Re: SECS & VSECS: Small European Character Sets

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sun Aug 16 1998 - 11:12:49 EDT

Ar 10:22 +0100 1998-08-16, scríobh Markus Kuhn:
>Michael Everson wrote on 1998-08-15 11:18 UTC:
>> As the editor of a Commission-funded project to develop one or more subsets
>> of the UCS, I must protest again, that Markus Kuhn, who has been
>> participating in the CEN Workship WS-MES, has published the "SECS" and the
>> "VSECS" without the consensus of European and other experts actively
>> working in this area.
>> It may be the case that, with or without modifications, the subsets Markus
>> has described will be adopted by the Workshop.
>> Despite the fact that Markus has named these as "European", they do not,
>> however, reflect European consensus and may not meet European requirements.
>I apologize for using the term "European [TM]", which according to the
>tone of this posting apparently is a registered trademark of Michael
>Everson and the CEN Workship on Multilingual European Subsets, and which
>therefore must not be used under any circumstances in any context by
>private mere mortal inhabitants of the Continent of Europe [TM] without
>prior written permission by Michael Everson.

Good gods, Markus.

>I *never* ever implied in any of my postings about SECS/VSECS that they
>represent anything agreed upon by the CEN WS-MES, and therefore, your
>"protest" is, sorry, a bit childish.

No, instead you didn't refer to the CEN WS/MES at all, and appear to
advocate swift adoption and implementation of your subsets regardless of
what emerges from the CEN WS/MES. As one of the members of that team I
think it is fair enough to respond with a message regarding this context.

>The SECS/VSECS proposal is
>completely my own (unfunded) volunteer work, the major input were
>existing published ISO standards and published literature on European
>character set requirements. I even used completely new names for my
>proposal to make clear that they are my personal projects and not
>CEN-MES work.

What you didn't do, on these lists, is indicate that these subsets are
input to the CEN WS/MES, which, it is hoped, will represent a real European
consensus of a rather large group of experts (who are not all members of
CEN/TC304 by the way). What I don't understand is why you have chosen to
set yourself up in competition with work
Which, like it or not, it looks like you were doing.

>I might have implied that I personally consider the drafts the CEN-MES
>workshop has produced so far is not yet very satisfactory (and I do not
>have the impression that I am completely alone with this opinion).

Even I share this opinion. I think your work is valuable input. I just wish
you had presented it in a light somewhat more favourable to the workshop in
which you yourself are participating.

>I do propose to the CEN-MES workshop my SECS/VSECS proposals in the
>presented or modified form as a candidates for standardization. I
>equally offer them to any other interested organization, including
>Unicode Inc., JTC1, ECMA, IETF, etc., for further discussion and
>potential adoption.

One hopes that, if your proposals are good ones, they will be adopted by
the CEN WS/MES. (That means CEN Workshop/Multilingual European Subsets by
the way, for people who hadn't heard that before.) I think, since the CEN
WS/MES is expected to finish its work in a month's time, it is premature
for you to be marketing your subsets for adoption! The way that you've gone
about it just seems really perverse to me.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, you know. But I have a responsibility to
the Workshop members whose views I am supposed to be reflecting in the
draft (not an easy task as you can tell). Maybe it's territorial nonsense.
But I don't think so. I think there's a difference between one man's work
and the Agreement of a Workshop.

>I believe that wide discussion of the various subset
>proposals on the usual mailing lists will make it more likely that the
>end results will not only have the formal consensus of some
>Commission-funded committee but will also meet real user requirements.

That's a bit ingenuous but I'm not going to argue with you about it.

>Why do I want to have some independent discussions about European [TM]
>Unicode subsets going on outside CEN-MES?

"UCS subsets", please.

>I do think that some influential CEN-MES linguistic experts occasionally
>represent a bit extreme or at least very academic requirements for
>extremely narrow linguistic applications without realising all the
>consequences for implementors and users.

Well if you mean _me_ arguing for some dotted consonants all I can say is
that this is an Irish national requirement for which I will not apologize.

>The current CEN-MES requirements might be quite far
>from the requirements of most other computer users, and some independent
>competition I think is very healthy. Therefore I want to get some
>feedback from a broader user community than from just a few committee
>linguists (some of which have in my purely personal opinion repeatedly
>demonstrated a disturbing lack of experience in broader practical
>computing issues). Is that really inappropriate?

I just think you could, and should, have referred to the CEN WS/MES in
which you yourself are participating as opposed to setting up your personal
project in opposition to it.

Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta **
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478-2597 ** Facsa: +353 1 478-2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn;  Baile an Bhóthair;  Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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