From: Patrick Andries (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Mar 07 2005 - 14:12:05 CST
Michael Everson a écrit :
> At 07:34 -0800 2005-03-07, Patrick Andries wrote:
>>> Surely the problem is on the side of the people who made the decree
>>> without thinking of the processing consequences.
>> Ah, but this is what the user community decided...
> Is it, indeed.
Well, it all depends what the meaning of "the user community" is. It is
here *a* user community, but this has no impact on Unicode, only on
"clever" typesetting macros substituting an emdash when two hyphens
follow each other.
> I assume that your comment is intended to be ironic, because you
> disagree with the Copticists
No this was no the reason since this does not involve Unicode, but since
you regrettably mention this and attempt to embarrass me (Patrick
against the Copticist). I will address this issue in an attempt to show
that Canada's concerns (not only me) were or are reasonable not that we
are meddling and stubborn know-it-all that are right.
But I willd address this only once here since it is of historical
interest for Coptic and I don't particularly like the tone of some of
the exchanges here recently ("you've pissed off all the right people"
addressed publicly to an inquisitive but not well-read newcomer, the
more patient people now know they are not among the "right people").
The Copticicts : you mean a Copticist as co-author who, in fact, said
precisely what we said in his public correspondence: caseless letters.
Never saw a document where the Copticists (how many ? in what forum ?
etc.) said « we want new characters that never existed and for which we
never felt a need in the centuries (two at least ;-)) we have been
writing Coptic intermixed with Latin. » ;-) No a single attested use of
case for these Old Coptic and Nubian letters.
> about their requirement that all of the letters their script be casing
even though these Old letters never were cased...One of the side-effects
of your models? What did you say again? «Unicode is supposed to help
people represent that mess. Unicode is not supposed to tidy it up and
fix it. » Nor invent any new characters to fix and tidy up, I suppose?
We don't usually accept letters found in a single author (no interchange
need), how about in no author? The typographical grounds mentioned in
the proposal could, we (Canada) believe, be addressed with proper font
technology (e.g. OpenType), and as far as the programmatic "need" it is
a simple table lookup that imposes no uniform camerality (ok, casing).
But this is settled and unfortunately encoded in Unicode 4.1, there is
no need for you, Michael, to bring up publicly this subject.
Only bad blood results from it. Our (Canada's) position is well-known
and documented as a publicly available ISO document, we have no reason
to be ashamed because we disagreed with you.
However, in a constructive spirit, we voted yes to Amd. 1. of ISO/EIC
10646, which will be part of Unicode 4.1 and includes Coptic as you
proposed it. Let this rest.
> , and with the N'Ko about their requirement to retain a distinction
> between some "old" and "new" letters, and their rejection of a
> unification of their script-specific diacritics with generic ones.
Again some people, you have admitted yourself (on Unicode-Afrique) that
old letterforms have been replaced by new letterforms in new editions
and, as stated before, that the plaintext use of these old letterforms
is to explain the evolution of this young script.
Also you say N'ko diacritics are script-specific but it remains to be
proven that they need to coded in the same block as other N'ko letters
(Syriac uses some generic diacritics as we advocate for N'ko) : it may
be more prudent to consider them as generic diacritics until an opposite
and compelling technical reason is given. For us, there is no need to
duplicate signs of similar shape and behaviour (there may be unexpected
complications when unnecessary signs are added : phishing springs to
mind). I personally don't understand this fascination to have new
historic scripts fit neatly in one block as if mimicking some History of
the Writing systems book.
I understand this opposition may be a question of philosophy : "why code
these signs since you can live without them and represent the same
texts?" vs. "why not since it seems also to work ?" To me, the prudent
way is the one that requires justification for addition (why a smaller
set of signs is not sufficient), since adding needed characters to
Unicode is relatively easy but removal impossible and deprecation
voluntary, it seems. A formal document to this effect (why less is not
good in the case of N'ko?) would be very much appreciated, no need for
you to again get upset, here or elsewhere. We would also like to know
why it seems all the old signs have not been included in your proposal
(see "anciennes lettres non utilisables",
http://www.hapax.qc.ca/pdf/anciennes-et-nouvelles-formes.pdf ), how
could one discuss these old signs in plaintext ? An answer to this
question in your formal document would be greatly appreciated.
I will not debate this topic (here or elsewhere) in the absence of
something more convincing than « I spoke to a few people and they told
me they wanted this coded as a separate character » (btw no trace of
such a request from the copticist*s*). A formal and public document
would be an excellent medium to progress and try to resolve our
different points of view : it will limit unpleasant exchanges and allow
more thoughtful consideration by all. I think I have already said so in
Again, we have mentioned in our adhoc report ways in which we could be
convinced to accept the n'ko proposal as it stands, other arguments are
obviously also welcome. We have not heard any possible ways that you
would be convinced to adopt another position.
In any case, coming back to the user community's wishes, Unicode and ISO
do not systematically code as single new code points what some users may
want to see encoded as such, their writing systems can often be
respected as it exists in more than one encoding way, it is precisely
the job of the encoding committees to analyse this calmly and not be
bullied into coming to a technical encoding decision.
(who will not discuss this thread any further on this list)
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