RE: A currency sign for the Rubel?

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu Mar 27 2008 - 16:02:01 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: A currency sign for the Rubel?"

    Jim Melton wrote:
    > Hmmmm...that raises an interesting question: Has it ever
    > happened that a character has been encoded prior to knowing
    > what the glyph will be?

    A good solution is to adopt a name for such non official glyph that will not
    prohibit the future adoption of a precise symbol with stronger semantics.

    But it should be noted that the name "Ruble" is not specific to Russia, and
    the same symbol currently used could still persist and be used for other
    currencies named Ruble. Each country (or central bank) will adopt its own
    policy regarding the name and representation of the currency, independantly.

    So if one of the commonly used symbols were encoded now, it should not
    contain anything that indicates that it is an official symbol. May be this
    will be the official symbol, may be not. May be there will never be any
    official symbol, but a set of juridic decisions (related to commercial
    transactions with litigations) that may accept one or several symbols as
    acceptable and correctly representing the currency.

    The European Union needed its own symbol because the currency had to be used
    in several countries with distinct juridictions, but it was needed to have
    prices displayed in one member country also valid throughout the union
    without discussion. Many efforts were made to give a unique name for the
    currency but this has failed, and the Euro efectively has several names, and
    several ways to derive it according to language. The euro has also several
    standard orthographies, justified by the change of script (Latin and Greek
    were used initially, now the Cyrilic alphabet is needed, and notes already
    display an orthography with the Cyrillic alphabet).

    So when the name can vary, how can you display prices in a language-neutral
    and script-neutral way, that can be understood the same way by everyone in
    the Union without possible contestation on pricing? The solution was a
    single symbol backed by a standard that defined a precise glyph. So this
    excluded all post proposals, notably because those proposals were in fact
    used for something that did not exist still at the time it was created (at
    that time it was the ECU, not the Euro).

    The Euro mess in Unicode and ISO 10646 was the result of naming the old
    proposed symbol "Euro", despite the Euro was still in creation (and the
    competition was still officially in progress to have a specific symbol for
    it) ; the symbol was used for something else. This was a naming error for
    the old symbol; but anyway the old symbol persist and would have been
    encoded anyway, but certainly with a different name, excluding "EURO" from
    it because it was already clear that the Euro would have very strong policy
    about its use. To be fair, when the old symbol was encoded, the new European
    currency was still unnamed, it coudl have been named "Ecu", but other names
    were also suggested like "pound", "livre", "franc" (proposed by Germans
    ironically...), or some other names for older historic European currencies.

    On the opposite, there's no sign that the current Ruble will be replaced
    soon in Russia; even when it changed, it has kept its name, and would have
    kept its symbols or abbreviations.

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