Re: Revised ISO 2022 explanation

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Thu Nov 06 1997 - 20:53:50 EST

John Cowan's interesting summary of ISO 2022 noted:

    ISO 2022 is an extremely rich and complex standard, with a very
    large number of options, many of which have never been used in practice,
    and only a few of which are typically exercised at one time.

which might be paraphrased as:

    "All the rope you need to hang yourself *and* all your friends
     and neighbors!"

What's so great about ISO 2022 is that any byte (except 27) can mean
anything. What a wonderful way to encode text. Such power!

The other thing ISO 2022 reminds me of is Ptolemaic cosmology,
with its epicycles to account for observational data. The analog
of Copernicus' insight that the sun belonged at the center and
Kepler's insight that the orbits were ellipses, might be seen
as Joe Becker's insight that characters should be 16 bits and
be encoded in a single unambiguous universal set.

I'll keep John's summary as a reminder of why I like Unicode so much
as a character encoding. :-)


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:37 EDT