Re: EURO SIGN in Unicode

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Jul 08 1997 - 16:36:26 EDT

> Was there some discussion about how the existing strange character
> originally got into Unicode? There was some suspicion on comp.std.internat
> raised that this position was originally intended as a place holder for the
> euro symbol, but at the time the Unicode standard was printed, it was not
> known yet what this symbol will eventually look like, so someone made up
> this C/E symbol.

There was *very* extensive discussion of:


U+20A0 got into Unicode for compatibility with the XCCS (Xerox Coded
Character Set) 357B/245B, where is is called "European Currency sign"
and has the glyph shown in Unicode for U+20A0. It predates 1989 in that
vendor standard. Its use in XCCS is somewhat debatable, but it may have
been a placeholder for a currency sign for the ECU. It clearly predated
the later specification of the EURO as a currency.

> Anyway, a related question: How well are the design decisions for
> Unicode documented. Is there any rational database where there is
> some comment text stored for every character that explains why this
> character was added and what other references justified the addition
> of this character? If not, something like this would be very useful
> to have.

There is a 8 year paper and email trail for Unicode, and an even longer
and more voluminous trail for JTC1/SC2/WG2's work on 10646. Most of
the information is recoverable, but no character encoding historian
has volunteered to come forth and document it all or to create a
database of the sort you mention. Most of us working on the standard
are focussing our attention on ensuring that what is already encoded
doesn't get broken or misinterpreted and on ensuring that what still
needs to get encoded (Burmese, Sinhala, Khmer, Runes, Hieroglyphics,
Syriac, ...) does get encoded.

Sounds like a great dissertation project to me!

--Ken Whistler

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

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