Re: Hexadecimal characters.

From: Rick McGowan (
Date: Thu Jun 20 2002 - 19:39:23 EDT

Hmmm. I was hoping this discussion would go away after the initial round
of reasons why it won't happen.

> The problem being solved is properly supporting the base sixteen system.

It is already properly supported. In fact, Unicode contains far more than
a mere 16 entities sufficient for hexadecimal. With Unicode, any number
base up to about 94,000 can easily be represented. It should satisfy even
the hippest numerologists.

> Also using letters to stand for numeric data can lead to confusion--
> this is BAD.

Perhaps, but it's like spelling versus spelling reform. The current
representation is already engrained in the computer-literate culture, and
you'll be hard-pressed to change it, especially without a compelling story.
And this story isn't very compelling.

> it is better to have 16 in a row as it makes computation of a numeric
> value from the character value easier and more straightforward.

So what? This isn't rocket science. The hex-binary conversion problem is
so trivial that every beginning CS student has probably had a homework
assignement to solve it. Big deal. Five lines of library code.

> ...But then you lose the unambiguousness of sixteen separate characters.

We already have done: because everybody already uses 0-9, a-f and A-F, and
there's tons of software that already deals with this and mounds of
existing data. The problem won't be solved, it will be augmented with yet
another representation.

The proposal is a non-starter. There isn't even a glimmer of serious
interest here, and it's rather pointless to continue this discussion.


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