Re: Character Repertoire vs. Encoding Issues in EU

From: Jukka K. Korpela <>
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 22:10:49 +0200

2012-11-10 21:52, Erkki I Kolehmainen wrote:

> FYI: After a very long process the European Commission has rejected the
> standardization project for “Core Character repertoire” (that was also
> presented at IUC 34) with the following rationale:
> “As the Unicode standard includes all the standard characters needed in
> all official EU languages as well as almost all characters needed in
> most of the world’s writing systems, it is difficult to see what
> benefits there would be in implementing a specialisation of Unicode only
> for EU languages.

This is very regrettable. Not very unexpected, given the widespread
misunderstanding of what Unicode is and what it is not.

> “In addition, the problems described in the proposal are related to
> non-implementation of this standard, and a new one would not change
> these problems.

Now, *that* is a somewhat unexpected misunderstanding.

> It would appear from the above that the Commission is regrettably
> unaware of the difference between encoding and character repertoire
> issues and the extensive work needed to be done with confusables and
> other security aspects of Unicode as well as of the need for guidance on
> the fallback mechanisms required in several instances.

I would be mostly worried about the failure to understand that support
to Unicode does not imply support to any specific character repertoire,
such as the repertoire needed to write official EU languages (or
languages for which support is needed in a particular context).

> Unfortunately,
> since the said “specialisation” is ultimately required for the
> implementation of public registers in each country for both their own
> use and also for the much needed interoperability between EU member
> states, they’ll have to do it on their own without the benefits of a
> joint standardization effort.

I think what we can learn from this sad incident is that there should be
less emphasis on the idea that Unicode solves character problems and
more emphasis on the idea that Unicode just defines a framework for
addressing such problems.

I’m afraid most people who think they know Unicode don’t even realize
that no single font covers all of Unicode, or could possible cover at
the current state of the art, and that conformance to the standard does
not require that all characters be processed according to their defined

Received on Sun Nov 11 2012 - 14:15:52 CST

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