Re: pre-HTML5 and the BOM

From: Leif H Silli <>
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2012 13:30:03 +0200

Asmus Freytag 14/7/'12, 0:28:
>7/13/2012 2:42 PM, David Starner wrote:
>>Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM, Jukka K. Korpela:
>>> 2012-07-13 22:37, David Starner wrote:
>>>> Wikipedia says "The Unicode standard recommends against the BOM for
>>>> UTF-8." and refers to page 30 of the Unicode Standard, version 6.0,
>>>> that says "Use of a BOM is neither required nor recommended for
>>>> UTF-8..." Calling it a myth seems bizarre.
>>> “Not recommended” is distinct from “recommends against”.
>> I disagree; the meaning of the two phrases overlaps in my idolect, and
>> while it would be somewhat laconic, I might use "not recommended" to
>> mean "if you insist on doing that, please give us a chance to get the
>> fire extinguisher first",
> I can state confidently and unequivocally that it is not used in that
> sense in the standard, and by reading the whole phrase it's clear that
> it is intended as statement of neutrality on the part of the Unicode
> Standard - respectfully being aware of the difference between a
> character encoding and a data transmission (or file format) protocol.

Thank you for confirming that the view that Unicode reccomend against the UTF-8 BOM, is a myth/misreading.

I have tried to correct what Wikipedia says once, pointing as I did, to the fact that it is a misreading of the standard. But it got "reverted".

Next time someone tries to correct it, he/she can point to your reply here. However, it would be
nice if the standard e.g. added "That is to say: the Unicode standard takes a neutral standpoint.", or eventually reformulated the statement.

Because, what it says now, is easily misunderstood - even by the members of the Unicode mailing list ...

The problems with current wording are 3-fold:
- to use negative wording in order to express neutrality, can in and by itself confusing
- the 'neither ... nor ...' construct is easily confusing - I tried to use it in the HTML working group once, and I immediately got "corrected".
- "nor recommended" reminds about the "NOT RECOMMENDED" of rfc 2119. Why not rather use "OPTIONAL" to express the neutral stance that Unicode takes in a positive wording that do take its meaning from rfc 2119?

Leif Halvard Silli
Received on Sat Jul 14 2012 - 06:40:17 CDT

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