Re: Latin-1's apostrophe, grave accent, acute accent

From: Kevin Bracey (
Date: Thu Aug 05 1999 - 04:39:23 EDT

In message <>
 (Erland Sommarskog) wrote:

> Just a tidbit: I don't recall when I first was exposed to these
> ugly \\quotes||, but it must have been long back in the eighties.
> Of course in those days, I used a seven-bit terminal, so those
> grave accents where displayed LOWERCASE E WITH ACUTE in ISO-646-SE.
> But I don't think these quotes started to look pretty just because
> I switched to 8-bit terminals and printers later on. These days,
> I access Unix through a Telnet window on my NT box, and the quotes
> still look ugly.
> Anyway, it was a bad idea with limited geographical use in the
> eighties, so I fail to see that it would be a better idea today.

I think that gets to the nub of the matter - it's one of those ideas produced
for a particular market in a particular geographical region that seemed like
a good idea at the time but causes grief when interchanging with anyone else.

I am reminded of the mess in Japanese systems over U+005C. In a Japanese
font, even a notionally Unicode capable one, U+005C is usually a Yen symbol,
not a backslash, because of this sort of worry about legacy systems.

Everyone is going to have to bite the bullet and suffer a little hardship
to make the shift to Unicode. If everyone gets stubborn and defends their
own private perversion of the standard character sets, we're not going to get

In this particular case, it's no big deal anyway. So people using Unix
start seeing quotes in legacy text that looks like \this|. Big deal - that's
what I and many others have been seeing for the last ten years in text
produced on Unix systems. It's surely a good thing (TM) if Unix systems
get in synch with the rest of the world?

Kevin Bracey, Senior Software Engineer
Pace Micro Technology plc                     Tel: +44 (0) 1223 725228
645 Newmarket Road                            Fax: +44 (0) 1223 725328
Cambridge, CB5 8PB, United Kingdom            WWW:

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