Re: Towards a classification system for uses of the Private Use Area

From: William Overington (
Date: Mon Apr 29 2002 - 10:17:12 EDT

Kenneth Whistler raises some interesting matters.

> Why not simply insert the following text at the top of the file or page:

>"This text includes PUA characters which require the use of the
>font XXX.ttf for proper display, accessible at http://xxx/yyy/"

That is a good suggestion and could well be suitable in some cases.

My suggestion does, however, have the advantage that the coded
classification message can be easily detected by software if programs that
recognize the use of the classification system are developed and it has the
advantage that the file when displayed with the correct fount does not have
a message in English about the character encoding present in printable
characters at the start of the file, which characters would need to be
edited out in some way, perhaps disrupting the formatting of the file. The
classification system could be used, for normal use with characters such as
cuneiform being developed within the Private Use Area, in an easy, natural
way with hardly any overhead at all.

I am not suggesting that my suggested system is the best possible system for
all situations, however I do suggest that it is a system that is worth
implementing for use in many situations.

>The existence of a *much* simpler alternative approach indicates to me
>that it is indeed too complex, and that the availability of the obvious
>alternative will preclude heading in this direction.

Yet your much simpler alternative approach does not have the performance
capabilities mentioned in my paragraph above. I suggest that the
classification system is no more complex than is needed to carry out the
task in a suitable manner, within the limits that any system for classifying
uses of the Private Use Area from within the Private Use Area itself is
necessarily not as rigorous as it might be if the classification codes were
set in regular unicode.

William Overington

29 April 2002

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