Fixed Width Spaces (was: Printing and Displaying Dependent Vowels)

From: Ernest Cline (
Date: Tue Mar 30 2004 - 13:12:07 EST

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    > [Original Message]
    > From: Asmus Freytag <>
    > At 12:19 PM 3/29/2004, Ernest Cline wrote:
    > >
    > >UAX #14 makes a rather definitive statement on this issue, albeit
    > >in an obscure place, in Section 3: Introduction.
    > 4.0.1 will amend that section to correct the wrong impression that NBSP is
    > fixed width and to clarify that this statement is not intended to cover
    > specialized cases, but just ordinary typographical conventions:
    > I'm sorry if the fact that the placement and context of text was not
    > to guide the reader. Note that the 'obscure place' was in the
    > introduction (!) of the UAX, where it was a mere note on a subject not
    > actually covered by the UAX (i.e. line layout) that nevertheless forms
    > the context in which linebreaking happens.

    True, but it was the only guidance on the subject that is present in
    Unicode 4.0.0, and there do exist widely used applications that do
    treat NBSP as a fixed width space.

    Still, there is a need for a fixed width space with a width equal to the
    unjustified width of a normal space . With NBSP being ruled out
    for that job, that leaves FIGURE SPACE, MMSP, and FOUR-PER-EM
    SPACE as the closest alternatives, but none of them are guaranteed
    to be exactly that width, even if they are available. I suppose
    suspending justification for just one space via a higher-level
    protocol could work, except I'm not aware of any such protocol that
    works at a fine-enough grain to do that. Also, one could by that argument
    also argue that many of the current fixed width spaces could be
    handled by higher level protocol as well.

    Perhaps a possible U+2064 NONJUSTIFYING SPACE would make
    sense with line breaking class BA like most of the other fixed width
    spaces. (I would have preferred proposing U+205E to place it
    adjoining MMSP, but that code point is already in the pipeline.)

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