Re: There is no ANSI in Microsoft

From: Markus Kuhn (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2000 - 04:00:17 EST

Chris Pratley wrote on 2000-03-22 04:00 UTC:
> First, I want to clarify that the "native encoding" of Windows2000 is
> Unicode. What you are referring to as "native encoding" is actually the
> emulated encoding, usually called the ANSI code page of the system. In Hong
> Kong, this should be "Big5" encoding.

Seeing Microsoft employees (especially on a coded character set
specialist mailing list!!!) referring to their "code pages" as something
associated with ANSI makes me cringe on a regular basis. Big5 is not an
ANSI standard. Neither is CP1252. In fact, the only ANSI standards that
are remotely relevant to any of the Microsoft code pages are ANSI/ISO
8859 and ANSI/ISO 10646, both of which did not originate within ANSI but
within ECMA and ISO and are far more widely and appropriately referred
to as ISO standards. In this sense, Unicode is even more an "ANSI code
page" than CP1252.

In general: the word "ANSI" is completely and utterly inappropriate if
mentioned in any context whatsoever with a Microsoft character encoding.

You could do me a big favour by doing a full-text search on all
Microsoft documentation and eliminate the word ANSI from all character
set contexts. Or at least, check if you have some corporate style-guides
or glossary and eliminate "ANSI" from there and add a note that
describes "ANSI" as an inappropriate historic in-house terminology for
(ANSI/)ISO 8859-1, which is not identical to any of the Microsoft code
page used today. Thanks!

It might sound pedantic, but Microsoft's continuous abuse of the term
ANSI in the context of their encodings is already finding its way into
(bad) textbooks and other non-Microsoft products.


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
Email: mkuhn at,  WWW: <>

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