Re: UTF-8, ISO C Am.1, and POSIX

Date: Thu Aug 14 1997 - 14:52:53 EDT

Glenn Adams writes:
   A good case can be made that the only reason they needed a code set
   independent design was because Unicode did not exist at that time. It's
   existence now obviates the POSIX design philosophy. Eventually, all
   systems will migrate to Unicode/10646 as their default character set.
   . . .
   Of course the pace of this transition is certainly an arguable (and unknown)
   datum at this time.

The scene in my crystal ball is considerably different than
yours. Having been in computers for almost 15 years and i18n
for 10, I've seen countless examples of companies and
countries choosing different solutions for a problem, and
only one where they all chose the SAME solution. This single
example is traffic lights -- in all places I've ever visited,
red means stop and green means go.

For everything else, people and computer companies choose
different solutions. In some places you drive on the right;
in others, the left. Some countries use the metric system;
others use the Imperial system (with local variations). Countries
have different currencies, languages, writing systems, calendars,
etc., etc. Computer companies don't provide *one* OS; they each
provide their own (often, one company provides multiple OSes).
There isn't *one* C compiler; there are dozens. There isn't
*one* word processor; there are many choices. There isn't *one*
type of endianness, even though that would be simpler. There isn't
*one* size for bytes, even though most do use eight bits. Even when
ASCII was the most dominant code set, it still wasn't the *one*
code set everyone used; EBCDIC was and still is in common use.

These are only a few examples of the countless differences I've
seen over the years. Seeing how countries and companies choose
different solutions for all sorts of problems, I don't understand
why Unicode will be the one thing on which everyone agrees. This
is an unrealistic expectation to me. Of course, support for
Unicode will grow over time, but I simply do not think "all systems
will migrate to Unicode/10646 for their default character set."

                -- Sandra

P.S. I will be out of the office most of next week (Aug 18-22),
so it may take a while for me to respond to any replies this
may generate. (What? You think this may prompt replies?? :-) )

Sandra Martin O'Donnell

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