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Chronology of Unicode Version 1.0



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.

April 1987

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.

Fall 1987

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.

December 1987

Earliest documented use of the term "Unicode" coined by Becker; from unique, universal, and uniform character encoding.

February 1988

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 completed:

  1. comparisons of fixed-width and mixed-width text access;
  2. investigations of the total system storage requirements with two-byte text; and
  3. 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.

April 1988

First Unicode text prototypes begin in Apple. Decision is made to incorporate Unicode support into TrueType.

Summer 1988

Becker and Collins meet with Tucker and Smith-Yoshimura of RLG in the downtown Palo Alto RLG annex to discuss criteria for unifying Han characters.

July 1988

Apple purchases RLG's CJK character database for study of Han Unification.

September 1988

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.

October 1988

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.

November 1988

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.

January 1989

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.

February 1989

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 meeting.

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.

March 1989

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.

April 1989

Decision to incorporate all composite characters in existing ISO registered standards and to guarantee round trip conversion to existing standards.

May 1989

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.

August 1989

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 standards.

Decision to use logical ordering for bidirectional (Middle Eastern) and Indic text. Issues of multiple embeddings first discussed.

September 1989

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 naming schemes.

October 1989

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 unicode@sun.com.

November 1989

Cora Zhang is hired to begin identifying JIS X 0212-1990 and GB1 mappings for inclusion in Unicode Han set.

December 1989

Collins presents Unicode as Apple's future character set at the TrueType font Jamboree.

Becker presents Unicode at Unix Internationalization meeting.

January 1990

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 responses.

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.

March 1990

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 sessions.)

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).

April 1990

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 possible.

May 1990

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 conference.

June 1990

IBM becomes active in Unicode. J.G. Van Stee joins as regular IBM representative to Unicode.

July 1990

 Sun hires James Caldwell of Pacific Rim Connections to edit the Unicode document.

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).

August 1990

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 demonstration.

September 1990

Results of IBM review of Unicode are incorporated: most notably, the compatibility zone for half-width characters and Arabic glyphs.

October 1990

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.

November 1990

Final review draft of Unicode is distributed internationally by Asmus and Anas.

Davis presents paper on Unicode by Davis and Collins to IEEE conference.

December 1990

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 Becker

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 confirmed.

January 1991

Last day of Unicode Working Group: created Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) and its procedures.

February 1991

"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).

March 1991

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 5 people.

Ecological Linguistics joined corporate membership.

Dr. Freytag & Lee Collins appointed Technical Directors.

April 1991

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 & Bidirectional Text.

May 1991

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.

June 1991

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.

July 1991

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.

August 1991

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.

September 1991

Intense lobbying effort to include Vietnamese pre-composed characters.

UTC #48: Moved on to issues of support and other scripts.

Adobe corporate member joined.

Defined Affiliate membership.

October 1991

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 planning).

Apple volunteered to print DIS 1.2 charts to help with merger.

A/W book arrived (10/18) and is distributed.

November 1991

Worked on 10646 DIS 1.2. Apple licensed UniHan database to Unicode, Inc.

Commissioned IAPS to create professional course for March workshop.

December 1991

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.

January 1992

Volume II well under way; in copy-edit phase. Han character change requests made.

10646 DIS 1.2 out for 4 month ballot.

February 1992

Because of ordering problems, decision to delay Volume II until CJK-JRG meeting.

March 1992

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.

April 1992

Informal Unicode course rehearsal at Microsoft to fine-tune course.

Added  individual and associate Unicode memberships.

May 1992

New workshops planned for San Francisco Bay area, Frankfurt and Japan.

Camera-ready copy of Volume II delivered.

10646 vote very close. Preparations for comment resolution in Seoul.

Hewlett-Packard joins the Unicode Consortium.

June 1992

The Unicode Standard Version 1.0, Volume 2 is printed.

September 1992

John C. Dvorak's article "Kiss your ASCII Goodbye" appears in PC Magazine.