Feedback on the proposal to change U+FFFD generation when decoding ill-formed UTF-8

Karl Williamson via Unicode unicode at
Fri May 26 16:15:55 CDT 2017

On 05/26/2017 12:22 PM, Ken Whistler wrote:
> On 5/26/2017 10:28 AM, Karl Williamson via Unicode wrote:
>> The link provided about the PRI doesn't lead to the comments.
> PRI #121 (August, 2008) pre-dated the practice of keeping all the 
> feedback comments together with the PRI itself in a numbered directory 
> with the name "feedback.html". But the comments were collected together 
> at the time and are accessible here:
> Also there was a separately submitted comment document:
> And the minutes of the pertinent UTC meeting (UTC #116):
> The minutes simply capture the consensus to adopt Option #2 from PRI 
> #121, and the relevant action items.
> I now return the floor to the distinguished disputants to continue 
> litigating history. ;-)
> --Ken

The reason this discussion got started was that in December, someone 
came to me and said the code I support does not follow Unicode best 
practices, and suggested I need to change, though no ticket (yet) has 
been filed.  I was surprised, and posted a query to this list about what 
the advantages of the new approach are.  There were a number of replies, 
but I did not see anything that seemed definitive.  After a month, I 
created a ticket in Unicode and Markus was assigned to research it, and 
came up with the proposal currently being debated.

Looking at the PRI, it seems to me that treating an overlong as a single 
maximal unit is in the spirit of the wording, if not the fine print. 
That seems to be borne out by Markus, even with his stake in ICU, 
supporting option #2.

Looking at the comments, I don't see any discussion of the effect of 
this on overlong treatments.  My guess is that the effect change was 

So I have code that handled overlongs in the only correct way possible 
when they were acceptable, and in the obvious way after they became 
illegal, and now without apparent discussion (which is very much akin to 
"flimsy reasons"), it suddenly was no longer "best practice".  And that 
change came "rather late in the game".  That this escaped notice for 
years indicates that the specifics of REPLACEMENT CHAR handling don't 
matter all that much.

To cut to the chase, I think Unicode should issue a Corrigendum to the 
effect that it was never the intent of this change to say that treating 
overlongs as a single unit isn't best practice.  I'm not sure this 
warrants a full-fledge Corrigendum, though.  But I believe the text of 
the best practices should indicate that treating overlongs as a single 
unit is just as acceptable as Martin's interpretation.

I believe this is pretty much in line with Shawn's position.  Certainly, 
a discussion of the reasons one might choose one interpretation over 
another should be included in TUS.  That would likely have satisfied my 
original query, which hence would never have been posted.

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