RE: Proposed Draft UTR #31 - Syntax Characters

Date: Tue Aug 26 2003 - 12:28:57 EDT

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    Doug, I appreciate that you are trying to be helpful, so thank you very much
    for the thought, but your email was, shall we say, not correctly targetted.
    I write compilers. I design computer languages. I write operating systems. I
    am trying to get an understanding of Unicode so that the things I design,
    the next generation of such things, will behaves as the Unicode consortium
    want them to. We've been talking here about hypothetical future computer
    languages. It's people like me that will write them. So you see, I already
    know the things you detail below. It seems to me that you have stated the
    obvious, and (I'm sure it wasn't intended but) it does come across as kind
    of patronising.

    In any case, I _imagine_ that a future compiler, running on a future
    operating system, will contain a system directory which will contain A
    VERSION of Unicode - by which I mean A VERSION of the Unicode data files, as
    supplied by the consortium. The hypothetical OS will then parse said files
    into an internal form that only it needs to know about, and make Unicode
    functionality available to applications (such as future compilers) in the
    form of standard API calls. A future compiler will simply have to call some
    function, which may be called something like is_indentifier_char(), and act
    on the return value (true or false) accordingly. The behaviour of the
    compiler, and indeed the whole OS, can be upgraded to behave in accordance
    with a new version of Unicode, simply by storing the new data files in the
    right place. You will not need to get upgraded applications. You will not
    need to recompile the kernel. Thus, in this future system, one will indeed
    "store a version of Unicode on your machine"

    Okay, so not everyone has the same vision of how things will work in the
    future, and only time will tell how it will all hang together. In my vision,
    it won't so much be applications which are responsible for compliant Unicode
    behaviour, it will be the OS. My vision may be wrong, but I am, at least,
    actively working toward implementing such solutions. I _do_ know the
    difference between an OS, an application and a data file, believe me. I've
    been coding for three decades. I'm a newbie to Unicode, not to programming.

    I suppose I should have been clearer in making a distinction between the
    present and possible futures, or been clearer about what I meant. But when
    we're talking about Unicode, much of what gets discussed here relates more
    to the future than to the present. At least, it seems to, from my


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Doug Ewell []
    Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 4:22 PM
    To: Unicode Mailing List
    Subject: Re: Proposed Draft UTR #31 - Syntax Characters

    <Jill dot Ramonsky at Aculab dot com> wrote:

    > I don't expect, however, to have to DOWNgrade my version of Unicode.
    > And I can't be expected to store EVERY numbered version of Unicode on
    > my machine.

    You don't "store a version of Unicode on your machine." Unicode is a
    coded character set, not an application.

    What you have stored on your machine is a number of applications, many
    of which support Unicode, and some of which may support a different
    version of Unicode from others.

    (OK, some of us do store a particular version of the Unicode *data
    files* on our machines, but that has no bearing on the level of Unicode
    support provided by applications.)

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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