Isocode and Unicode

Date: Sun Dec 11 1994 - 06:00:14 EST

I had an enlightening time in L<e">tzebuerg a week ago, at the workshop
organised by CEN, and now I find myself recalling a conference I attended
in the same city more than two years ago, during which some references
made to ISO 8859-1 clearly meant nothing to many of the participants. The
attendance at the 1992 conference included lots of software salespeople,
university researchers and state officials concerned about procurement.
At last week's meetings, several people said "Unicode" was an easier name
for non-expert users (universities, publishers, Government procurers, for
example) to remember than "ISO 10646", so, instead of a number, might I
suggest adopting the term "ISOCODE", as being simple, obvious and easier
to handle in the heat of a debate?
In the context of discussions on standards for Asia, one could speak of
relevant block(s) of standard ISO 10646 as, for example, Korean Isocode,
or, in the context of discusing standards for Europe, one could speak
of Isocode level 1 (the existing minimum European subset of 10646), of
Isocode level 2 (extended minimum European subset, under construction),
and Isocode level 3 (the implementation of everything in ISO no.10646).
We might thus compare provisions for levels of implementation between
the two standards most often referred to on this discussion list:

               Isocode level 1 YES Unicode level 1 NO
               Isocode level 2 YES Unicode level 2 NO
               Isocode level 3 YES Unicode level 3 YES

or, to put it another way:

                        LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3
               Isocode YES YES YES
               Unicode NO NO YES

In the above illustration, even novice users, or busy officials burdened
with the responsibility for procurement or other decisions, would be able
to see at a glance how many implementation levels are offered by Isocode,
how many by Unicode. Within the apposition "Isocode vs. Unicode", issues
far more complex than this simple illustration might be easier to embrace.
Marion Gunn


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