Re: Reasonable to propose stability policy on numeric type = decimal

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Sun Jul 25 2010 - 14:37:29 CDT

  • Next message: CE Whitehead: "RE: Reasonable to propose stability policy on numeric type = decimal"

    The short answer to Karl's question is that there will not be an
    absolute guarantee.

    The long answer is that, partly for the reasons he's mentioned, this
    won't be a practical problem.

    A. Most of the living scripts that are in wide use have been encoded,
    including whatever digits are in use.
    B. People reviewing encoding proposals include programmers who would
    object to scattering digits

    Thus, the only time this would be an issue is if there were some
    exceptional circumstances. And, as the name says, those circumstances
    could force an exception. If that happens there are two possible

    1. The script in question is important enough that everybody will build
    in exceptions into their conversion algorithms
    2. The script is so unimportant, that its number system won't be
    supported (i.e. it's treated just like other text).

    So, for extending your computer language, there's no reason to hold up
    support for many important scripts, just because of a hypothetical
    future exception.


    PS: just because I suspect more than one existing implementation to be
    offset-based, there would be tremendous pressure to prevent exceptions
    already :)

    PPS: a very hypothetical tough case would be a script where letters
    serve both as letters and as decimal place-value digits, and with modern
    living practice. Having a policy like you suggest would officially make
    that unsupportable, but there are other cases, like the language that
    wanted to used @ sign as a letter, that are de-facto unsupportable with
    the modern infrastructure. My suspicion is that users of such a script
    would realize that their method is de-facto unsupported/able and find
    some way to change their ways. Changing practices in the face of
    changing technology is something that happens all the time, not only to
    small communities - but that's an entirely new subject :)

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