Re: UTF-2 to UTF-8 conversion

Date: Thu Dec 11 1997 - 11:44:25 EST

> Does anyone out there know the difference between UTF-2
> (Unicode std 1.0 I believe) and UTF-8? If you are aware of a
> program that converts files in UTF-8 to UTF-2 and vice versa,
> please let me know,
   The Unicode Standard, Version 1.0, is represented in the
   form known as UCS-2.
   Published in the back of of The Unicode Standard, Version 1.1,
   (Unicode Technical Report #4) was a transformation format
   identified as FSS-UTF. That is what we now know as UTF-8.
   UTF-1 was a transformation format published in the first
   edition of ISO/IEC 10646, since supplanted by amendments which
   have defined UTF-8 and UTF-16.
   The Unicode Standard, Version 2.0, is represented in the form
   known as UTF-16--which for all characters encoded so far is
   identical to UCS-2.
   UTF-2 is an erroneous term.
   . . .

Maybe not. UTF-2 was the original name for UTF-8. As you
note, Ken, UTF-1 was a transformation format in the first
edition of ISO/IEC 10646. It quickly became clear that UTF-1
was not very useful, so an alternative was developed. I think
some of the people working on Plan 9 developed it, along with
Gary Miller of IBM and others. (But I'm getting old, so my
memory may be faulty.) Anyway, the alternative was called

That name changed pretty quickly to FSS-UTF (File System
Safe UCS Transformation Format). The second name was a mouthful,
however, so it changed AGAIN to UTF-8.

Because few people remember UTF-2, it is possible that your
answer here is correct, and the original requestor (I don't
remember who asked this) meant to type UCS-2 but typed
UTF-2 instead. But if he really did mean UTF-2, the
question about converters between UTF-2 and UTF-8 becomes
relatively simple. These are supposed to be the same thing.
However, I believe some small changes have slipped into UTF-8
over time. In that case, these would be almost, but not quite,

                Historically yours,
                -- Sandra
Sandra Martin O'Donnell

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