Re: Chess symbols, ZWJ, Opentype and holly type ornaments.

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Thu Jun 20 2002 - 11:48:27 EDT

William Overington <WOverington at ngo dot globalnet dot co dot uk>

> In view of the fact that some people are unwilling to let my ideas
> be discussed in this forum upon their academic merit but simply use
> an ad hominem attack almost every time I post (before many people
> can have the chance to sit down and, if they wish, have a serious
> read of my ideas), when it seems that their objection is really
> about the Unicode Consortium having included the word published in
> section 13.5 of chapter 13 of the Unicode specification, and they
> seem to angrily refute things which I have not said, I think that
> it would be best for me not to post details of my research in this
> forum.

I don't recall seeing any ad hominem attacks. I do recall seeing a lot
of criticism ("attacks," if you will) of some of your ideas based on
their merit, none based on the fact that they are William Overington's

Also, as I have tried to convey before, many of us lead relatively busy
lives and receive a lot of e-mail, and don't always have time to read
through a post of 2,000 words or more. When it gets that long, it's
better to post it on your Web site and send us an announcement.

In Section 13.5, my objection was to the word "promoted." It apparently
gives the impression that characters can use the PUA as a stepping stone
to "full Unicode status," when in fact all characters are considered for
inclusion in Unicode without regard to PUA implementations. Someone
else may have had a problem with the word "published."

> There also seems to be the problem of the great tidal wave
> that everybody is expected to be using the very latest equipment.

I'm using a 166 MHz Pentium "classic" with 24 MB of RAM and Windows 95.
So it's obvious you're not talking about me here.

> My understanding was that this forum was a place to ask questions of
> users of the Unicode system. I have done that. In this thread I have
> interesting scientific questions.

And gotten back some answers you didn't want to hear, namely that the
ideas don't fall within the intended scope of Unicode and have already
been (or can easily be) solved using other technologies or mechanisms.

> Ad hominem attacks have prevented those
> questions being discussed properly, possibly because some people may
be too
> embarrassed to respond to the scientific questions when an atmosphere
of ad
> hominem attack prevails. My understanding is that academic freedom is
> being able to hold unpopular ideas without personal disadvantage.

James Kass, for one, has responded positively to some of your inquiries.

Academic freedom means everyone has a chance to listen to the ideas of
others. Nobody has infringed upon your right to post your essays.
(This is a moderated list, and Sarasvati could have withheld your
postings if it were appropriate to do so, but it is not and she has
not.) Academic freedom also means people have a right to object or
criticize the ideas of others, or at least point out where the ideas are
flawed. Ask anyone in the scientific or research community whether new
ideas are always met with universal approval.

> I feel
> that the fact that I am trying to use the Unicode specification as it
> rather than on some nudge nudge wink wink understanding of how some
> feel that it should be interpreted is at the root of the problem.

See, I think it's the other way around. I just reread Section 13.5 and
I don't see anything about the character-glyph model or other policies
of Unicode being suspended for the PUA. The issue of not encoding
additional ligatures isn't a secret; it's been published in several
documents available on the Web. I have provided a pointer to one
already; I can provide more if you like.

> The potentially interesting question of whether an OpenType fount may
> programmed to produce a two colour display has not been discussed.
Such a
> discussion could have either established that it could be done, or
that it
> could not be done in which case perhaps some extension to OpenType
could be
> produced for the future which could have that facility. If so, how
> that facility best be produced? This is how progress is achieved.

It is indeed a potentially interesting question. I'm not a font expert,
so I have stayed out of that discussion. Note, however, that not all
printers support color, so there would need to be an appropriate
fallback mechanism for rendering the information that would have been
displayed in a second color.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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