Re: Level of Unicode support required for various languages

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 03:03:42 CDT

  • Next message: "Re: Level of Unicode support required for various languages"

    On 10/25/2007 10:41 PM, wrote:
    > Even more could have been done at the start of unicode and CJKV.
    > An even more effcient solution as far as code points, would have been
    > to encode ...

    In theory, and with lots of hindsight, perhaps.

    But in the political and technical reality of the early years of Unicode
    (and ISO10646), there was not a whole lot of room for radically
    different approaches.

    For a new technology to be successful, you need to have both enough new
    features to make adoption of the technology worth the effort, and a
    migration strategy (strategy of small steps) that allows porting to the
    new technology in manageable and relatively predictable ways.

    There are many design elements in Unicode that were adopted for
    migration purposes - some were less necessary in hindsight than others;
    likewise some of them proved more costly than expected, even to
    implementations not requiring those particular migrations.

    One of the benefits of hindsight is that the true magnitude and scope of
    certain collections has become much better understood as these
    collections have become cataloged in Unicode. Also, the deficiencies of
    particular cataloging choices are now well-known and understood.

    As a result, alternative representations, building on the amassed
    knowledge base, but distinct in their approach, could be created, that
    may prove potentially superior at certain tasks. Whether such
    alternative representations would be limited to rendering, processing,
    data compression or whether they would be attractive as interchange
    format remains very much to be seen (if and when somebody sits down and
    actually cranks out such a system).

    But whatever form it takes, it would be subject to the same kind of
    forces that shaped Unicode's early stages, except that it's 20 years
    later, and general state of the art and the knowledge of scripts,
    characters, their use and implementation have not stood still. So, while
    the influence of these forces may well lead to different particular
    results now, it does not mean that very different approaches would have
    been feasible then.


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