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Re: Unicode and math symbols

On Fri, 28 Feb 1997, Berthold K.P. Horn wrote:

> Chris wrote:
>    Berthold wrote --
>    >    > (1) Which is why we have the `alphabetic presentation forms' 
>    >    > ff, ffi, ffl, fi, fl, slongt, st etc. in UNICODE.
>    > 
>    >    They are in the compatibility section. 
>    > 
>    > Well, they were put in *somewhere* because they are needed,
>    No, they were put in for compatibility and there use is not advised.
> But nobody is heeding that avise!  Applications in Windows NT *are*
> using them.  And I would not be suprised if they were put in after
> arm twisting from the `Seattle Satans' as Sebastain refers to them.

No, no. fi and fl are in Mac fonts, too. Some are definitely due
to MS, but it's not fair to blame MS for all of them.

>    But the point of Unicode is to remove such cultural dominance of modern
>    European languages on IT.
> And it fails in that.  It *does* succeed in assiging unique codes to
> characters from many languages.  But it fails in dealing with the
> different writing systems which have all sorts of features not found
> in Western languages.  Look for example at the rapidly growing
> `alphabetic presentation forms' put in to try and cope with a bit of this.

I guess you mean extended Greek and Latin, with lots of diacritic
combinations? The main reason they are in is that some ISO people
thought that dealing with combining characters would be too difficult
for some systems, and so they invented "Levels". Because the Greeks
and the Vietnamese and a few others didn't want to end up in level 3,
they lobbied to have their combinations in.

This creates a vicious cycle: The more is in, the less it pays off
to work on level 3, and the more pressure you have to put some
precombined stuff in. In addition, there is the political prestige
of having your language's precombinations in, following from the
fact that all the rich and influential countries have theirs in, too.

> Aside from that we don't want a hundred different versions of UNICODE++
> (like the mess we have with \special).  I have put dotlessj at FB0F,
> but who knows where you will put it?

Guess you have never heard about the private zone? That's where
such things go if you want to create the least amount of problems
you can.

Regards,	Martin.