Re: RE: Terminal Graphics Proposal

From: Rick McGowan (
Date: Fri Oct 16 1998 - 17:23:30 EDT

Ahem. I think, Frank, that what Lisa is asking has to do with the
usefulness of characters, and perhaps your reponse could, in some circles, be
equivalent to nailing closed the coffin on some of these things. You say:

        ...Real terminals show these glyphs...

        ...The usefulness of these glyphs is not limited to terminal emulators...

One might argue that the control pix that already exist in Unicode were a
mistake, or were added solely for compatibility with something else (like
XCCS). In fact, as far as actually making and using terminal emulators goes,
I don't know of *anything* that is *impossible* for you to do merely because
these extended control pictures don't exist in Unicode. The fact that "real
terminals show the glyphs" merely means that there are such glyphs used in
the world by terminals -- but since, as you've pointed out, they're typically
used in "show control chars" mode, there isn't really any need to show the
control chars and perform the control functions simultaneously. Or is there?
 Is that a good reason for having them? Do ontrol codes they need to be
simultaneously shown and acted upon by a terminal? (Well, even if they did,
that doesn't necessarily mean that they need to be encoded as functions and
pictures both.)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that it would be worh examining these and
similar questions in depth. They will surely be asked by UTC and WG2. One
question that Lisa posted which wasn't answered is: "How is this a big
advantage?" It would be worth examining the mapping question and answering
the question -- of course, hopefully in a way which supports your thesis that
they should be encoded. Also, as you point out, the textual discourse
*about* control characters is something that should be considered -- but a
counter argument would be that one need not use pre-formed glyphs for writing
about the control characters.

> Control pictures are only one part of the proposal. The most important
> part (to me) are the extensible math characters and additional
> line/box/block drawing characters used by a wide variety of real
> terminals, but that are not in Unicode.

The above is true. To my mind, whether or not control pix are included, the
rest of these characters used by terminals have not here-to-fore received
this much scrutiny. So it's a very good thing for you to pursuse this aspect
of the proposal.


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