RE: DEC multilingual code page, ISO 8859-1, etc.

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 11:30:50 EST

Chris Pratley wrote:

> It's an interesting conundrum. Do we support Unicode formats but still
> produce non-Unicode by default, or the reverse?
Yes, this is the conundrum we all face. In a more controlled environment,
there actually could be a cold cutover, as there was, for example, when
the ARPAnet switched from NCP to TCP/IP.

The question in the current discussion, however, is what the non-Unicode
formats should be. Should they be standard or proprietary character sets?

There is, of course, no point in quibbling about the past. What's done is
done. Microsoft is obviously not alone in promoting its own interests by
putting private encodings on the wire in a public, open network. It just
happens to be the most prominent and successful example at the moment --
"embrace and extend"?

The question is whether new applications should continue to do this. In
my opinion, if an application needs to use characters that are not in any
standard 8-bit character set, then that is the time to introduce Unicode.
It is NOT the time to pump still more private code-page data into the
public network.

A standard character set is one that is in the ISO Register -- the IANA
registry doesn't count. (I realize that Unicoders have problems with the
ISO Register, but it's all there is.)

- Frank

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