From: William Overington (WOverington@ngo.globalnet.co.uk)
Date: Thu Jul 17 2003 - 12:01:18 EDT
Michael Everson raises some interesting points.
>If CENELEC wishes to standardize a set of icons, they will do so. If
>they have a need to interchange data using those icons, they will (if
>they are wise) come to us an ask to encode them. If they want to use
>the Private Use Area before they do that, they will.
Perhaps I may explain the situation? The European Commission asked Cenelec
to conduct a project about establishing a process to implement interactive
television in the European Community.
A consultancy was asked to produce a report. Cenelec organized a forum for
the report to be discussed and also arranged an open meeting which was held
in Brussels on 12 March 2003. The report was made available in the forum
before the meeting.
I did not attend the meeting, though I did post some comments into the forum
before the meeting. A list of the people due to attend the meeting was
published in the forum prior to the meeting. Most, though not all, are
After the meeting a later version of the report was produced. The report
suggests various aspects of the necessary work be done by various existing
committees and standards bodies.
The forum remains in use. One participant recently put forward the idea of
agreeing on logos for Audio Description, Subtitle, Signing and provides a
link to the page which I mentioned earlier in this thread.
I added the suggestion of adding the symbols into the built-in font of
DVB-MHP televisions. I suggested the desirability of regular Unicode code
point allocations. I mentioned the time scale and I mentioned the Private
Use Area code points for the symbols, that is one code point for each of
Audio Description, Subtitle, Signing, not one code point for each of the
logos being considered. I suggested some specific code points. I like to
think that I quite clearly stated my interest in choosing those suggested
code points so as not to clash with my suggestions for other uses of Private
Use Area code points.
For the avoidance of doubt, my suggestions for using Private Use Area code
points for eutocode graphics do not need to be accepted by a standards body
as they are only meaningful for use in text files which customize those Java
programs which recognize them as they do not need to access the built-in
font of the television set and they are only used in programs where the
eutocode graphics system is used. There are glyphs for authoring-time, but
no glyphs are needed for run-time use as the codes activate graphics
features at run-time.
So the specific suggestion for code points for Audio Description, Subtitle,
Signing is within the forum.
Now, I am unsure at present as to how the various committees and standards
bodies are to proceed, yet I have sought to place my ideas in the forum in
the hope that they will reach the agendas of the meetings.
I also, some time later, posted the code point suggestions here. I did this
with the intention of making the suggested code points more widely known.
>Please don't tell us all about it over and over again, as you have
Well, I made one post at the start of this thread. After that I have just
responded to comments which have been made.
>If you want to talk to CENELEC, do so. Please stop trying to
>peddle your PUA schemes for CENELEC to us.
Well, I had not thought of it as peddling!
>I maintain the ConScript Unicode Registry, which contains PUA
>assignments. I do not promulgate those on this list. (Apart from that
>fun testing of the Phaistos implementation some time ago.)
Well, that is a matter for you. Actually, I rather enjoy reading your
postings and would indeed be pleased if you did post them in this forum.
However, I do understand your point, though as this mailing list has rules
which encourage discussions amongst users of the Unicode Standard, I feel
that you are being somewhat harsh in your criticism.
Anyway, you only joined in to a thread about the Phaistos Disc script, you
did not start it as I seem to remember. So you were responding to an
enquiry and, indeed, I feel, being very helpful in adding Phaistos Disc
script into the ConScript Unicode Registry. It will be fascinating to
observe what happens if an archaeological dig somewhere, maybe nowhere near
where the Phaistos Disc was discovered, produces a lot of items with
Phaistos Disc script upon them. Then instead of Unicode being ready, there
will then be a long wait for a regular Unicode implementation, when it could
have been done years ago!
The taboo of discussing PUA code points which some people have causes lots
of unnecessary problems. For example, the Unicode Consortium is so
taboo-avoiding about mentioning PUA assignments that when I had some time
ago heard that Microsoft used part of the PUA in a special way in symbol
fonts I had enormous difficulty in finding out where it was located! Also,
I seem to remember a long time ago trying to find out where it was that I
had seen Tengwar encoded in the Private Use Area and not being able to find
the link in the Unicode webspace.
>Roozbeh and I assigned two unencoded characters for Afghanistan to
>the PUA, and we encourage implementors to use them until such time as
>the characters are encoded.
Yes. I thought that that was an effective thing to do. You solved a
problem at the time. Now that at least one of them has been approved for
encoding by the Unicode Technical Committee there is now a long period of
waiting during which Private Use Area encoded data can be produced. This
does seem unfortunate and for individual symbols such as these I would hope
that the people who are in charge of Standards might like to consider asking
if the United Nations and the World Trade Organization could perhaps arrange
for some faster way of achieving agreement. It does seem so very slow for
the twenty-first century with so many electronics communications facilities!
