Re: Panther PUA behavior

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Wed Feb 04 2004 - 19:42:46 EST

  • Next message: Dean Snyder: "Re: Panther PUA behavior"

    D. Starner wrote at 10:07 PM on Monday, February 2, 2004:

    >> I hope Apple re-thinks this, because it makes PUA useless in plain text.
    >That's because it is. Without further specification, the PUA is completely

    So you're saying PUA is only useful for rich or marked-up text?

    >> end
    >> users get to control display behavior by re-assigning PUA code points or
    >> de-installing fonts, whereas they have no control and no visual
    >> information if the OS just gives up.
    >You can binary patch your OS to fix this behaviour.

    Can you tell us exactly how to do this for Panther? Or another OS?

    >That's about as
    >reasonable as reencoding your data or removing fonts until the system
    >pseudo-randomly picks the right font.

    It is a trivial piece of code (and a very fast executing one) to re-name
    all files with cuneiform names on my computer and to re-encode their content.

    Plus I have only one PUA-based font installed on my computer.

    >> So, for example, in Jaguar I had been using a PUA-based cuneiform font
    >> for file and folder names, which I found to be very nice and very useful;
    >Nice and useful? At least in my experiance, giving my folders names I can't
    >write from the keyboard,

    I enter cuneiform from the keyboard.

    >that can't be displayed in many of the fonts on my system,

    So you wouldn't use Japanese or Arabic characters in file names if you
    only had a couple fonts of each installed?

    >is at best an affection.

    This is not an affectation, it is a strong conviction. Doing ongoing
    research in 8 or 9 ancient scripts I have always been a strong proponent
    of native character set usage; transliteration can be an adjunct, but
    never a substitute for serious work.

    >Using PUA characters for filenames is unportable

    It's non-portable for anything.

    I'm not interchanging these files, and don't plan to until cuneiform is
    encoded and I convert them all over to the final encoding in a few
    seconds. Meanwhile I get to keep working privately on my applications.

    >and it's a marginal use, even among the uses of PUA characters.
    >Given the choice between the private use area working right in wordprocessors
    >and text editors or it working in filenames, I'd pick the first, and not
    >be real sorry about disrupting the second.

    The choices are not mutually exclusive. Jaguar did both, and it worked;
    Panther has taken something away. Now if the garbage characters in some
    fonts, that Deborah Goldsmith mentions in another email, actually caused
    real problems for users under Jaguar, that would be a different story.
    But so far I have not heard of any mentioned so far. But even there, that
    would seem to me to be a font vendor problem that should not dictate OS
    policy. It should be the other way around. The onus should be on font
    architects to remove garbage from publicly released fonts.


    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
    cell: 717 817-4897

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