.0 database.
Apple, Metaphor, Digital pulled together to print DIS 1.2.
Volume II well under way; in copy-edit phase. Han character change
10646 DIS 1.2 out for 4 month ballot.
Because of ordering problems, decision to delay Volume II until
2nd Unicode Implementer's workshop a success. Attendance of three
times the expected number.
Volume II cover to use Kang Xi page, in same style and angle as
Rosetta Stone on Volume I.
CJK-JRG ratifies Han changes, so Volume II proceeds.
Informal Unicode course rehearsal at Microsoft to fine-tune course.
Added individual and associate Unicode memberships.
New workshops planned for San Francisco Bay area, Frankfurt and
Camera-ready copy of Volume II delivered.
10646 vote very close. Preparations for comment resolution in
Hewlett-Packard joins the Unicode Consortium.
The Unicode Standard Version 1.0, Volume 2 is printed.
John C. Dvorak's article "Kiss your ASCII Goodbye" appears in PC