Re: Unicode Stability (Was: Re: E0000 Language Tags for Some Obscure Languages)

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Fri Mar 04 2005 - 14:15:45 CST

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    At 09:27 AM 3/4/2005, Jeroen Ruigrok/asmodai wrote:
    >Given these points, wouldn't an ever-expanding standard like Unicode be a
    >cause to data bloat at one point? Since you will need continuous larger
    >encoding space to encode certain specific characters?

    To paraphrase Ken Whistler's standard answer:

    Nothing gets added to the Standard without approval from the technical
    committees that do the maintenance. At the current rate of about 1,000
    characters per year, it would take 800 years to fill up the space

    A rate of 1,000 characters per year is plenty enough to deal with
    possible future innovations such as the occasional writing reform.

    >Not to mention that the supporting fonts will get bigger and bigger.

    The only font collection that will have to track the growth of the standard
    will be the one used to print the documentation. As more characters get
    added that aren't widely used, better mechanism may be invented to allow
    users to get just the fonts they need.

    That's a problem that requires its own engineering and possibly standardization
    approach, but it is independent of character encoding as such.

    >Although I have no idea how much of a problem it is given storage prices

    The actual *rate* of growth of the Unicode Standard is about 1%, with the
    rate diminishing, so there is no compounding, like in growth rates or
    interest rates. There are few large unencoded scripts or symbol sets left,
    so the rate is likely to slow down before settling on a very small level to
    track writing reforms, new currency symbols and other ongoing maintenance.

    Therefore, whatever problem there is with the size of the standard, it's
    not going to dramatically change in the near future.


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