Re: more dingbats in plain text

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Fri Apr 17 2009 - 21:59:30 CDT

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    Asmus Freytag <asmusf at ix dot netcom dot com> wrote:

    > If that kind of thing amuses you, try reading the introduction to the
    > Unicode Standard. The early versions boldly proclaim many things off
    > limits that later happened. From 32-bit character codes to Musical
    > symbols.

    That's true; the move to 32 bits came along with the change in scope
    beyond "the characters published in modern text" (Unicode 88), and the
    expanded code space in turn removed one of the barriers to encoding all
    sorts of items not considered in the 1988 proposal.

    The world has changed quite a bit in 21 years. I mentioned that the
    Principles and Procedures document was updated less than a year ago.
    This is not some relic of Dr. Becker's original vision that has proved
    impractical in the modern world; it was reissued in May 2008. After 20
    years of Unicode, it seems unlikely that there was some gross lack of
    foresight in May 2008 concerning the type of symbols that should or
    should not be encoded, which suddenly came clear in December 2008.

    >> Unless they can be defined as "compatibility characters," in which
    >> case all of them must be encoded without question.
    > Unless the set has been approved as a compatibility character set, in
    > which case, the goal is, indeed, to cover it in full.
    > (That decision does not rest with the proposer, no matter how much you
    > would like to insinuate it.)

    I have an even more sinister insinuation than that, concerning the
    emoji. You've probably heard it already.

    > The "sets of symbols" I was addressing in that part of my message,
    > however, did not include compatibility character sets, but sets
    > organized by category or type of symbol, like ISO safety symbols, UI
    > symbols, etc.

    If the set of symbols is captured by glyphs in a font, though, that
    might qualify as a compatibility character set. It's been pointed out
    that the Zapf Dingbats got in by virtue of being encoded in the
    repertoire of contemporary laser printers. That wasn't a "character
    set" in the sense of ISO 8859 or Big5 or Shift-JIS.

    The Wingdings and Webdings family of fonts, distributed with every copy
    of Windows for over a decade, absolutely qualify as "compatibility
    character sets" according to the guidelines being applied for the emoji.

    Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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