Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters

From: Glen Perkins (
Date: Mon Oct 04 1999 - 20:59:28 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Scott Horne <>
To: Unicode List <>
Cc: Unicode List <>
Sent: Monday, October 04, 1999 4:54 PM
Subject: Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters

> Michael Everson wrote:
> >
> > Ar 16:59 -0700 1999-09-29, scríobh Scott Horne:
> >
> > >Just a few days ago it was pointed out
> > >here that industry will probably resist the disunification of the
florin sign
> > >and the lower-case hooked _f_ because the former has already been
mapped to
> > >the latter in various fonts and code pages. Predictably, the needs of
> > >of Ewe and other languages spoken by impoverished black Africans are
> > >subordinate to the convenience of corporations owned by white
> >
> > I shall ignore the racist reference to skin colour in your statement,
> Racist? Oh, come on, Michael. It's no accident that the _n'_ used in
> Afrikaans was encoded long ago while the lower-case hooked _f_ still is
> not rendered properly by any font that I'm aware of.
> Scott Horne

Yes, but racism and accident are not the only two options when searching for
causality. It seems to me that there are more computer users among the
Afrikaners than among the Ewe. I'll bet there's vastly more written
Afrikaans text than Ewe text as well. Encodings don't encode people, they
encode text for computer use, so the attention paid to encodings doesn't
necessary reflect population size or intrinsic human worth or such things.
It reflects demand for text handling on computers. Unicode does appear to
have a goal of getting all current computer users singing from the same
(code) page that comes before the goal of meeting the future needs of those
who don't currently use computers.

Again, I don't have any objection to those who do the work taking care of
their own needs first and the needs of others later, since there doesn't
seem to be any way of accomplishing it all simultaneously. I'm quite pleased

to see that now that most of the needs of most computer users have been
dealt with, the UTC is hardly sitting back and resting. It appears that most
of their efforts today are spent on encoding issues that are designed to
benefit increasingly small minorities among computer users. I think there's
less and less credibility to the claim that they are racist oppressors.

Glen Perkins

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