Re: Cultural registry as international standard

Date: Thu Sep 17 1998 - 15:00:26 EDT

   Jony Rosenne writes:
   I object to the strange pseudo names attached to the Hebrew characters and
   some other characters, for example in item 115 "ISO-8859-8 ISO-IR-138
   ISO_8859-8:1988 ISO_8859-8 HEBREW".

The types of symbolic names are common across the charmaps;
they are not unique to the Hebrew charmap. I object to them,
too, as I have since 1994 (1993?) when I first saw them.
They are difficult to understand.
   The ISO names, possibly in abbreviated form, should be used.

I used to argue that "standard" charmaps and locales should use
human-readable names. Compare these two lists:

POSIX.2 name Cultural registry name
------------ ----------------------
backslash ////
right-square-bracket )/>
circumflex '/>

Back then, many argued that it would be impossible to agree
on a set of truly mnemonic names. If I remember right (Keld
will correct me if my memory is faulty), Keld and others felt
the symbolic names should not be English-based because that
gave an unfair advantage to English speakers. Keld also believed
the names had to be constructed of the *invariant* characters
from ISO 646. (Please note the difference between ISO 646, a
seven-bit code set, and ISO 10646, the universal code set.)
This meant the names could not include characters such as
square brackets, backslash, tilde, and others.

Although I still would like the names to be human-readable,
I'm losing hope that we can agree on what those names would be --
although the Unicode/ISO 10646 descriptive names would be obvious
candidates. That may be what you mean, Jony, when you suggest
using "the ISO names."

Another candidate is to use the Unicode values (e.g., U005C,
U005D, etc.). They're not human-readable, but they don't give
an advantage to English speakers, and they only use the
*invariant* characters from ISO 646. If an international
registry must use unreadable names, I recommend using the
Unicode values.

                -- Sandra
Sandra Martin O'Donnell

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