Re: ISO/IEC 10646-1: 2000 submitted to ISO for publication

From: Markus Kuhn (
Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 18:05:11 EST

Alain LaBont <> wrote on 2000-03-02 15:24 UTC:
> PS: The PDFs for the English version of ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000 make less than
> 50 Mb roughly, it is similar for the French version (actually 48 Mb, I just
> checked on my lap-top -- so around 100 Mb for both). A CD-ROM can contain
> from 650 to 700 Mb (depending on the formatting version). Stocking two
> language versions of this CD-ROM given these figures, is not economical,
> and would not make sense, in our humble opinion. Everything goes in favour
> of a two-langaueg CD-ROM, to be sold at a reasonable, added-value, price.
> ISO would also sell a lot more copies.

Why not go further? If ISO 10646 seriously wants to compete with
Unicode, you have to put at least ISO 8859-[1-15] and ISO 14651 (sorting
order) onto the CD-ROM as well, because the Unicode book comes already
with the equivalent information (sorting specification and conversion
tables to the usual 8- and 16-bit sets).

Adding ISO 6429, ISO 2022, the ISO charset registry, etc. would
definitely be reasonable additions to give the product a bit more of a
survival chance on the free market (these standards are via ECMA anyway
freely available on the web already). Also add ASCII versions of all the
tables found in the standard for automatic processing and for heavens
sake don't scare users of these ASCII tables with too strict copyright

Make it the "Complete ISO Coded Character Set Handbook CD-ROM" and sell
it for 50 USD in every good book shop and via and friends.
Perhaps the Unicode Consortium can be persuaded to donate its seriously
useful ftp-server content as well to fill the remaining 650 MB with a
non-normative contrib subdirectory. And if that doesn't fill it, there
are lots of more obscure ISO and ITU standards on various bibliographic
and telecommunications character sets, transliteration schemes, etc.
that could be of casual interest to many UCS buyers. Also good for the
CD-ROM would be ISO technical reports on character/glyph issues and
perhaps even the archives of the working group mailing lists (for the
benefit of the History of Computing PhD student in the year 2280 working
on a dissertation about how it all started). Now, *that* starts to sound
like something I really would like to have sitting on my shelf.


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
Email: mkuhn at,  WWW: <>

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