From: Doug Ewell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 17 2005 - 08:56:15 CDT
Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya dot org> wrote:
> Whether tweaked or not, the useful life of most standards in the
> computer industry has been very low. Few of the ones in use 25 years
> ago are still in active use now, although some remain as subsets of
> more comprehensive standards (which is the alternative to improving
> the standard).
It's usually considered better engineering practice to assume that a
building, a bridge, or a standard will be in existence for a long time,
and to build it so as to allow incremental upgrades such as earthquake
retrofitting, than to assume its imminent obsolescence and underengineer
> Any suggestion that Unicode will be around much beyond the lifetime
> of its current proponents is sheer arrogance. I know someone has
> suggested that it will last for 1000 years.
Gosh, I wonder who you mean by that?
> I am reminded of what happened to the Reich which was supposed to
> lat 1000 years.
Thus is Godwin's Law invoked.
Hans Aberg <haberg at math dot su dot se> replied:
> It can be instructive to check the history of ASCII. See for example
> It says that the presently most widely used form is ANSI X3.4-1986.
> So that standard has been in active use only 19 years.
That's not a standard, it's a version of a standard. That would be like
talking about the life expectancy of "Unicode 4.1" instead of "Unicode."
For 99.9% of ASCII usage, there is no difference between the 1967
version of ASCII and the 1986 update. I believe the update had to do
with the issue of treating 0x24 as a nationally variable "currency sign"
versus hard-coding it to the dollar sign.
> Thank you, Hans. But I would suggest that ASCII is already obsolete,
> in that almost no one still uses it. In practice they have long been
> using supersets like any of the ISO-8859 variants or UTF-8. Of course
> many users in practice restrict themselves largely to the original
> ASCII subset. But I consider a standard which has been supersetted in
> this way as no longer in active use.
Quite a few standards and protocols are explicitly restricted to ASCII.
It is not simply a matter of individual users limiting themselves to
what's handy on their keyboard.
-- Doug Ewell Fullerton, California http://users.adelphia.net/~dewell/
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