Re: FW: Euro currency sign

From: Alain LaBont\i - ordi1dgsig (
Date: Wed Oct 15 1997 - 20:02:32 EDT

A 10:04 97-10-15 -0700, Einar Indridason a écrit :

[Ed Hart] :
>> ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2/WG 3 is proposing to add a new 8-bit code to
>> resolve this issue. It will be a new part of ISO/IEC 8859 that
>> replaces 8 characters in 8859-1 (Latin-1) with the Euro symbol, 3
>> characters necessary for French, and 4 characters necessary for
>> Finnish but not in 8859-1. All of the replaced characters are above
>> 160. Alain La Bonté is the editor for the new part. The first ballot
>> in the ISO/IEC standardization process has been distributed to the
>> national standards organizations for voting.

[Einar] :
>And what will that standard be called? 8859-1 (Latin-1) is allready taken.
>Which 8 characters in 8859-1 will be replaced?

[Alain] :
8859-1 will stay as is. No plan to change it, despite the fact that I heard
a very big company say that we should have done it for the EURO while this
company campaigned for years against any change of Latin 1 before, even to
correct mistakes. (;

The new part is being balloted under the name ISO/IEC 8859-15 (nicknamed
Latin 0)

[Ed Hart] :
>> Given that the Euro symbol will be covered with the proposed 8-bit
>> code, I think that it would be unnecessary to change any characters in
>> the ASCII range (below 127) to accommodate the Euro symbol.

[Einar] :
>No, we should keep ascii as it is.

[Alain] :
I fully agree. We should stop to use 7-bit per octet anyway. ASCII is
frozen. It was itself corected a historical mistake in 1991 when the IRV
has been declared to be USASCII (before glastnost, Russians insisted that
the currency symbol be the international reference instead of the dollar
sign -- no more, at the request of Russians themselves, who said that tehy
were using American Teletypes anyway!) The currency sign has been in ASCII,
it was also put in Latin-1 with the intent to get rid of it in 7-bit ASCII.
And even in Latin 1 it was a historical accident, useless for the semantics
it was implicitly bearing due to its name.

[Einar] :
>We should also keep 8859-1 (latin-1)
>exactly as it is - no changes!

I agree too. ISO/IEC 8859-15 is a table that will allow harmonizing EBCDIC,
in general all other 8-bit character sets (in particular the Windows code
that will not require change of internal data in computers) and UNICODE,
for data interchange, as far as the EURO SIGN is concerned, that the 3
Latin-1-less French characters are concerned and that the 4 Latin-1-less
missing Finnish characters are concerned. French and Finnish were supposed
to be supported fully by Latin 1 but ISO has now recognized that it is not
the case. So this is corrective, but no change of history has been
envisaged for this.

If it catches on over time, on pure ISO-code machines, then I don't see the
problem. If it does not, because pure ISO machines were hypothetically rare
(I don't say that!), I see no problem either. But Latin 0 is required as
there are missing links. And it is fully compatible with Latin-1,
alphabet-wise, including Icelandic characters, so you will be personally
reassured, Einar (;

The 8 characters replaced share the same codes as vulgar fractions in Latin
1 (3 characters), as stand-alone accents (3 other characters), plus the
broken bar (the inclusion of this character in Latin-1 was also but a
historical accident as this character was at once just a presentation form
of the vertical bar in ASCII [due to a mistake in an old ANSI standard],
and it has caused more problems than anything else).

The remaining issue (not difficult) is a choice between the code of Latin-1
PLUS-MINUS SIGN and of the CURRENCY SIGN (which was never used for any
currency usage!), for the EURO SIGN. It seems to correspond to a wide
consensus that the PLUS-MINUS should be preserved and the CURRENCY SYMBOL
"replaced" by the EURO SIGN (not replaced in fact, Latin 1 is untouched,
don't forget). Some countries made a straw coalition so far to vote with a
focused comment in this sense.

Don't worry, transition will be as harmless as possible. It will be a
goodie for Europeans, a goodie for French-speakers (who will use it outside
of Europe immediately), and a goodie for Finnish speakers, and will go
almost unnoticed by others, who will anyway continue to have the choice.

Alain LaBonté

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