Re: Fixed Width Spaces (was: Printing and Displaying DependentVowels)

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 15:12:38 EST

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    On 31/03/2004 11:57, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    >>... To most people, a space is a space. To rather more, there
    >>is a second kind of space which they expect to be non-breaking and often
    >>also expect to be fixed width. (Those who had the latter expectation
    >>have had a nasty surprise today because with the release of 4.0.1 NBSP
    >>is suddenly no longer fixed width.)
    > ^^^^^^^^
    >Hardly. It has *always* been the intent and understanding of
    >the UTC that NBSP was comparable in all ways to a SPACE character,
    >except for disallowing line break opportunities.
    Thanks for the clarification. I should say that the behaviour of NBSP
    suddenly reverted to what it had been in previous versions of the
    standard, although a perhaps inadvertant change was made in 4.0.0.

    Nevertheless, there does seem to be a widespread misunderstanding that
    NBSP is intended to be fixed width, and in many systems it is
    implemented as such. Perhaps there is a need to clarify this further,
    perhaps by reinstating text similar to what was in Unicode 3.0.

    I take your point about the advantages of having the drafters of the
    standard available to explain parts of the standard which are unclear. I
    certainly wish we could do that with other texts that you allude to. But
    there must also be controls here. If the text says "black", we can't
    have the drafters saying that the text really means "white". They can
    say that they made a mistake, and correct it in a new version, but there
    are limits on how far they can reinterpret even a text which they wrote

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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