Re: "Euro" and the POSIX locale model

From: Mark Leisher (
Date: Tue Oct 21 1997 - 16:06:42 EDT

    Kenneth> Definition of currencies and the topology of their usage
    Kenneth> across software to define both monetary ratios and
    Kenneth> localizable currency formatting rules are *different* from
    Kenneth> character sets used for data conversion. They are
    Kenneth> *different* from collation rules. They are *different* from
    Kenneth> language identity. Anybody with a ounce of object-oriented
    Kenneth> design background can see that such things don't belong
    Kenneth> together in properly designed classes.

There is a lot of confusion about POSIX locales not only because of the
problems you mention above, but because vendors supply platform specific
POSIX locale support that does not work the same on other platforms.
Can I use my Solaris 2.6 Estonian locale on the latest AIX? Probably
not. At least not unless I have the locale sources and was willing to
do some fiddling to get the sources in shape for compiling on AIX.

Implementers want to do the right thing, but instinct tells them the
"tools" are wrong for the job. To meet that all-important POSIX
compliance, they try to fit the square block into the round hole

    Kenneth> I realize that this may not be viewed as a very
    Kenneth> constructive response to your questions, which, no doubt,
    Kenneth> are posed in good faith. However, I have very little
    Kenneth> patience with the tyranny of the locale model of
    Kenneth> internationalization, which is presented as the only
    Kenneth> standard solution, and which has a rigid hold of many
    Kenneth> language standards as well.

    Kenneth> It is an ill-conceived design which ill-serves the purpose
    Kenneth> it was intended for, and when faced with additional
    Kenneth> requirements, such as dealing with the Euro currency or the
    Kenneth> Universal Character Set, it keeps getting more and more
    Kenneth> baroque and hard to implement.

You know, taken out of context, this last sentence could be about some
parts of the Standard C++ Library as well (or C++ itself, depending on
your prejudices).
Mark Leisher "A designer knows he has achieved perfection
Computing Research Lab not when there is nothing left to add, but
New Mexico State University when there is nothing left to take away."
Box 30001, Dept. 3CRL -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Las Cruces, NM 88003

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