RE: Preparing a proposal for encoding a portable interpretable object code into Unicode (from Re: IUC 34 - call for participation open until May 26)

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Wed Jun 02 2010 - 11:33:55 CDT

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    This is a bad idea.

    The best way to make it go away is to just stop discussing it.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On Behalf Of William_J_G Overington
    Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 2:51 AM
    To: Unicode Discussion; John H. Jenkins
    Subject: Re: Preparing a proposal for encoding a portable interpretable object code into Unicode (from Re: IUC 34 - call for participation open until May 26)

    Thank you for replying.
    On Tuesday 1 June 2010, John H. Jenkins <> wrote:
    > First of all, as Michael says, this
    > isn't character encoding.
    Well, it is a collection of portable interpretable object code items encoded within a character encoding as if the items were characters.
    > You're not interchanging plain text.
    True, but the items are interchanged as if they were plain text items within the structure of the way that plain text is interchanged.
    > This is essentially machine language
    > you're writing here, and there are entirely different venues for
    > developing this kind of thing.
    Well, it is an object code for a virtual machine rather than a machine code for a virtual machine as external name links can be included. Also, it has high level language style constructs of while loops and repeat loops rather than the jump to an address instructions of a typical machine code. Also, it is relocatable in relation to the underlying memory structure of the host computer: some machine codes can be relocatable as well, so I am not claiming relocatablity as a distinguishing feature from machine code, I am just mentioning the relocatability feature of the portable interpretable object code.
    > Secondly, I have virtually no idea what problem this is attempting to
    > solve unless it's attempting to embed a text rendering engine within
    > plain text.  If so, it's both entirely superfluous (there are already
    > projects to provide for cross-platform support for text rendering) and
    > woefully inadequate and underspecified.  Even if this were sufficient
    > to be able to draw a currently unencoded script, the fact of the
    > matter is that it doesn't allow for doing anything with the script
    > other than drawing.
    > (Spell-checking?  Sorting?  Text-to-speech?)
    The portable interpretable object code is intended to be a system to use to program software packages to solve problems of software globalization, particularly in relation to systems that use software to process text.
    > Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 are attempts to solve a basic,
    > simply-described problem:  provide for a standardized computer
    > representation of plain text written using existing writing systems.
    Well, that might well be the case historically, yet then the emoji were invented and they were encoded. The emoji existed at the time that they were encoded, yet they did not exist at the time that the standards were started. So, if the idea of the portable interpretable object code gathers support, then maybe the defined scope of the standards will become extended.
    > That's it.  Any attempt to use
    > the two to do something different is not going to fly.
    Well, I appreciate that the use of the phrase "not going to fly" is a metaphor and I could use a creative writing metaphor of it soaring on thermals above olive groves, yet to what exactly are you using the metaphor "not going to fly" to refer please?
    I know of no reason to think that a person "skilled in the art" would be unable to write an iPad app to receive a program written in the portable interpretable object code arriving within a Unicode text message and then for the program to run in a virtual machine within the app, displaying a graphical result on the screen of the iPad. Could such an app be written based on the information in the paper_draft_005.pdf document?
    The Unicode Technical Committee considers proposals. If a proposal for encoding a portable interpretable object code becomes placed before them, then the Unicode Technical Committee will be able to assess the proposal in accordance with their rules as those rules stand at the time.
    > Creating new writing systems, directly embedding language, directly
    > embedding mathematics or machine language--all of these are entirely
    > outside of Unicode's purview and WG2's remit.  They simply will not be
    > adopted.
    Well, the emoji is a new writing system and that is being encoded. The encoding of the emoji has made me realize that the encoding of the portable interpretable object code is not an impossibility.
    > Your enthusiasm may be commendable, but you're spending your energy
    > developing something which is not appropriate for inclusion within
    > Unicode.
    Thank you for your first remark, yet whether the portable interpretable object code is or is not appropriate for inclusion within Unicode is a matter that is not decided at this time.
    There was a time when emoticons were not regarded as appropriate for inclusion in Unicode, yet they are now being encoded. That is an important precedent that what is appropriate depends upon the circumstances at the time, not on what was the policy previously.
    Plane 12 is empty at present and I am unaware of any other plans for its use. Rather than a phrase such as "not appropriate" being used I feel that the approach could be that there is plane 12, someone is suggesting using it for a futuristic idea, so let us have a look at the idea, let us study the idea and try to improve it so as to get the best possible result and then, as long as it is possible to demonstrate that implementing the idea will do no harm, let us implement it.
    William Overington
    2 June 2010

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