From: tex (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Dec 08 2008 - 00:27:02 CST
Hi Chris, et al.
GB18030 is a good rationale, but although it is a Chinese legal requirement, it isn't enforced except perhaps against the largest companies. So for some it represents a risk, but not an immediate priority.
The most compelling arguments are those where a manager can see the use case and an immediate need.
Customer requests (or complaints) and/or potential business tied to the requirement would be compelling.
The truth is these characters are still infrequent in both occurance and demand, and most users would tolerate and work around it if they aren't supported. And a majority of software today still does not support the supplementary planes or supports it only with extra steps (patches, registry changes, special fonts...).
So I think to motivate the industry and companies so they don't fall off a cliff (if and) when the characters become mandatory for business applications, it is necessary to have concrete examples that people can understand and accept as needing support.
Being able to write everyday words like "lift", or place names, demonstrates that the character support is clearly needed (at least for some applications).
It would be easier to make the case if users were demanding these characters, but at least for the companies I have spoken to, users are not insisting they should be supported. This could be due to lowered expectations, or they have plenty of workarounds.
When I started to look at the question again recently, I was surprised at the number of BMP alternatives. (I am not a speaker of any of these languages so I can't attest to the quality or acceptability of the workarounds. I can only echo what I have been told or read, which is alternative spellings were acceptable.)
If we want to raise awareness of the need for supplementary character support, then we need concrete examples (for which there aren't BMP alternatives). The theoretical and legal requirements are too thin for most businesses. Alternatively, we should clarify that the BMP is adequate for business applications and let the supplementary planes be for advanced applications or those with specialized language requirements.
I am not advocating any position. I am trying to gauge the real business need for supplementary characters and have convincing examples for business managers that they can relate to.
Doesn't GB18030 have CJK characters corresponding to those in CJK Ideographs Ext. B? If an application wants to fully support GB18030 characters - one way of accomplishing that might be through Unicode (mapping GB18030 characters to Unicode equivalents) ~ which would of course require support for characters beyond the BMP.
GB18030 conformance might be a good commercial reason for supporting supplementary characters.
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