"Unicode of Death"

Andrew Cunningham lang.support at gmail.com
Fri May 29 18:20:08 CDT 2015

Geez Philippe,

It was tounge in cheek.


On Saturday, 30 May 2015, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> 2015-05-28 23:36 GMT+02:00 Andrew Cunningham <lang.support at gmail.com>:
>> Not the first time unicode crashes things. There was the google chrome
bug on osx that crashed the tab for any syriac text.
> "Unicode crashes things"? Unicode has nothing to do in those crashes
caused by bugs in applications that make incorrect assumptions (in fact not
even related to characters themselves but to the supposed behavior of the
layout engine. Programmers and designers for example VERY frequently forget
the constraints for RTL languages and make incorrect assumptions about left
and right sides when sizing objects, or they don't expect that the cursor
will advance backward and forget that some measurements can be negative: if
they use this negative value to compute the size of a bitmap redering
surface, they'll get out of memory, unchecked null pointers returned, then
they will crash assuming the buffer was effectively allocated.
> These are the same kind of bugs as with the too common buffer overruns
with unchecked assumtions: the code is kept because "it works as is" in
their limited immediate tests.
> Producing full coverage tests is a difficult and lengthy task, that
programmers not always have the time to do, when they are urged to produce
a workable solution for some clients and then given no time to improve the
code before the same code is distributed to a wider range of clients.
> Commercial staffs do that frequently, they can't even read the technical
limitations even when they are documented by programmers... in addition the
commercial staff like selling softwares that will cause customers to ask
for support... that will be billed ! After that, programmers are
overwhelmed by bug reports and support requests, and have even less time to
design other thigs that they are working on and still have to produce. QA
tools may help programmers in this case by providing statistics about the
effective costs of producing new software with better quality, and the cost
of supporting it when it contains too many bugs: commercial teams like
those statistics because they can convert them to costs, commercial
margins, and billing rates. (When such QA tools are not used, programmers
will rapidly leave the place, they are fed up by the growing pressure to do
always more in the same time, with also a growing number of "urgent"
support requests.).
> Those that say "Unicode crashes things" do the same thing: they make
broad unchecked assumptions about how things are really made or how things
are actually working.

Andrew Cunningham
Project Manager, Research and Development
(Social and Digital Inclusion)
Public Libraries and Community Engagement
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Ph: +61-3-8664-7430
Mobile: 0459 806 589
Email: acunningham at slv.vic.gov.au
          lang.support at gmail.com

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