From: Jonathan Rosenne (100320.1303@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Sat Aug 17 1996 - 04:01:02 EDT

Gary Liu wrote:
>I agree with Mr. Timothy Huang , Unicode is not a good solution to world-wide
>computing , but a compromiss of some US computer giants -- those do not even
>care about how their product will shape the culture of other nations
>before they sell so-called localized software to the world.

Why should the Chinese, a powerful and capable people, depend on foreigners to
standardize a culturally important element of their language?

It is unreasonable to expect that an international consortium of well meaning,
caring and and well informed experts will come up with the definitive solution.
Chinese culture is not only complex and foreign to most of us, it is also vast.

International experts have many good ideas, and also bring with them a different
point of view, but this is not enough.

And I don't mean the list of code points. This is a technicality. I mean the
structure and selection of items to be coded. So the proper way to proceed is
for the Chinese to develop and implement a good solution and make it a national
standard that fully satisfies their needs. Then Unicode will surely incorporate it.

When I say "the Chinese", I am not very specific. There are many ways to develop
and implement ideas. But there is only one body qualified to make national
standards for China.

I would like to give the example of Hebrew. Hebrew too is an ancient and complex
language with an ancient and complex writing system. There are many people all
over the world who know Hebrew and historically many important contributions to
the understanding of Hebrew came from foreign experts. We are grateful to our
American colleagues for some of the important ideas incorporated in Unicode, and in
particular I should mention Joe Becker's article "Arabic Word Processing",
Communications of the ACM, July 1987. Joe is one of the founders of Unicode. But
nevertheless, the work of making a standard consists of more than collecting ideas.
We in Israel had to reject various drafts of 10646 and Unicode several times until
we could reach an acceptable compromise.

And I can promise you that nobody from outside will shape our culture. Influence,
yes, but shape, no. The Israeli market rejected the first MS Hebrew DOS and all
foreign word processing software until recently when they came up with acceptable

And Hebrew is an alphabetic script, mostly frozen since the ninth century. Chinese
is an ideographic script and forever changing, so its problems are much more

So, dear Chinese colleagues, stop looking to the outside. The solution lies within.

Jonathan Rosenne
JR Consulting
P O Box 33641, Tel Aviv, Israel
Phone: +972 50 246 522 Fax: +972 9 56 73 53

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