Re: Uppercase variant of U+00DF LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S ( "German sharp s", "" )

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 18:25:45 CST

  • Next message: Oliver Christ: "RE: Uppercase variant of U+00DF LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S ( "German sharp s", "" )"

    Mark Shoulson asked:

    > Which therefore raises the more general question: what with all these
    > "immutable" (stable) characteristics, what's Unicode to do in a case
    > where the usage really did completely change?

    The UTC would need to evaluate the changed requirements in the context
    of existing implementations and stability guarantees and decide
    how to move forward -- that is if the change in usage implies
    and *encoding* change, as opposed to a font or rendering or other
    kind of change.

    What was presented did *not*, in my opinion, make a convincing
    case that there is an encoding issue here -- as opposed to a
    typographical design issue regarding how to handle SHARP S in
    an all-uppercase context.

    > Or if the initial Unicode
    > decision was, in fact, completely wrong/mistaken? Apparently, German
    > really *does* need to be able to use as a capital letter (whether as a
    > separate letter or caseless).
    > I'm not trying to be contrary or to accuse; maybe the decision really
    > was right all along. But hypothetically, then, what IF the UTC screwed
    > up;

    The UTC makes mistakes all the time. U+00DF LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S
    was not one of them, however. If there was a mistake made, it was
    in character encodings long predating Unicode, and Unicode simply
    continued longstanding existing practice for the character.
    And in my opinion, that longstanding existing practice was itself
    not a mistake in encoding.

    > what's to be done? I guess the only thing would be to define a new
    > character/block/whatever from scratch and deprecate the old one.

    You cannot simply deprecate terabytes of existing German data
    and thousands of implementations that depend on the existing


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