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

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 11:14:31 -0700

On 7/15/2011 10:26 AM, Michael Everson wrote:
> What I see is a certain unreasonability reflecting a certain conservatism. Text about the Standard is important, and should be representable in an interchangeable way. Here { } is a Right to left override character. character. I want to talk about it in a way that is visible. Oops. I can't do it interchangeably.


let me give you an example:

The Unicode Bidi Algorithm has extensive need to discuss this character,
because it provides specification for its use and support by
implementations. If you look at that document (UAX#9), you find this
character discussed widely (and you can save that document to plain text
without losing the sense of that discussion).

This example illustrates that we need to distinguish between the
requirement to *discuss *characters and their use, and the perceived
need to use *symbolic images* (glyphs) to do so. As the example of UAX#9
shows, one does not follow from the other.

If there had been a universal requirement to use "glyphs" for this
purpose, this requirement would have surfaced and could have been
addressed anytime during the last 20 years. Another indication that this
is not a universal requirement can be deduced from the fact that these
glyphs do not show up in more font collections.

Several symbols for "space" or "blank" were added however, because
widespread use in documentation was attested. The same avenue should in
principle be open for other such symbols (and here I disagree with
Andrew and Martin): If widespread use of glyphic symbols (as opposed to
abbreviations and names) can be documented for some characters, then
those characters, and those characters only should have whatever symbol
is used to represent them, added to the standard. Also, like the example
for SPACE, if there are different symbols, any of them that is
widespread should be added - to unify symbols of different design based
on the underlying concept that they represent would constitute improper
unification, in my view.

So, there, I'm not at all unreasonable - I just reasonably ask that the
normal procedures for adding characters are to be followed.

In this particular case, the Apple glyphs include glyphs for format
characters that Unicode considers deprecated. Providing characters to
encode glyphs for them would just be a waste. Further, while the glyphs
shown match those from the Unicode code charts, they are not necessarily
the shapes that are displayed when systems want to show these invisible
characters - so users and documentation writers may need an entirely
different set of glyphs. Finally, other vendors seem to not have
endorsed these glyphs by including them in their font collections - much
unlike the emoji, where multiple vendors had a large overlap of symbols,
and with large overlap in glyphic representation as well.

Therefore, I strongly urge the committees to separate out these meta
characters from the ongoing *symbol collection* review.
They can be taken up based on evidence of actual use (and showing the
actual glyphs in such use) at a later occasion.

Received on Fri Jul 15 2011 - 13:15:34 CDT

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