Re: Last Call: UTF-16

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Wed Aug 18 1999 - 09:52:52 EDT

"Martin J. Duerst" <> wrote:
> At 22:26 99/08/17 -0700, Eric Brunner wrote:
> > >This still does not mean the Internet should endorse or promote the
> > >use of private character sets, or even allow it.
> >
> > Like Ken, I've found something in this thread that bothers me.
> > The IR and the rhetoric surrounding it. Not UTF16, not by a very
> > long shot.
> Same for me. Besides the points already noted, it should be
> noticed that the IR, despite its seemingly widereaching
> abbreviation, by full title is:
This is all quite true and, like Eric, I recognize that national governments
are not necessarily (or ever) the best caretakers of the languages and
writing systems of their peoples.

At the end of the tunnel we have Unicode / ISO 10646. So far there seems to
have been surprisingly little politics involved in getting characters used
in writing any language at all into it and this is a remarkable achievement.

But until the UCS has replaced everything else, we still need interchange
standards based on existing character sets, and which body in the world
should catalog and register these sets? The IANA? How will they choose
among competing proposals? How will they exercise quality control? How
will they document each character set? How will they resist pressure from
giant corporations to bend the Internet this way or that?

Eric speaks of alphabets needed for native American languages. What is the
ideal situation? Should new single-byte character sets be created for them,
which eventually will find their way into the UCS? Should we exert pressure
on our national bodies to create national standards for these new sets? Or,
as Ken advocates, should we "keep resisting the addition of more 8-bit
character encodings that add to the legacy problem and that add to the
registry messes." In that case, the problem involves only existing sets,
and then I think the IR serves a useful function.

- Frank

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