Report on WG15 Rapporteur Group

Marius Olafsson marius at
Sat Mar 17 08:44:27 AEST 1990

From: marius at (Marius Olafsson)

randall at (Randall Atkinson) writes:

>                I'm fairly certain that it just isn't worth
>it to try to make ISO 646 the basis of *anything* for the
>practical reason that it wasn't well thought out to begin with
>and has already been superceded by the ISO 8859/* family of
>8-bit character sets.

I agree. The ISO 8859 series of charactersets have the (in my opinion
neccessary) quality that the *complete* set of ASCII characters can be 
represented. If ISO 646 will be taken into consideration must we then
allow alternate syntax in the varius shells and utilites that make 
use of the characters {}[]@\| and ` - I think that is a can of worms
best left unopened.

>The latter fully support European linguistic needs (yes, including
>Danish and Icelandic and ...) and can be used quite nicely with
>most UNIX shells that I'm familiar with.

And it seems that most major manufacturers already have (or have announced)
support for ISO 8859 - at least HP-UX, Ultrix, AIX, SunOS and
more I am sure. The X window system now supports ISO 8859 fonts, the
latest Adobe rel of Postscripts support ISO 8859 encoding of the fonts,
and the list goes on ... NONE provide any support for or consideration
for ISO 646 (fortunately).

>                        I fear that excessive attention will be
>devoted to ISO 646 when there are other areas of internationalisation
>that really deserve being thought about and solved cleanly.

Definately, and serious consideration should be given to the way X/Open
has defined some of these other areas. That system actually works pretty
well in practice.  It has been used here for about two years (on HP-UX).

Marius Olafsson 		internet: marius at
University of Iceland		UUCP:     {mcsun,sunic,uunet}!isgate!rhi!marius

Volume-Number: Volume 18, Number 77

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