RE: Quick survey of Apple symbol fonts (in context of the Wingding/Webding proposal)

From: Doug Ewell <>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 09:03:38 -0700

Andrew West <andrewcwest at gmail dot com> replied to Michael Everson:

>> I think that having encoded symbols for control characters (which we
>> already have for some of them) is no bad thing, and the argument
>> about "too many characters" is not compelling, as there are only some
>> dozens of these characters encoded, not thousands and thousands or
>> anything.
> I oppose encoding graphic clones of non-graphic characters on
> principle, not because of how many there are.

I agree with Michael about a lot of things, and this isn't going to be
one of them. The main arguments I am seeing in favor of encoding are:

1. Graphic symbols for control characters are needed so writers can
write about the control characters themselves using plain text.

I don't think there's any end to where this can go. As Martin said,
eventually you'd need a meta-meta-character to talk about the
meta-character, and then it's not just a size problem, but an
infinite-looping problem.

2. The precedent was established by the U+2400 block.

I thought those were compatibility characters, in the original sense:
encoded because they were part of some pre-existing standard. That's
not necessarily a precedent in itself to encode more characters that are
similar in nature.

3. There aren't that many of them.

We regularly dismiss arguments of the form "But there's lots of room for
these in Unicode" when someone proposes to encode something that
shouldn't be there. I don't see this as any different.

Michael is responsible for adding many thousands of characters to
Unicode, so it's awkward for me to be debating character-encoding
principles with him, but there we are.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | | @DougEwell ­
Received on Fri Jul 15 2011 - 11:06:17 CDT

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