Re: Unicode & Han

From: Timothy Huang (
Date: Sun Aug 11 1996 - 09:18:20 EDT

Dear Michael,

Thanks for the information about companies using Unicode. I checked the
web you gave me. Thanks. I only hope that Apple and the whole world all
use it soon so that I can submit my Chinese articles to the magazine
publishers here in Taiwan and mainland China without problems. And also
hope the day will come very soon so that I don't have to find out that
some characters I want and must use (such as a character for a given
location or in someone's name) is not in the Unicode and no place to
turn for solving the problems in an urgent situation (such as writing an
invoice). As a chemist, I already find that the characters for the
elements above 100 or so are not in the Unicode character set. I just
don't know when they will get these characters in and into a computer
system software so that I can write some articles about these elements
for the local newspaper. Perhaps, the unfortunate Chinese people have to
wait until the computer can handle these characters before they have an
chance to learn the latest scientific advancements. How long will that
be? 10 years or 100? Do you see my point? As an user, we need them
Yesterday, not by tomorrow. The feeling of waiting for Mr. Godot is not
my cup of tea.

About the Microsoft, I'll give you the source of the news when I can
find the clip. Right now, at the moment of writing this reply, it's in
one of the piles somewhere in my corner. When I find it, if you give me
your fax number, I can even fax you that. I saw the news, I think
somebody may be interested to know.

As for the character/glyph definitions, I know how Unicode define them.
However, defining them and following them are two separate matters, as
in preaching and doing. Confusions will rise when someone says one thing
and do the other. If Unicode want to use the pragmatical definitions,
it's perfectly OK. However, then, it should not be claimed or projected
to be one of the Character codes. Please let's keep the thing simple. If
it is a character code, let it contain only the characters, not the
garbages. Otherwise, the little user like us will be totally lost.

So, from what you said which "character" got in Unicode depended on who
put them in. Well, I hate to be Chinese now, because our representitives
failed us badly. I don't and won't believe that Unicode people have any
intention of being cultural bias, but the results been printed on black
ink show that unfortunately. Another suggestion to the Unicode, I think
it should invite some companies, scholars, and end users from other
countries to be in the very kernel, not just the rich American
companies. I say this with all my due respects and sincere hopes.

Speaking of Ma Jong font, if you like, I think we can make one. I can
easily scan the images, and you can use some font making software, such
as fotographer, to make them a MaJong font.

If you feel that I told you that you don't respect our culture, please
accept my apology. I don't mean that personally. In fact, you are a
better Chinese than I am -- I don't know how to play wei-chi and cook
Sichuan style. I just want everybody to contribute whatever they can so
that we can have a better Chinese Computing environment to use (now).
And if you read all my letters posted, you can see I DO respect the
Unicode greatly. The thing I am complaining is that the current end
results are far from the nice image it projected. And that was caused by
Unicode guys dealing with the wrong Chinese delegates.

In my understanding on the character coding issue, there is already an
existing American National Standard, EACC -- ANSI Z39.64, used by the
libraries worldwide. Why, then, putting so much efforts re-inventing the
wheel? The originator of the EACC, the CCCII already compiled 75,684
ideographic characters (in 1989). Why couldn't we start from that and
support that? Wasting precious resource is not one of the things a
Buddhist should do.


Timothy Huang

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