Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sun Jan 18 2004 - 19:53:09 EST

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

    At 19:06 -0500 2004-01-18, Dean Snyder wrote:

    >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?

    I would want to restrict this nonsensical attempt on your part to
    derail the encoding of Cuneiform for an idea that people far more
    expert than you have told you is a bad one for the encoding of

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

    Two curved pieces of iron or wood forming or attached to the collar
    of a draught horse, to which traces are attached.

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

    I am not disposed to giving you a tutorial on Mongolian implementation issues.

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

    This has been discussed at length by myself, by Ken Whistler, by Rick
    McGowan, and by others. You grasp at straws, going from one glyph
    modifier to another, trying to shore up your model, which we have
    rejected, and which we are going to continue to reject. You may as
    well stop.

    > >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?

    My dislike of variation selectors as a form of pseudo-coding is not
    confined to Mongolian.

    > >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.

    The concise technical evidence given to you by several people already
    has had no effect. They are easily summarized as I have done.

    > >We 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?

    As long as it takes. This question has nothing to do with the
    technical issues regarding the Cuneiform encoding model we have

    > >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.

    There are certainly more Han characters than there are Cuneiform, but
    the complexity of the glyph formation is indeed rather similar
    between the two. Both are made by placing strokes of various kinds in
    various configurations. This seems rather obvious.

    > >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.

    No, it is technology, and it doesn't matter what kind of little
    control-thingy you want to use to effect a "dynamic" encoding model
    for Cuneiform, we aren't going to use one. Your desire to continue
    discussing it irritates. We have made it clear that we aren't going
    to change the encoding model for Cuneiform.

    >For a month I have been asking for technical information on this
    >issue because I am not an encoding expert.

    Then why not take the advice of those who do?

    >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.

    And that concept is unsuitable to serve as the encoding model of
    Cuneiform, whether you use a control character or a virama or a
    variation selector or a zero-width joiner or anything else.

    >If you knew about "free variation selectors" a month ago, why did
    >you not let all of us encoding non-experts know about them?

    They are not a secret. It is not my job to read the Unicode Standard
    for you or for anyone else. And why would I suggest anything to help
    you expound on a dynamic model for Cuneiform, when we aren't going to
    use one?

    >I would have been glad to use the Unicode terminolgy you are all
    >used to using if I had only known about it.

    But Dean, when we said "we're not interested in exploring this model
    because we've already considered it and have rejected it in favour of
    another one", why on earth did you not LISTEN to us and drop it then
    and there?

    Now would be a really good time to do so.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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