Re: 8859-1, 8859-15, 1252 and Euro

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 17:21:52 EST

"Alain" <> wrote:

> 8859-15 was done for the EURO and we profited of the
> occasion to fix the historical mistakes done to French and Finnish in
> ISO/IEC 8859-1.
> In fact Latin 1 could have been replaced by this character set (8
> useless chaarcters were replaced) but that would not have been a
> better solution than tagging 8859-1 when 1252 is used.

The vulgar fractions that were replaced in ISO 8859-15, in particular
U+00BC "1/4" and U+00BD "1/2", are *NOT* useless characters. They are
in common use, in Web pages and elsewhere.

The fact that the set of vulgar fractions was considered "incomplete" in
8859-1 (i.e. 1/8, 3/8, 5/8, 7/8 are missing) did not justify removing
the two most commonly used fractions as well. This is throwing out the
baby with the bath water.

I think a lot of people will regard 8859-15 as two steps forward (Euro
and French/Finnish characters added) and one step back (1/4 and 1/2
removed), and the expected mass conversion from 8859-1 to 8859-15 will
be severely hampered by the absence of two useful characters that were
available in 8859-1.

BTW, I probably would have replaced U+00AC NOT SIGN and U+00AF MACRON
instead of U+00BC and U+00BD. Can someone provide a counterexample
showing that U+00AC and U+00AF are indeed in common use?

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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