Re: Unicode Standard & ISO-10646

From: John Cowan (
Date: Thu May 13 1999 - 14:14:33 EDT

Daniel Michael McQuillen wrote:

> However, I'm still a little confused as to _why_ there are two different
> entities promoting the same standard, and why these groups use two
> different names.

In this case, the alternative would have been two different entities
promoting two different and incompatible standards under different
names. (Unicode is a vendor consortium, ISO is a federation of
national technical standards groups.) The fact that they produced
what is in effect the same standard was a tremendous technical win
as well as a political miracle.

John's Own Version Of Unicode Vs. ISO 10646 (Mark D., this is
OK for the FAQ):

1) Unicode goes from 0 to 0010FFFF; 10646 goes up to 7FFFFFFF, but
never intends to use the extra space.
2) 10646 sticks to just a few per-character properties: name, typical
glyph(s), combining character status, mirroring status; Unicode has gobs
of other properties.
3) Unicode's hard copy is about a tenth the price of 10646's, and
they have a useful web site, too.
4) Unicode doesn't formally support the 32-bit-wide fixed-width format
that 10646 calls UCS-4, but the conversions are trivial.
5) Everybody involved works real hard to make sure the standards
are synchronized and stay synchronized.

I think that says it all.

John Cowan
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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