Accessing the WG2 document register

Andrew West andrewcwest at
Thu Jun 11 03:49:51 CDT 2015

On 11 June 2015 at 07:05, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at> wrote:
> Personally I think that Unicode does a much better job to open its standard
> to many more people by offering differnet levels of participations and
> opening a large area open to every individual without paying considerable
> fees. I consider that the only standard that defines the UCS is TUS, not
> ISO/IEC 10646 (that is just a piece of junk, badly administered, and
> inaccessible to most people).

You do realise that by insulting ISO/IEC 10646 you are also insulting
a number of prominent members of the UTC and officers of the Unicode
Consortium who actively participate in the production and editing of
ISO/IEC 10646?

The latest version of ISO/IEC 10646 is not inaccessible to most
people, as it is (and has been since 2006) available for free download
from ISO at <>.

Whilst I agree that the standard itself is irrelevent to the vast
majority of users, who can get by quite happily just knowing about the
Unicode Standard, I believe that the great importance of ISO/IEC 10646
lies in the process that goes to produce it, not in the resultant
standard.  The Unicode Consortium is largely controlled by a few large
American corporations, but ISO is open to participation by standards
organizations representing countries across the globe, and there are
currently thirty participating members of SC2, the committee which is
responsible for ISO/IEC 10646
The ISO ballot process allows stakeholders in scripts from these
countries to participate in the encoding process, and make the views
of their experts heard.  The ballot process also applies important
checks on the encoding process, and prevents scripts and characters
being encoded with undue haste if an encoding proposal is not yet
mature enough or if there is insufficient consensus among
stakeholders.  Not least, the ballot process allows for multiple
stages of review and correction of errors.

If Unicode were to go it alone, professional encoders such as Anshu
and Michael, who do not have an inherent stake in most of the scripts
they work on, would present their proposals to the UTC, who do not
have any expertise in such minority or historic scripts, but on the
basis that the proposal seems plausible they would approve it, and six
months later it would be in the next version of Unicode.  Yes, this
speeds up the encoding process enormously (which is usually at least
two years), but at what cost?  What happens when a couple of years
later, users of the script in question in Africa or Asia discover that
it has been encoded in Unicode but has a serious flaw or shortcoming
that no-one from the user community had an opportunity to correct (and
due to stability policies it is now too late to correct)?

So whilst ISO/IEC 10646 is certainly irrelevent to most people, I
strongly believe that the process whereby the standard is produced is
extremely beneficial to the Unicode Standard, and I would urge Anshu
and others to support the work of SC2 and WG2 rather than dismiss it
as a hindrance or irrelevance.


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