Re: "Euro" and the POSIX locale model

Date: Wed Oct 22 1997 - 13:33:40 EDT

Mark Leisher writes:
   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.

You're right, but that's because POSIX locales favor flexibility
over specificity. POSIX.2 or some other group could have written
standard locales for all common language+territory combinations,
and even defined a common object format, so that locales written
and compiled on Solaris could also run and produce the same results
on AIX.

But the majority view was that flexibility was more important.
This allowed different vendors to write locales that would meet
customers' requests. If you've spent any time maintaining locales,
you know that two people from the same country speaking the same
language often have two DIFFERENT opinions about what is the "right"
behavior. Flexibility in the locale design allow you to meet each
user's requirements.

Of course flexibility comes with drawbacks. But so does a "one
size fits all" approach.

The POSIX locale model has serious limitations, particularly for
those who want true multilingual support and in the increasing
world of distributed computing. I also think it would be nice to
remove the character classification stuff from locales, and
instead use the Unicode model that character properties are
constant. But locales are a nice, flexible way to define the
behavior you want and then apply that behavior to your data.

Sandra Martin O'Donnell

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