Re: ISO/IEC 10646 versus Unicode

From: Marion Gunn (
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 07:26:12 EDT

Arsa Kenneth Whistler:
> ...
> I think this is a misunderstanding of the self-understood brief of
> the Unicode Consortium. It was ad hoc, certainly, but its purpose was
> not "producing implementations of 10646". The original "Purpose" of
> the Unicode Consortium, as stated in the Bylaws filed in the Articles
> of Incorportation of the corporation on January 3, 1991 was:
> "This Corporation's purpose shall be to standardize, maintain and
> promote a standard fixed-width, 16-bit character encoding that
> provides an allocation for more than 60,000 graphics characters."

If you read my msg, you will see that I (carefully) never referred to
Unicode's 'original purpose', Ken, only to what I understood to be its
'agreed purpose' in relation to implementing 10646, an agreement reached
after argumentation, which we need not repeat here, caused by your
initial decision to set up a competing standard [sic].

> That was two years *before* ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993 was published.

How many years does it take to get ISO/IEC work item accepted, then
develop the corresponding Standard to publication stage, Ken? More than
two? Several, as you well know: 10646 work was already _years_ under way
before the 'Articles of Incorporation' of Unicode were filed.

> ...
> This was and is quite clear. The Unicode Consortium is a standardization
> organization, and its activities revolve around the care and support
> of the Unicode Standard. It never has been a group just dedicated to
> figuring out how to implement 10646...

Yet that is the basis on which those already involved in 10646 accepted
it, and, to put it quite bluntly, what those of us who accepted it
wanted then was to put an end of the hard-sell by global IT vendors of
faulty software (unable to display or sort the standard characters
needed by 100s of languages), and an 10646-Unicode agreement seemed the
best way to end that (I still think it is, and strongly support it).

To conclude on a lighter note, if one tinged with black humour - Dublin
being home to 3 universities at the cutting edge of IT - why - of awl da
bars in awl da wurrall - did Unicode pick on a hotel favoured by myself,
my friends and my workmates - then ship into that space a provincial
university for full-day workshop & the Éire/Ireland seat on several
panels? Hard to ignore.:-)

Marion Gunn * E G T (Estab.1991) vox: +353-1-2839396 *
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Contae Átha Cliath; Éire

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