Re: Unicode end-users

Date: Wed Aug 06 1997 - 09:49:42 EDT

Markus Kuhn wrote:

   . . .
   End-users do not care about character-set switching. They want to have
   one single simple to understand encoding that is used universally
   everywhere. All this talk about the encoding inefficiency of UTF-8
   or UCS-2 compared to 8-bit code pages is just complete academic nonsense:
   . . .

In my experience, end-users don't care at all about character
set encodings. Period. They don't care whether the system is
using one "simple to understand encoding" or many. What they
DO care about is that the system supports the characters they
need, and that it does so without forcing them be too aware of
the underlying encodings.

Having a single encoding may make it easier to provide a system
that lets end-users ignore character encodings. That is, they
may not have to worry about switching between encodings. HOWEVER,
while end-users don't want to worry about encodings, they typically
are more concerned that they can use their existing data. Since
most existing data is in a variety of encodings, rather than one,
it is necessary at least for the short term to provide systems
that understand such variety.

This "understanding" can take the form of full support for the
various encodings, or it can be something simpler that takes in
different encodings and immediately converts them to a single

Sandra Martin O'Donnell

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