Re: Indian new rupee sign

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Fri Jul 30 2010 - 11:58:35 CDT

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    On Jul 30, 2010, at 5:01 AM, William_J_G Overington wrote:

    > Is there any good reason why people cannot arrange that the new symbol is fully encoded into Unicode and ISO 10646 by 31 December 2010, that is, before the end of the present decade, ready to use in the next decade?
    > If there is progress over getting the encoding done, then maybe other people will join in the effort and update fonts and whatever else needs updating by the same date.

    Unicode is a complex standard whose structure involves code charts, data files, and various standard annexes and reports. Any change to the standard involves changes to at least some of these, if not all of them. This work is done by several individuals scattered around the world. Time is needed to make sure the changes are properly coordinated and made with due care.

    WG2 is governed by ISO rules. ISO is a large organization and involves national bodies from all over the globe. The ISO voting process involves several rounds in order to make sure that any objections are properly discussed and responded to. Even in the age of electronic communications, this takes time.

    And many of the people involved in both UTC and WG2 have substantial responsibilities in addition to character encoding work. (Some, indeed, do the character encoding work on their own time.) It's not necessarily easy for them to find the time to look everything over carefully.

    All of this is done at a deliberate pace because experience has taught that inasmuch as *any* change may have unintended consequences, making even a small change quickly may prove to create more problems than it solves.

    Note, for example, the "early adopter" who simply slapped support for the new rupee symbol by overlaying it on top of `. For a lot of people, that's a cool solution because it means that everything works *right* *now*. The problem is that it breaks a lot of other things that the person in question (and his supporters) obviously didn't even think of, and now they've got a pile of unintended consequences.

    Obviously this is an important new symbol, and I'm sure that WG2 and the UTC will make every effort to encode it as expeditiously as possible. As for exactly how long it will take, neither WG2 nor the UTC has even *met* since this hit the news. While it's exciting to have the new symbol, and while one does want to strike while the iron is hot, ten years from now it won't have made much difference whether it was encoded in 2010 or 2011--unless the job got botched through over-haste.

    Festina lente.

    John H. Jenkins

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