Re: String name and Character Name

From: Otto Stolz (
Date: Wed Apr 13 2005 - 10:06:26 CST

  • Next message: Dean Snyder: "Re: String name and Character Name"

    Edward H. Trager schrieb:
    > For anyone to say, "it cannot be changed and won't be changed" without a very good explanation
    > of *why* it cannot be changed

    Actually, this has been explained. I repeat, in my own words:
    - On account of a mutual agreement, before Unicode could do anything about
       these character names, WG2 (the owners of the ISO 10646 standard) would
       have to consent.
    - These character names are meant as unique identifiers for the individual characters,
       just as the Unicode numbers (only more mnemonic). And they are used, in this way,
       by many standards (ISO, national standards, Internet RFCs, and more). When those
       names would change, all of these standards would have to change accordingly. I guess,
       no one even knows about all of the standards referring to those character names, so
       they would have to be chased and enumurated, before even thinking of changing those
       character names. And then, all of these standards would have to be reworked, in
       accordance with the new Character Names. Neither Unicode TC nor WG2 are likely to
       consent to such a paramount change.

    Actually, it has also been explained why there is no need to change them, at all.
    In my own words:
    - Those character names are *not* meant to describe the meaning, and usage, of
       the individual characters.
    - The meaning, and usage, of the character blocks, and individual characters,
       are standardized in the descriptive parts of the standard, including the
       Unicode Character Database base.

    > just sounds like some sort of hubris in this mailing list,

    I think, what you are experiencing here is not hybris, but rather ennui.
    You are rehashing the same statements, over and over, without even realizing
    that your question has already been answered (as outlined above). This is my
    only, and last, attempt to point this out to you; I hope this will end this
    futile thread. In any case, I will no more contribute to this thread; you may
    call this "hybris", but really it is lack of time.

    > Originally, a kilogram was the mass of a cubic decimeter
    > of water. But in 1889 it was redefined using a platinum-iridium kilogram prototype.
    > Now there are efforts to define the kilogram in terms of the number of atoms of
    > some element or another.

    Take this from a learned physicist: This is quite another sort of change, a change
    that does not really hurt. In this (and similar cases), the new standard defined
    the unit more accurately than the former one, so that any application of the new
    standard automatically fulfilled the older one. This is akin to introducing new
    characters into Unicode: an application complying with Unicode 4.1 will handle
    Unicode 4.0 data alright.

    > there really is nothing stopping me (or you) from displaying what I believe
    > are more correct names for these characters in some website, software, or document
    > that I might write.

    As long as you are not claiming that these are the official Unicode Character Names.

    It would, however, be more useful to the general public, if you would communicate your
    knowledge through the official channels, so your suggestions would end in the places
    where users of the Unicode standard would expect (and hence read) them, viz. in the
    annotations for individual characters (TUS, chapter 16), in the description of the
    individual scripts (TUS, chapters 7 through 15), or in the Unicode Character Database,
    as appropriate. This would amount to pinpointing an actual error, or inaccuracy, in TUS
    (by chapter and verse), collecting evidence for the error or suggested amendmend,
    checking the Errata page at <>, wording a correction,
    and delivering all of this information to <>.

    Admittedly, this is a lot of work, but probably less than setting up an own
    WWW site. In any case, claims should be well researched, and substantiated by
    convincing evidence.

    > Johannes Bergerhausen's "Decode Unicode" project (prototype at )
    > would be a good forum where individuals can contribute clarifications of how these mis-
    > named characters should more properly referred to.

    Alas, my first impression of that project was disappointing: I have looked up the
    German article on LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S, and found an unsubstantiated, dis-
    proved theory of its origin. I had really not the time to correct that article.
    <>, and <>,
    are much more accurate; <> is not fit to hold a candle to
    them. (But then, the latter is only at its beginning; it is hoped that more com-
    petent authors will join in and produce more accurate articles.)

    Best wishes,
       Otto Stolz

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