Re: ISO/IEC 10646 and ISO/IEC 14651 freely available

From: Jim Melton (
Date: Thu Oct 05 2006 - 03:10:24 CST

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    I haven't seen anybody else responding to your question, so I'll make
    a stab at it.

    In The Beginning, standards development/publishing organizations
    (SDO) almost always assigned the numbers of their standards in
    sequential order. Therefore, for example, ANSI X3.135 (SQL) was the
    one hundred thirty fifth standard developed and published by the SDO
    named X3 (the name has since been changed to INCITS...don't ask)
    under the auspices of ANSI.

    A Very Long Time Ago (or so it seems), the International Organization
    for Standardization (ISO) published ISO 646, sometimes
    (inappropriately, IMHO) called "international ASCII". That standard
    was the 646th standard published by ISO.

    More recently, ISO was preparing to publish a new standard for the
    Universal Character Set (UCS). By petition of a number of National
    Bodies (the voting members of ISO Technical Committees), ISO granted
    the number 10646 as a sort of recognition that this new standard was
    expected to eclipse ISO 646 as the most widely-used character set
    standard in the world. This was not the 10,646th standard published
    by ISO (although it was somewhere in the low 10,000s or high
    9000s). This was supposed to be a Special Exception to the
    rules. (I cannot speak for the IETF's RFC 4646, but it wouldn't
    surprise me to learn if the same shenanigans were played in getting
    that number.)

    But the camel's nose was already in the tent. A number of years so,
    ANSI SDO Z39 published a "text search" standard that was called
    Z39.50. That standard was not, I believe, adopted by ISO and given
    an ISO number. However, a few years ago, when Z39.50, working with
    the international community, completed a new version of that
    standard, ISO did adopt it. And, this time, they were requested to
    grant the number ISO 23950 on the grounds that the digit 2 "looked a
    little like" the letter Z, so replace 2 with Z, remove the comma, and
    Bob's your uncle. Trust me, ISO has published nowhere near 23,000 standards.

    Now, it seems, almost everybody allows requests for special numbers
    to be granted...I wonder if ISO/IEC 9075, named "SQL", shouldn't
    request the special number 10501 on the grounds that the digit 5
    looks something like the letter S, the digit 0 looks a little like
    the letter Q, and the digit 1 looks a lot like a lower-case L (l)? Grrrrr...

    Hope this helps,

    At 9/29/2006 10:58 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
    >Are really these very similar-looking standard numbers a
    >coincidence, or is it deliberate, to create a sort of series of
    >highly related standards (even if they are published by distinct bodies) ?
    >RFC 4646, ISO 646, ISO 10646, ...
    >How are standard numbers assigned? At least it seems that iso
    >standard numbers are freely allocated within some large ranges
    >defined for a period, and number holes are filled progressively
    >during discussions until their adoption, if there's no other
    >compelling reason to use a specific number.
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: Jefsey_Morfin
    >Unicode's globalization doctrine (internationalization of the
    >environment + localization of the edges) is stabilised by BCP 47 and
    >RFC 4646 by Mark Davis and Addison Phillips; They provides a
    >consistent language tagging [language, characters, region] for the
    >environment (pages and protocols), localization (CLDR files), and
    >language applications.

    Jim Melton --- Editor of ISO/IEC 9075-* (SQL) Phone: +1.801.942.0144
       Co-Chair, W3C XML Query WG; F&O (etc.) editor Fax : +1.801.942.3345
    Oracle Corporation Oracle Email: jim dot melton at oracle dot com
    1930 Viscounti Drive Standards email: jim dot melton at acm dot org
    Sandy, UT 84093-1063 USA Personal email: jim at melton dot name
    = Facts are facts. But any opinions expressed are the opinions =
    = only of myself and may or may not reflect the opinions of anybody =
    = else with whom I may or may not have discussed the issues at hand. =

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