From: Doug Ewell (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Nov 13 2002 - 00:50:51 EST
Kenneth Whistler <kenw at sybase dot com> wrote:
> The Unicode Technical Committee would like to announce that no
> formal decision has been taken regarding the deprecation of
> Plane 14 language tag characters. The period for public review of
> this issue will be extended until February 14, 2003.
Gee, a press conference after all. Too bad my TV was turned off.
No, seriously, thanks for the update. I'm glad to see the matter was
considered worthy of further study. Hopefully other people who have an
opinion on Plane 14 will contribute to the public review.
Ken also wrote:
> Doug's contribution would be
> more convincing if it dropped away the irrelevancies about whether
> the *function* of language tagging is useful and focussed completely
> on the appropriateness of this *particular* set of characters on
> Plane 14 as opposed to any other means of conveying the same
That's why I included a "severability" clause, to the effect that if one
of my arguments was bogus (or irrelevant) it shouldn't affect the
credibility of the others.
To answer the question "why Plane 14 plain-text instead of markup," I
suppose I need to make the case that this meta-information is sometimes
appropriate in short strings and labels where rich text is overkill.
This was basically the argument put forth by the ACAP people. I did
some homework on the MLSF proposal (a little late, I know) and saw that
their primary perceived need was for tagging short strings in protocols
which did not lend themselves to an additional rich-text layer.
After seeing the MLSF tagging scheme, I agree more than ever that its
deployment would have jeopardized the usefulness of UTF-8. Although the
number of proposals like this to "extend" or "enhance" UTF-8 has
diminished greatly since then, it would be a shame to see them resurface
on the basis that "Unicode doesn't provide us any alternative."
To me, the most difficult part of the "Save Plane 14" campaign seems to
be convincing people that not every text problem lends itself to a
markup solution. Without questioning the current and future importance
of HTML and XML, there *is* text in the world that is not wrapped in one
of these formats, and cannot be reasonably converted to them, yet still
needs to be processed in some way.
Judging from the discussion on the list last week, there also seems to
be a perception that Plane 14 tags require a great deal of overhead,
even to ignore them. I'd like to continue that discussion (especially
since the public-review period has been extended) and ask:
1. What extra processing is necessary to interpret Plane 14 tags that
wouldn't be necessary to interpret any other form of tags?
2. What extra processing is necessary to ignore Plane 14 tags that
wouldn't be necessary to ignore any other Unicode character(s)?
3. Is there any method of tagging, anywhere, that is lighter-weight
than Plane 14? (Corollary: Is "lightweight" important?)
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