Re: ASCII and Unicode lifespan

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri May 20 2005 - 09:26:57 CDT

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    At 09:42 -0400 2005-05-20, Mark E. Shoulson wrote:

    >I thought someone else cited evidence from a scholar in Glagolitic
    >that uppercase characters *did* exist.

    You're right, Mark. It was the professor of Slavonic languages who
    co-authored the proposal with me. In an offline disscussion, Ken
    Whistler noted that he found, after a couple minutes googling, an
    online image of a *printed* (not manuscript) Croatian Missal from
    1483 in Glagolitic script, showing evidence of use of capital forms: as well as evidence, from a Croatian
    user of the script, for casing *also* in the cursive form of
    Glagolitic: (look at the exhibit
    labelled "Pozdrav glagoljici" by David Kabalin).

    It is interesting (or is it?) to note how some people want to find
    flaws in the encodings where no flaws exist. One guy with a Slavic
    name says that Glagolitic doesn't have case, and suddenly alas! alas!
    Glagolitic was encoded improperly!

    That's not science, and it's not engineering, and it belittles the
    work that we do and the rigorous standardization process that is used
    to encode characters and scripts in the Unicode Standard and in
    ISO/IEC 10646. What we do when we encode is to look at the facts and
    to listen to the requirements of the user community.

    >This then reduces to an internal dispute among Glagolitic students,
    >not subject to our resolution (and Unicode does, of necessity, tend
    >to favor the "more characters" over the "less characters" camp in
    >such disputes, as we've seen already).

    As well it should. "Err on the side of generosity in encoding" is how
    I put it. Ken has elsewhere alluded to the thousands of Han
    characters which are either mistakes copied from dictionary to
    dictionary for centuries (and therefore encoded in Unicode as part of
    a particular corpus of interest) or whose meanings and/or
    pronunciations are simply unknown to us, having been lost, but which
    are included for the same cultural interest by the user community.

    Sometimes I wonder why we don't encode the Phaistos script in light
    of that, really. ;-)

    >This thread has become really stunningly unproductive.

    Most of the threads on this list have been likewise unproductive of
    late, Mark. What is apparent is that a number of individuals think
    that it is nice to use this list to bash Unicode. I for one (and I
    doubt I am the only one) would like to see Sarasvati take some action
    which might reduce the noise level on this list. (Using mail filters
    does not seem to be sufficient.)

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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