PRI #299

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Jul 6 10:18:59 CDT 2015

Leo Broukhis <leob at mailcom dot com> wrote:

> Most platforms display unknown printable characters as white
> rectangles with hex digits in them.
> In Doug's message, I saw a rectangle with 01F in the upper row, and
> 3F3 in the lower row.

This is a handy feature, at least for character geeks like us, but "most
platforms" might be a bit misleading here. There is a rather commonly
used platform that starts with the letter W which does not do this.

> Moreover, on any platform when users see unknown characters, they
> search for a font, install it and are able to see in cleartext at
> least something they can make sense of. For a RIS or any other
> non-default-ignorable character on a non-vexillology-aware platform, a
> font with stylized letters would be sufficient to read the intent of
> the writer, and, as a free extra, to tell apart Liechtenstein and
> Haiti without squinting.

I think a useful bit of feedback on PRI #299 would be to inquire whether
it is, in fact, a design goal to handle this use case of transparency of
the individual letters on platforms, rendering engines, and/or fonts
that don't support flag-tag composition. (Please, not
"non-vexillology-aware." None of these platforms studies or analyzes
flags. They assemble multiple characters into a single image.)

If transparency on flag-tag-unaware platforms is not a design goal, it
might be difficult to make the case that default-ignorable tag
characters are a poor choice because they don't support transparency.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO ����

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