Re: XML and ISO 10646 planes beyond the BMP

From: Misha Wolf (
Date: Mon Aug 18 1997 - 16:54:11 EDT

Ken Whistler wrote:

> On Sun, 17 Aug 1997, Keld J|rn Simonsen wrote:
> > Misha Wolf writes:
> >
> > > - While the ISO 10646 coding space is theoretically 31 (not 32) bits
> > > wide, it is my understanding that ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 has decided
> > > not to encode characters beyond the 17 planes covered by Unicode.
> >
> > As far as I know, this is not true. There has even been some proposals
> > in SC2/WG2 to encode data outside the 17 planes reachable by UTF-16.

[Four excellent questions from Martin Duerst snipped]

> And I would add to Martin's questions:
> - If the proposals are for encoded *characters* to be encoded outside
> the 17 planes reachable by UTF-16, what would justify the implied
> break between Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 to put them there instead
> of on the first 15 planes (0..14; 15 and 16 are private use)?
> - If the proposals are for encoding something other than *characters*,
> as implied by the terminology "encode data" above, then why are
> such proposals associated with SC2/WG2 and 10646 instead of some
> completely different standard?

It is my theory that the people who want to associate some other,
non-character, items with the ISO 10646 range of integers starting
somewhere beyond plane 16 are promoting this approach because:

   a) they have stuff that needs putting away somewhere, and

   b) they see all these unused integers with no associated stuff,

   c) they mistakenly believe that integers are in short supply.

I wish to take this opportunity to announce that I am giving away, for
no charge at all, twenty brand new sets of integers, untouched by human
hand. A major advantage of these sets is that, unlike the ISO 10646
set which has had some careful and some less careful owners, these sets
are clean and empty and stuff can be assigned to each of them starting
from the very first beautiful number 0.

Misha Wolf Email: 85 Fleet Street
Standards Manager Voice: +44 171 542 6722 London EC4P 4AJ
Reuters Limited Fax : +44 171 542 8314 UK
Eleventh International Unicode Conference, Sep 2-5 1997,

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