Re: Terminal Graphics Proposal

From: Rick McGowan (
Date: Thu Oct 01 1998 - 12:29:32 EDT

Frank da Cruz sent a long proposal. It looks like a pretty thorough
analysis, though I've not made it all the way through. One thing leapt out
that I thought I'd mention...

> Unicode already has a block of Control Pictures at U+2400 through U+2421,
> but (except for "NL" at U+2424) these go horizontally across the character
> cell, rather than diagonally, thus making them difficult to distinguish
> from normal alphanumeric text. A new, parallel block of C0 control
> pictures is needed in which the abbreviations are displayed diagonally

I think rather that the current control pictures are a SUGGESTION of the
possible glyphs for particular functions. The glyphs for them even changed
between Unicode 1.0 and 2.0! So I would have to seriously question adding a
parallel set of pictures. Unless there is some need for having multiple,
parallel representations for THE SAME CODE on the SAME TERMINAL, I don't see
any point to adding several glyphic variations. Pick your glyphs and use the
existing control pix for existing controls.

Of course, there are a *lot* of controls, many control sets, and some degree
of overlap, as Frank's proposal points out rather dramatically. I would
suggest that he take up an attempt at serious unification of these things,
and collect all of the wonderful data he's gathered into a "white paper" on
how to use control pictures for what terminals, etc. With mapping tables,
and a list of the minimum required additions to support full cross-mappings.

This proposal contains a lot of data. It would be best to do as much
unification work as possible up-front, rather than relying on UTC and/or WG2
to take it up. The proposal would stand a greater chance of success. If the
committees look at it and say that it needs much work to clarify what can
and cannot be unified, then they're less likely to act quickly. In my

And the bibliography is impressive.


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