From: Kenneth Whistler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jul 17 2003 - 14:59:37 EDT
William spilled another ocean of digital ink. Found bobbing
in that ocean was the comment:
> >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. ... 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 seems rather unlikely that getting the United Nations and the
World Trade Organization involved in trying to amend JTC1 standards
directives would be a recipe for speeding anything up. :-)
> 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?
Because amending and updating a standard is effectively the same
task whether it involves 1 additional character or 181 additional
characters. There are a large number of stages, approvals, reviews,
and other tasks involved -- which are there for a reason, to ensure
the stability and orderly maintenance of the standard.
> 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 whole idea of adding a couple code points this week and then a
couple more next week, and then another next month, and so on is,
well, just nuts. It would destroy effective version control and
would create a situation where implementers were unsure just what
was in the standard and when it would change further. It would
*damage* the standard rather than improve anything.
A character encoding standard is not just a laundry-list registration
of characters that people happen to notice this week. As such, it
is not advisable to create a mechanism whereby new characters
are noticed, approved, and "registered" on a weekly basis.
> An ocean of digital ink! I like that phrase.
As well as producing the oceans, clearly.
> That person added that people
> have been telling me for a long time that PUA codes are not suitable for
Not suitable for *public* interchange, because, by definition, in
public interchange the receiver will not be a party to whatever
*private* agreement defines their usage, and so will not be able
to interpret them.
> 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.
Yes, a *private* agreement for *private* interchange. That, as Michael
tried to tell you, is why we call them *private* use characters.
> Also, Unicode 3.0 mentions the possibility of
> publication of Private Use Area assignments
Anyone is free to publish anything they wish, including lists of PUA
> in the section on the Private
> Use Area.
But the Unicode Consortium will not publish such lists in the
Unicode Standard or on its website in any official way.
> So what is the official position please?
I just stated it. If you want chapter and verse:
"All code points in the blocks of private-use characters in the
Unicode Standard are permanently designated for private use--no
assignment to a particular, standard set of characters will ever
be endorsed or documented by the Unicode Consortium for any of
these code points."
-- The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0,
Section 15.7, "Private-Use Characters",
p. 398, 2003 [forthcoming]
> 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.
It is. But other participants on this email list have been telling
you that they are not interested in your *particular* use of
private use characters.
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