Why does legacy data have to build up and resolving the problem take so long
for just a few symbols? I would have thought that with a reasonable
infrastructure that those two code points could have been formally added
into regular Unicode and ISO within a couple of weeks. The long process may
well be necessary for whole new scripts and so on, yet for two characters to
complete a high-profile project it seems to me to need justification of
reasonableness in the present century.
>We do not spend oceans of digital ink evangelizing our brilliant
>schemes to the Unicode list.
An ocean of digital ink! I like that phrase. And yes, it was brilliant of
you both to go out there and do such a thorough job. It was good that you
made the documents available on the web so quickly. I enjoyed looking at
>>It is essentially a matter for end users of the system, just as the
>>two Private Use Area characters being suggested in another thread of
>>this forum in relation to Afghanistan are a matter for end users of
>>the Unicode Standard and does not affect the content of the Unicode
>Then go talk about it with the users of the system.
Indeed. Yet I do feel that much is learned by reading posts in this mailing
list on the various topics which arise and that it is on balance better to
have the opportunity to have the information about the various uses of
Unicode, including the Private Use Area, which are taking place than to be
totally unaware of such things.
The thing is, although you and a few others are critical of me for posting
those three suggested Private Use Area code points into this mailing list,
there may be people who were interested to read of them. Certainly no one
has said so, so maybe nobody was interested. Yet people may not have even
thought of writing to say that they found the post of interest, that is not
how mailing lists work usually. Now that you and a few others are being
critical, people may not wish to make a public statement even if they did
find the post of interest.
>>Code points for the symbols are needed now or in the near future.
>Are they? By whom? And if they need to use the PUA, they can do so.
Well, it was me who put forward the idea for code points so that the symbols
could be included in the built-in font of an interactive television and
signalled in Unicode text files in broadcasts. No one has actually stated
public support for that idea. So, I suppose it might be that it is only me
that thinks it would be a good idea. However, wherever ideas are put
forward, often people do not comment if they agree and only comment if they
disagree. Yet I will not disguise the fact that as yet no one has commented
to me that code points for these symbols would be a good idea.
It may perhaps be the case that no one is at all interested in code points
for these symbols at this time.
An interesting email arrived from one person on this list which commented on
my posted comment in this thread.
That person referred to this comment.
> Well, I am here suggesting Private Use Area code points for interchange,
> both in interactive broadcasting and in typesetting of magazines.
That person politely asked me not to do that. That person added that people
have been telling me for a long time that PUA codes are not suitable for
That puzzles me, because I thought that it was alright to interchange
Private Use Area codes if there is an agreement as to their meaning in a
particular situation. Also, Unicode 3.0 mentions the possibility of
publication of Private Use Area assignments in the section on the Private
So what is the official position please? This is important to me because I
have been proceeding in the belief that suggesting three Private Use Area
code points for use in interactive television systems is entirely proper and
compliant with Unicode and the ISO standard.
Returning to Michael's comments.
Well, Unicode 3.0 specifically mentions the possibility of publishing
Private Use Area code point assignments. There was talk of the section
about the Private Use Area being rewritten for Unicode 4.0. Is there any
chance of someone posting the Unicode 4.0 text into this discussion please?
>>It remains to be seen what will be decided as the built-in font for the
>>European Union implementation of the DVB-MHP specification. It might be
>>the minimum font of the DVB-MHP specification or it might be more
>>For example, should Greek characters be included? Should weather symbols
>>be included? These and many other issues remain to be decided.
>The minimum font for any specification for Europe should be the
>MES-2. If you are talking to these people, tell them.
Now, I have never heard of the MES-2 whatever that is. However, I do not
have deep knowledge of the various standards which exist. Could you
possibly say some more about MES-2 please.
The minimum character set for DVB-MHP is in Annex E of the DVB-MHP
specification, available from the http://www.mhp.org webspace. It is all in
one huge pdf file. I am hoping that the European Union will specify a
rather more comprehensive font. It may be that a lot will depend on how
much unused space, if any, there is in the read-only memories which are used
for the built-in font.
The Cenelec group to which I refer is the DigitalTV_WG and readers who might
like to join could ask at firstname.lastname@example.org as new members have joined at
various times. Names of members are listed in the internal email facility
of the forum. Membership is free and there appear to be people from outside
the European Union as well as within it, as what is decided for Europe may
be adopted by countries in other parts of the world.
Readers might also be interested in the related TVforALL_WG forum which
discusses issues of access to broadcasts for people with disabilities. The
Audio Description, Subtitle, Signing logos issue has been posted in both of
these forums. Please enquire at email@example.com by email if you are
interested. Membership is also free for that forum.
17 July 2003
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Jul 17 2003 - 13:00:05 EDT