Re: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Sun Jan 18 2004 - 19:06:34 EST

  • Next message: Dean Snyder: "Re: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors"

    Michael Everson wrote at 8:20 PM on Sunday, January 18, 2004:

    >I do NOT believe that this thread should be discussed on the Unicode

    Why would you want to restrict the discussion of shaping format
    characters and free variation selectors to a list populated mostly by
    cuneiformists but exclude feedback from a list populated mostly by
    encoding experts?

    >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.

    In what sense are you using "hames" as a description of Mongolian in Unicode?

    What specifically is "improper" about the implementation of Mongolian in

    And what about it is a "flight of fancy" as applied to cuneiform?

    >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

    What is it about variation selectors that has proven "vexatious and
    nasty" in Mongolian?

    >>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.

    Making these broad, sweeping, and sometimes bombastic statements simply
    does not make them so.

    >chose the model years ago, for good reason, not least the ease of
    >timely and simple font provision.

    How long does it take to create a Mongolian font, compared to, let's say,
    a Hebrew one?

    >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.

    There is no comparison between Han and cuneiform in either the complexity
    of glyph formation or in the shear number of ideographs.

    >Dean wanted to use control characters, then ligators, and now
    >variation selectors in order to glue characters together to make
    >other characters.
    >No gluing. No splicing. No alternate format characters. No ligator
    >characters. And no variation selectors.

    Terminology is not the issue here. For a month I have been asking for
    technical information on this issue because I am not an encoding expert.
    I made use of terms of my own choosing because none were proffered by
    anyone else. All the terms I used referred to same concept. If you knew
    about "free variation selectors" a month ago, why did you not let all of
    us encoding non-experts know about them? I would have been glad to use
    the Unicode terminolgy you are all used to using if I had only known about it.


    Dean A. Snyder

    Assistant Research Scholar
    Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
    Computer Science Department
    Whiting School of Engineering
    218C New Engineering Building
    3400 North Charles Street
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218

    office: 410 516-6850

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