Re: ISO 10646 compliance and EU law

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Jan 04 2005 - 16:20:16 CST

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "Re: ISO 10646 compliance and EU law"

    Antoine continued:

    > From what I read now, it seems that a "claim of conformance" can be
    > transitive. I would not have think of it, but if this the law, let's conform
    > to it.

    Well, nor am I a lawyer. But what I would say is that that is
    the clear intent of both of the standardization committees in
    working on and publishing their standards.

    The point of all the detailed and careful work, both in terms
    of encoding and in terms of wordsmithing, over the past decade,
    to maintain synchronization of the two standards, is to ensure
    that correct Unicode implementations get automatic buy-in as
    also compliant with the International Standard 10646, *and*
    to ensure the success of 10646 by enabling the widespread
    implementations of the Unicode Standard to be, in fact, also
    implementations of the ISO standard, even if only claiming
    conformance indirectly.

    > Just using UTF-16 as character set, and we are registered as
    > conformant to ISO/IEC 10646. Nice, after all.

    Well, you would need to be using UTF-16 *correctly*. :-)

    > From what you are saying here, one way
    > to achieve such conformance/compliance (another distinction I am not sure I
    > get correctly) is to ship Unicode-conforming devices.


    And then if you need to cross all your i's (U+0268) and dot all
    your t's (U+1E6D), you can get your corporate lawyer to
    file a little paper someplace that says, by the way, our
    company's product, Whirleygigatron 5.0, is conformant with
    both the Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, and ISO/IEC 10646:2003
    (or whatever).

    > I hope you are not
    > implying it is the *only* way to achieve 10646-conformance ;-).

    No, but it is the best practical way to achieve 10646 conformance.
    If you try to write a 10646 application without reference to
    the Unicode Standard, you'll be pretty limited in what you can
    do, because 10646 (deliberately) says very, very little about
    the actual semantics of any of the characters encoded in
    the standard.

    You might do fine in writing and certifying a UTF-16 <--> UTF-8
    converter, for example, but if you were trying to deal with
    searching and sorting or writing a text editor with a
    rendering component, you'd be S.O.L., as they say.

    What is U+094D DEVANAGARI SIGN VIRAMA and how is it used
    for representation of Hindi or Sanskrit text? You can search
    10646 top to bottom and find not a clue.

    > (Yes, I did
    > write the part I snipped where you're saying that it is unless the software
    > is insignificant.)
    > > However, *being* in conformance to 10646 doesn't necessarily involve
    > > making an explicit claim of conformance.
    > Then what is the purpose of the whole section?

    Well, the purpose of the first part of the conformance section
    is to specify what it takes to be in conformance. If you then
    engineer software processes to do things accordingly, they will
    *be* in conformance without having to actually claim (somehow)
    that they are in conformance. It is up to somebody in the
    documentation, testing, marketing, or legal departments to make
    the *claims* that something is in conformance.

    > How does someone assure this?

    By inspection, testing, or assertion.

    > (I guess I do not masterize ISO 9000 enough to
    > have it right, yet I seem to remember you have to write something somewhere
    > sometimes)

    If you do, you do.

    The point is, the Unicode Standard is deliberately set up so
    that if you are using it correctly and claim conformance to
    it, then you can depend on being able also to claim
    conformance to ISO/IEC 10646 (if you find yourself legally
    obligated to, or are required by the terms of some procurement
    specification, or the like), without having to engage in some
    expensive investigation to determine whether you are, in fact,
    in conformance to ISO/IEC 10646 as well as the Unicode Standard.


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