Re: Latin00 (was Re: MES as an ISO standard?)

From: Markus G. Kuhn (
Date: Tue Jul 08 1997 - 14:47:36 EDT wrote on 1997-07-08 08:25 UTC:
> > In my opinion really useless characters in Latin 1 are:
> >
> >
> > the vulgar fractions, and the non-combining diacritical marks.
> I looks like you can find that many of the supposedly useless characters
> are in use. For example the NO SIGN is very nice to use as a not sign
> (much better than ! in programming languages).

Well, my point about the uselessness of the NOT SIGN is mainly that I consider
it useless to be there alone, without the other symbols of formal logic
The NOT SIGN os no fun without the rest of the family.

> For me the cent sign and
> the yen sign are useless as well as vulgar factions, small superscript 1 2 3
> and many more.

The small superscripts 2 and 3 are quite handly for using the metric
system in environments where you do not have a superscripting mechanism
(plain text files, email, etc.):

The metric system and Latin-1:

  centered dot: 80 Nm
  micro: 20 m
  degree: 37 C
  square: 200 m
  cubic: 40 cm
  plus-minus: 800.5 mm
  times: 210 mm 297 mm (or shorter: A4)

Except for the OHM SIGN or the GREEK CAPITAL LETTER OMEGA, ISO 8859-1 covers
quite well all the symbols you need to write down any SI unit.

The superscript 2 and 3 as well as the MICRO SIGN are available on every
German PC keyboard for instance (AltGr 2, 3, M) and are definitely not
candidates for removal from Latin-1.
> Better to keep Latin-1 as it is and use UCS when you need other characters
> including the euro sign.

Agreed. There is no really urgent need for the euro sign, because first of
all we not yet even know for sure whether the European Monetary Union will
start as planned in 1999/2001, and in addition I am confident to say that
at the moment 0.000%0% of all fielded keyboards do not have a key for
this symbol. There are many cultures in Europe, who have lived so far happily
without *any* special currency symbol. For example, Germans always wrote DM
as a short for of Deutsche Mark, there never was a German Mark symbol, and
it is quite possible that just writing Eu will become popular to identify
the currency instead of this symbol. Sure, the euro symbol definitely
should be added as fast as possible to Unicode, and who needs it will
soon find systems with Unicode support who offer it (plus the oe ligatures,
smart quotes, and even the most esoteric symbols of formal logics).

I have another question:

Although I feel pretty well informed about the various PC character sets
and all the ISO standards in this field, I have *very* little practical
knowledge about EBCDIC. Can anyone recommend me a good article or Web
page about EBCDIC, its history, its design decisions, its technical
properties, and what versions of EBCDIC exist? Just to know the
historic aspects ...

I have also heard now several times that Microsoft has defined an around 600
characters large subset of Unicode called the Windows Glyph List Four (WGL4).
Is a list of what exactly is in WGL4 somewhere available online? It would
be interesting to compare WGL4 against MES to get an impression of what
Microsoft's coorporate requirement for a <1000 character european subset
of Unicode (the hypothetical ISO 15646-1) would be.


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Science grad student, Purdue
University, Indiana, USA -- email:

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