Re: What's the BMP being saved for?

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Mar 19 2004 - 13:57:38 EST

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    At 15:13 +0000 2004-03-19, Marion Gunn wrote:
    >Ar 15:33 +0000 2004/03/18, scríobh Arcane Jill:
    >>This probably is going to sound like a really
    >>dumb question, but ... Is the BMP being saved
    >>for something?
    >>Arcane Jill
    >There are never any dumb questions, Jill, only dumb answers.

    Oh, sometimes there are both.

    >BMP is part of 10646-speak, and probably part of pre-Unicode terminology.

    This is incorrect. "BMP" means "Basic
    Multilingual Plane" and is the name given to the
    plane designated by the code positions
    00000-0FFFF. It is not "10646-speak". It is part
    of the architectural nomenclature of the
    Universal Character Set.

    >The decision to create the BMP dates back to a time when certain software
    >suppliers were complaining that anthing approaching a full implementation
    >of ISO 10646 (later transmuted, so to speak, into Unicode) would be too big
    >for them to handle, and too costly.

    This is incorrect. The BMP has always been part
    of ISO/IEC [sic] 10646. It was not "introduced"
    for the purposes stated here.

    >Small local groups, such as ours, were then working rapidly and painlessly
    >mostly on national and international character sets on far smaller scales.

    Before the advent of the Universal Character Set,
    this is what everyone was forced to do.

    >I recall chairing some discussion at a CEN
    >workshop, possibly in Slovenia, in re something
    >related, at the height of the debate. In any
    >case, by that time, CEN had already emerged as a
    >big player in this work (I think Unicode had yet
    >to make much of a mark, but I don't mind if
    >someone corrects me about that, if wrong,
    >because it really doesn't matter now, in the

    The CEN was never "a big player" as such. The
    Slovenian conference was entitled "Providing
    Multilingual Support in Middleware: Implementing
    the Universal Character Set ISO/IEC 10646 in the
    European Information Society" and was sponsored
    by DG3 and CEN/TC304 and held in Bled in November
    1996. At that time, I was Ireland's appointed
    CEN/TC304 representative. Marion attended the
    conference, but I do not believe that it is
    correct that she "chaired" a session there.

    >Anyway, it was agreed to divide ISO 10646 into
    >sections, such as BMP (Basic Multilingual Plane)
    >and the MES (Minimum European Subset), and my
    >own company, among others, was very pleased to
    >be hired by CEN to do the necessary (a truly
    >exciting and rewarding period, when we actually
    >got_paid_, generously, if belatedly, for such
    >Standards work!)

    This is incorrect. ISO/IEC [sic] 10646 was never
    "divided into sections, such as BMP and the MES".
    Since Marion, again, wishes to stress to readers
    of this list that "her company" with its abundant
    expertise was hired by CEN to work on the MES
    subset and the Alpha project, it should be
    pointed out that it is I, Michael Everson, who
    actually did the work as formally-appointed
    editor of these CEN/ISSS projects. The "belated"
    payment for that work on the Alpha project would
    have been paid after I had ended my business
    relationship with Marion; it is true that "her
    company" will have had the benefit of the
    "generous" payment received for the work which I,
    and no other member of "her company", actually
    did. (I am appalled at having to say this, but I
    am astonished to see Marion bring this up and try
    to take credit for my work and expertise. The
    money should have been more than enough.)

    >Is the BMP a reality, actually referenced in
    >software, or scheduled to be so referenced in

    Yes, it is.

    >I doubt it,

    Well, there you go.

    >although I think that would be a very good thing
    >(just as I believe the 8859 series and the like
    >more practially useful, even today, as
    >clean-cutting tools, than the full complement of
    >10646, which remains a rather blunt instrument
    >which creates obstacles in unflagged text).

    All this goes to show is that Marion lacks
    understanding and experience with Unicode and
    ISO/IEC 10646. (It would be a good thing if all
    text were tagged [sic] to indicate the character
    set, of course.)

    >Justification for saving the BMP for the
    >purposes originally intended is probably
    >something the Unicode Consortium would be happy
    >to clarify for you.

    As one of the authors of the Unicode Standard,
    and chief editor of the Roadmaps, I can answer by
    explaining to Jill that the Basic Multilingual
    Plane is where the most frequently-used scripts
    and characters are allocated. Characters in the
    other Supplementary Multilingual Plane are
    mostly, but not entirely, lesser-used scripts and
    historical scripts; there are also some symbols
    and other things encoded there. The Supplementary
    Ideographic Plane contains ideographs. The
    Supplementary Special-purpose Plane contains
    nothing of much consequence.

    >Perhaps that has already been done in some of today's e-mails, which are
    >too numerous for me to read right now, under pressure of urgent work. (I do
    >promise to try to read them all.)

    Feel free to spend all of your time on urgent
    work, Marion. Tooting your own horn (at my
    expense) and providing inaccurate information to
    others on this forum is, in my opinion, not a
    very good use of your time or ours.

    >If you want more info on the purpose and genesis
    >of the BMP, I suggest that you ask NSAI to let
    >you study the archives of NSAI/AGITS/WG6 (later
    >transmuted into NSAI/ICTSCC/SC4), or thou send a
    >simple query directly to CEN (on whose live
    >agenda such matters remain, I believe).

    This is both inappropriate and incorrect. Marion
    is not a member of NSAI/ICTSCC/SC4, and has no
    business suggesting anything about that
    subcommittee or its "archives". And CEN/TC304 is
    dormant at best, so Marion's belief is
    unjustified. Further, neither of these groups has
    special information regarding "the purpose and
    genesis of the BMP".

    >Hope this helps,
    >Would someone just hit reply to this msg, to time our comms here? There
    >seems to be a long timelag between sending and delivery of Unicode list
    >msgs, sometimes.

    Not long enough.

    At 01:14 +0100 2001-09-21, Marion Gunn wrote:
    >Guíonn Marion agus Michael dá chéile, dá
    >gcustaiméirí agus dá lucht teagmhála i gcéin
    >agus i gcóngar sláinte, sonas agus séan, agus
    >dúil mhór i ngach céim dá rince féin feasta.
    >Michael and Marion wish each other, and all of
    >their contacts and customers at home and abroad
    >health, happiness, prosperity, and enthusiasm to
    >go ahead with their own dance.

    For my part, I was happy enough to accept this
    text as a joint declaration in September 2001. My
    "dance" is here, where my dharma leads me to try
    to do my best to help add new scripts and
    characters to the Universal Character Set. Where
    Marion's "dance" is, I cannot say. I don't think
    that it is here.

    In two days' time it will be two and a half years
    since I left "EGT". I would appreciate it,
    Marion, if you would ring your ISP and instruct
    them to permanently disable my old e-mail
    addresses, as I have asked you to do regularly
    over the intervening period.

    Más fíor go nguíonn tú sonas agus séan dom.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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