From: Kenneth Whistler (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 16:23:34 EDT
Doug, Peter, and Michael already provided good responses to
this suggestion by William O, but here is a little further
> Well, certainly authority would be needed, yet I am suggesting that where a
> few characters added into an established block are accepted, which is what
> is claimed for these characters, there should be a faster route than having
> to wait for bulk release in Unicode 4.1. If these characters have been
> accepted, why not formally warrant their use now by having Unicode 4.001
> and then having Unicode 4.002 when a few more are accepted?
Approvals aren't *finished* until both the UTC and ISO JTC1/SC2/WG2 have
completed their work. The JTC1 balloting and approval process is
a lengthy and deliberate one, and there are many precedents where a
proposed character, perhaps one already approved by the UTC, has
been moved in a subsequent ballotting in response to a national
body comment. Only when both committees have completed all approvals
and have verified they are finally in synch with each other, do they proceed
with formal publication of the *standardized* encodings for the
The reasons the UTC "approves" characters and posts them in the
Pipeline page at www.unicode.org in advance of the actual final
A. To avoid the chicken and the egg problem for the two
committees. Someone has to go first on an approval, since
the committees do not meet jointly. Sometimes the UTC
goes first, and sometimes WG2 goes first.
B. To give notice to people regarding what is in process and
what stage of approval it is at. This helps in precluding
duplicate submissions and also helps in assigning code points
for new characters when we are dealing with large numbers
of new submissions.
> These minor
> additions to the Standard could be produced as characters are accepted and
> publicised in the Unicode Consortium's webspace.
The UTC can and does give notification regarding what characters have
reached "approved" status. The Pipeline page at www.unicode.org is,
for example, about to be updated with the 215 new character approvals
from the recent UTC meeting.
> If the characters have not
> been accepted then they cannot be considered ready to be used, yet if they
> have been accepted, what is the problem in releasing them so that people who
> want to get on with using them can do so?
See above. Standardization bodies must move deliberately and
carefully, since if they publish mistakes, everybody is saddled
with them essentially forever. In the case of encoding large
numbers of additional characters, because the UTC has plenty of
experience at the kind of shuffling around that may occur while
ballotting is still under consideration, it would be irresponsible
to publish small revisions and encourage people to start using
characters that we know have not yet completed all steps of
the standardization process.
> Why is it that it is regarded by the Unicode Consortium
> as reasonable that it takes years to get a character through the committees
> and into use?
Because with the experience of four major revisions of the Unicode
Standard (and numerous minor revisions) and the experience of
three major revisions of ISO/IEC 10646 (and numerous individual
amendments) under out belt, we know that is how long it takes in
> The idea of having to use the
> Private Use Area for a period after the characters have been accepted is
> just a nonsense.
Please take a look at:
which has long been posted to help explain why character approval
is not just an instantaneous process.
The further along a particular character happens to be in
the ISO JTC1 approval process, the less likely it is that it will
actually move before the standard is actually published.
Implementers can, of course, choose whatever level of risk
they can handle when doing early implemention of provisionally approved
characters which have not yet been formally published in
the standards. But if they guess wrong and implement a
character (in a font or in anything else) that is moved at
some point in the ballotting, then that was just the risk they
took, and they can't expect to come back to the committees
bearing complaints and grievances about it.
If you, for example, want to put U+267F HANDICAPPED SIGN
in a font now, nobody will stop you, but bear in mind that
this character is only at Stage 1 of the ISO process -- it
has not yet been considered or even provisionally approved
by WG2. Not only is the name likely to change (based on
all the issues already discussed), but it is conceivable
that WG2 could decide to approve it at some other code position
instead. It is even conceivable that WG2 could *refuse* to
encode the character. There have been precedents, where a
UTC approved character met opposition in WG2, and the UTC
later decided to rescind its approval in favor of maintaining
synchronization of the standards when published.
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