4.1098 Unicode v. ISO 10646 (1/21)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 27 Feb 91 20:29:00 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1098. Wednesday, 27 Feb 1991.

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 91 11:25:55 PST
From: unicode-request@Eng.Sun.COM (Bill "Bill" Tuthill)
Subject: submission

Michael Sperberg-McQueen (U Illinois at Chicago) writes:

> Unicode does *not* now provide a fixed-width encoding for all
> characters. And ISO 10646, by contrast, does.

I've heard this knock against Unicode so many times it's starting
to sound like Iraqi propaganda.

In fact Unicode includes all pre-composed accented characters
contained in the nine ISO 8859 standards. Most countries that
prefer pre-composed accented characters (all of Europe apparently
feels this way) can use them. For writing systems whose users
are comfortable with floating diacritics (the IPA for linguists
comes to mind), Unicode provides the appropriate mechanism, but
DIS 10646 does not.

In my view, the major problem with 10646 is that a complete
implementation is nearly impossible, and partial implementations
are almost as bad as none at all. Consider that a plethora of
differing partial implementation around the world would make
the global interchange of data infeasible.