Re: Stupid question: ISO 10646

From: Christopher John Fynn (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 19:40:56 EDT

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     "Pim Blokland" <>

    > Hello all,

    > I have got a stupid question - that is, the question was asked
    of me
    > and I didn't know what to say.
    > What is ISO 10646?

    > Usually I can asnwer questions like this by doing an Internet
    > search, but in this case, I get varying answers:
    > it is a code page; it is a character set; it is identical to
    > "Unicode" (that is, the words "ISO 10646" and "Unicode" are
    > interchangable); it is a paper describing a standard.

    > So where can I find the "formal" definition and how can I tell
    > is the formal definition and why doesn't everybody agree?

    > Pim Blokland


    The official JTC1/SC2/WG2 - ISO/IEC 10646 - UCS web page is at:

    The ISO/IEC 10646 Standard & The Unicode Standard encode the
    same set of characters at the same codepoints. There are some
    differences in the set of characters encoded in the printed
    versions of these two standards since they get published at
    different times and different frequencies. The Unicode Standard
    also says more about properties of the encoded characters than
    the ISO/IEC 10646 Standard does.

    Members of the Unicode Technical Committee, responsible for TUS,
    largely come from Corporations who are members of the Unicode
    Consortium while members of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 come from
    technical committees of national standards bodies who are
    members of ISO and choose to participate. The two groups work
    pretty closely together - especially on all the work involved in
    dealing with proposals for new characters and scripts.

    In my experience some people from non-commercial & government
    organisations are happier to refer to "ISO/IEC 10646" - but
    "Unicode" is much easier for most people to remember.

    - Chris

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