Re: Terminal Emulation

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Fri Oct 30 1998 - 10:45:33 EST

Frank da Cruz wrote:
> I think we now can agree that terminal emulation is not dead and
> will not die any time soon. Therefore my hope is that there can
> be a standard encoding to follow, and regular off-the-shelf fonts
> can be used -- both for the emulators themselves, and for
> applications that will interoperate with the emulators via
> copy-paste or any other means.

and Michael Everson responded:

> OK, but the UCS will be used for a long long long long time.
> Probably longer than terminal emulation.

Michael, I have never understood this particular justification for
excluding Frank's terminal graphics characters. Compatibility with
existing standards and practices (some of which may be anachronistic)
has always been a priority for the designers of Unicode.

Think of the large numbers of precomposed characters that are
technically unnecessary in Unicode because of the ability of a GUI
to use combining characters. Or all the other box-drawing characters
and upper-half/lower-half math symbols that a GUI could render
without special glyphs. They are there because character-mode
systems are still out there, and *nobody knows* how long they will
last, so they deserve to be supported by Unicode as well.

Unicode is only a few years old, and already it is in version 2.1.5
(with promises of a version 3.0 around the corner). Changes have
been made to the standard, and they will continue to be made in the
future. There's no need to dismiss the terminal graphics proposal
on the basis that at some point in the unknown future, the characters
MAY no longer be necessary. If that is really true, and can be
proven, then the Consortium can look into removing them. I know
that removing characters from the standard is a deprecated practice,
but to me that just proves that one of the basic premises of Unicode
is, as it should be, to include characters of debatable usefulness
rather than excluding them.

Excluding the hex-byte characters (which almost nobody seems to like),
we're only talking about 256 characters, aren't we? I guess I don't
understand why the opposition is so vigorous.


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