Re: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sun Jan 18 2004 - 15:20:08 EST

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    I do NOT believe that this thread should be discussed on the Unicode
    List. I am responding to it only because Dean has let loose another
    brace of hares. Let us reign them in, and kill this thread now.

    At 14:13 -0500 2004-01-18, Dean Snyder wrote:

    >It took Devanagiri to show me the NATURE of the technical problem posed
    >by a dynamic encoding for cuneiform; it took Mongolian to show me that
    >the problem HAS ALREADY BEEN SOLVED in Unicode.

    No greater hames have we ever made than encoding Mongolian without a
    proper implementation model. But go ahead, Dean, engage in yet
    another flight of fancy.

    >As in Devanagiri, dynamic cuneiform must be capable of mapping a sequence
    >of encoded characters to a single unencoded glyph; but unlike Devanagiri,
    >which glyph to select for a given character sequence in cuneiform is not

    We are not going to use a "dynamic" model to encode Cuneiform. This
    has been decided.

    Variation selectors are not the joyous answer to Dean's prayers.
    Variation selectors are, in fact, a vexatious and nasty form of
    pseudo-coding which pretty much sucks, except maybe for

    [Much overhopeful blather deleted]

    >There are, of course, differences in detail between the Mongolian model
    >and a proposed dynamic cuneiform model, but the basic architectural
    >concept would be the same for both.

    Not in a month of leap years.

    >Thus there is NO technical reason in Unicode for jettisoning a dynamic
    >model for cuneiform. And this is exactly the kind of technical
    >information I have been looking for all along on these email lists.

    There is every technical reason for refusing a "dynamic" model for
    Unicode. It is a bad idea. This has been explained, politely and not
    so politely, to Dean, who persists in annoying everyone by waving his
    hands and ignoring the opinions both of authors of the Unicode
    Standard and of other cuneiformists.

    The "dynamic" is inferior to the "static" model we have chosen. We
    chose the model years ago, for good reason, not least the ease of
    timely and simple font provision. The static model we have chosen is
    good enough for 70,000 Han characters, and the dynamic model is not
    good enough for any of them. The same shall apply for Cuneiform.

    [More blather deleted]

    Dean wanted to use control characters, then ligators, and now
    variation selectors in order to glue characters together to make
    other characters. From recent discussion on the Cuneiform list:

    >If I use the Devanagari model and encode this cuneiform sequence
    >which ligature will you render it with? The crossed or opposed ligature?

    To represent the crossed ligature we use

    To represent the opposed ligature we use

    No gluing. No splicing. No alternate format characters. No ligator
    characters. And no variation selectors.

    >Dean A. Snyder

    Dean. Perhaps you should consider revising your signature. Because
    your continued harping on this matter is not in the least bit
    "respectful". Rather, you are endeavouring, fruitlessly, to upset and
    overturn the consensus which we have for encoding Cuneiform, ignoring
    the fact that whenever you ask us to take time to respond to you, you
    are really asking us to waste our time defending good work against
    bad. The experts have given their opinions, for a month now since you
    re-introduced the "modifier" idea on 2003-12-17. If you want to be
    "respectful" you will accept those opinions.

    Because we are not going to use a "dynamic" model to encode Cuneiform.

    Now have DONE.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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