From: Asmus Freytag (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 17:01:20 EDT
While I continue to be convinced that the 22 character repertoire of shapes
contained in the proposal is indeed well-known, as asserted by the
submitter, I am far less certain now that it would constitute progress to
encode these as characters.
I would want to see a lot more in terms of positive justification, and/or
endorsement from a significant and identifiable group of prospective users
before I would consider myself comfortable with progressing this. So far,
not very much has surfaced along these lines in the ongoing discussion. I
don't find that very encouraging, and it contributes to my sense that this
is premature - not because the characters can't be enumerated or named, but
because of the uncertainty of the usage model and intended user group.
The situation is different from some other archaic scripts where neither
the sets of symbols nor the languages that can be written in them are
currently encoded. For those scripts, even if the scholarly community
prefers to do its work in transliteration, encoding the script is necessary
to allow representation of the texts as such, for whatever purposes that is
In this instance, treating the earlier scripts as a style variation of a
later script appears not only feasible, but would support a continuity in
searching for material in apparently at least one of the important
languages. By not separately encoding any of the earlier scripts, a
technology based on (Hebrew encoded) fonts allows anyone to depict text in
these scripts today, using the widest possible range of existing
implementations, as opposed to having to wait for uncertain future support.
That to me seems a benefit that could outweigh the fact that, just as for
Gaelic, or running Fraktur text, certain distinctions simply cannot be made
in *plain* text.
No such solution exists for those archaic scripts, where either the range
of symbols (e.g. hieroglyphics) or their layout behavior is sufficiently
different from the modern script. For those scripts, the alternative
therefore doesn't have to be investigated. However, for this script and its
cousins, we cannot just point to dis-similar precedent or brush off the
question. It must be addressed, and as John rightly noted, not just the
conclusion but the supporting evidence and rationale must be documented.
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