Standaridized variation sequences for the Desert alphabet?

Julian Bradfield jcb+unicode at
Mon Mar 27 04:14:17 CDT 2017

While I hesitate to dive in to this argument, Martin makes one comment
where I think a point of principle arises:

On 2017-03-27, =?UTF-8?Q?Martin_J._D=c3=bcrst?= <duerst at> wrote:
[Michael wrote]
>> You know, Martin, I *have* been doing this for the last two decades. I’m well aware of what a font is and can do.
> Great. So you know that present-day font technology would allow us to 
> handle the different shapes in at least any of the following ways:
> 1) Separate characters for separate shapes, both shapes in same font
> 2) Variant selectors, one or both shapes in same font
> 3) Font features (e.g. 1855 vs. 1859) to select shapes in the same font
> 4) Font selection, different fonts for different shapes
> Does that knowledge in any way suggest one particular solution?

As I've observed before, the intention is that we are stuck with
Unicode for as long as our civilization endures, be that 5000 years or
50 years.

I contend, therefore, that no decision about Unicode should take into
account any ephemeral considerations such as this year's electronic
font technology, and that therefore it's not even useful to mention

All you should need to say is "these letters are too insignificant to
merit encoding, and those who believe they need to be able to
distinguish them in plain text will just have to use other means, such
as ZWJ with the components of the ligature".

(I'm not saying that's my view, by the way - I'm more of a splitter
than a lumper, and on the basis of this thread, I'm probably on the
"encode" side.)

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