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Re: Unicode and math symbols

I may have missed some messages as I had mail problems last week.

Berthold wrote --

>    My understanding of The Unicode Standard suggests that it is not
>    appropriate for encoding all mathematical notations.  
> Then why did they bother at all :=)  I think they changed their mind
> at some point but then couldn't undo what was already there...

Quite right to, IMHO.

> (2) It is very spotty, picking some blackboard bold characters and not
> others e.g.

I looked at that set and, as mathematcian it was quite clear why only
those BB characters are included.

As a documemt processsor, I think that all such "alphabetic glyphs"
should be handled via font-changes, not by defining new characters.
Otherwise, you also need to put in all the blackletter glyphs (there
are about 2 of these alrady there) all the bold glyphs, all the
sans-serif glyphs etc etc.

>    Note: this is probably not the correct forum for discussing uses and
>    deficiencies of Unicode or math notation but it does contain several
>    people with an interest in these subjects.

Trues, but how can we maintain their interest:-)?

> (3) I know that UNICODE is not a glyph standard.  Nevertheless it would
> be extremely beneficial to future developments of mathematical typsetting
> software if it could be used for all basic symbols.

What does this benefit come from?  Is it the association of every math
symbol with a number?  Or the standardisation of the name?

> Yes I know you can't expect to do a `math extension' font that way,
> but certainly, italic, symbols, arrows, blackboard bold, what is in
> MSAM and MSBM etc.

But if you need to use Unicode as a standard for glyphs, then you
should put in the math-extension charcaters too.

One big problem with discussing this is that Unicode contains such a
lot of rubbish, eg box-drawing glyphs, so it is always possible to
argue for putting more in.

So we should, perhaps, first look at how math should be coded for
exchange, storage, searching etc (all of whch are the concern of
Unicode) before trying to make Unicode into a pseudo-glyph-registry.