Re: Comments on <draft-ietf-acap-mlsf-00.txt>?

From: Glenn Adams (
Date: Wed Jun 04 1997 - 16:56:14 EDT

At 01:01 PM 6/4/97 -0700, Unicode Discussion wrote:

> 1) I've noted tremendous resistance to assigning codepoints outside of the
> BMP, so I'm not much concerned about UCS-4.

Actually this is not at all the case. Unicode and US National Body prepared
(at WG2s request) a draft text for a new part to ISO/IEC 10646 which will
cover planes 1 and 2, including a roadmap for how to populate these planes.
There have now been approximately one dozen fully formulated script proposals
explicitly targetted at plane 1, all of which have come from the Unicode

In other words, the UTC is working as diligently as possible to populate positions
outside the BMP.

> 2) Similarly, if I'm not mistaken, the differences between UTF-16, UCS-2, and
> a sequence of 16-bit BMP codepoints are only an issue when characters are
> assigned outside of the BMP.

Yes, and very soon to be the case.

> 3) Even if characters are assigned outside of the BMP, it is not necessarily
> the case that the Internet community will use them.

It is true that what is being targetted for this area is rarely used; however,
at least one set of characters in common use in Taiwan (name variant ideographs)
are being targetted to plane 2 by the IRG.

> 4) ASCII will be around for a very long time in the Internet; which strongly
> suggests a long-term usage of UTF-8 in preference to other encodings.

Personally, I tend to advocate UTF-8 for interchange purposes over UTF-16 for
precisely this reason (and, of course, general lack of 16-bit transmission channels).

> ** Should there be such a thing as multilingual Unicode plain text? **
>For years, the answer from Unicode has been "no, use rich text instead."
>The time has come that this is no longer an acceptable answer. There are
>those of use who *insist* upon having multilingual Unicode plain text. This
>demand has been pent up for too long.

In last week's UTC, I chaired an adhoc about where to go in the context of
the formal standard under the rubrics (1) encoding, (2) semantics; and (3)
plain text. In each of these areas, we considered work tasks both in the area
of clarifications of the existing standard and extensions to the standard.
For extensions to plain text, we identified both language tagging and source
set tagging as a essential requirement being encountered by countless implementors
and which would be greatly assisted should a solution be developed in the context
of Unicode proper.

We haven't formalized the process and venue in which this work will occur, but
I would be very happy to have all interested parties participate.


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