From: Hans Aberg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 13:55:15 CST
At 15:33 -0800 2005/02/03, Kenneth Whistler wrote:
>O.k. I have been holding my tongue, but this particular
>tower of blather in the colloquy between
>and Hans Aberg requires some corrections.
>Hans Aberg said:
>> [Off the list.]
As you you can see, my reply was intended to be off the list, private to
Philippe Verdy; his mailer apparently stamps the Unicode list as recipient
also on mail not sent to the list, and I failed to observe it and remove it.
The moderator failed to observe it, as it should not have been posted.
So Kenneth Whistler builds his very own tower of blather, as he clearly does
not understand the topic at discussion and its context, and there is no
point in commenting on that any further. Just a few examples:
>Heat on the list is caused by behavior of participants on the
>list, not by the scope of the Unicode Standard, nor by stability
>requirements imposed on that standard.
Followed by a long sequence of aggressive attacks of his, where he time and
time over again states that other opinions than his own are flatly wrong
without further motivation. Like master like dog. There can be no doubt
where the problems of this list comes from.
>Bypassing the faulty logic here, I would point out that the Unicode
>Standard *is* used and its specifications *are* followed, rather well,
>in fact, by many vendors.
The discussion at hand was clearly about character sets in a context other
than supporting the needs of a few vendors. It is good to understand the
context of the discussion at hand before replying.
>> I think that Unicode should focus on providing the character set, the
>> character numbering, and in some cases, rules for combined characters.
>Hans is entitled to think that, but he is wrong. The accumulated
>engineering expertise of the software engineers working on
>the standard and its implementation over the last 15 years is,
>in fact, what has driven the Unicode Consortium to incorporate
>all kinds of semantic information beyond mere character
>encoding repertoire into the Unicode Standard. Han's position
>is approximately where the Unicode founders were at in 1989, in
>their thinking about what the task was for the Unicode Standard.
>He has a little catching up to do here.
Kenneth Whistler is dead wrong as in the other attacks where he fails to
understand the context: The linguistic problems are so complicated, that it
wise for engineers to stay out of "all kinds of semantic information beyond
mere character encoding repertoire into the Unicode Standard". The
complaints I received in private email was that Unicode tries to enforce the
engineers conceptions of linguistics. So engineers should attempt to leave
as many doors as possible open for the experts at linguistics. If there is a
consensus among a wide range of linguists, then that could be made into a
>> Also the endianess of the representation of number is languages
>> seems to be wrong.
>May "seem to be wrong" to Hans, but is not.
An unmotivated statement, typical of Kenneth Whistler's style. If the
description I got was right, that Unicode tries to enforce that Arabic
numbers should not be represented in the order they are written and read,
but in reverse, the linguistic error is so big that the Unicode consortium
will make big fools of themselves in front of every person familiar with
that language. And from the point of view of computer languages, the
interpretation of a sequence of numbers is a parsing problem, and it is
strange that Unicode deals with that.
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