The Unicode Standard and ISO

Marcel Schneider via Unicode unicode at
Fri Jun 8 17:24:28 CDT 2018

On Fri, 8 Jun 2018 16:54:20 -0400, Tom Gewecke via Unicode wrote:
> > On Jun 8, 2018, at 9:52 AM, Marcel Schneider via Unicode  wrote:
> > 
> > People relevant to projects for French locale do trace the borderline of applicability wider 
> > than do those people who are closerly tied to Unicode‐related projects.
> Could you give a concrete example or two of what these people mean by “wider borderline of applicability”
> that might generate their ethical dilemma?

Drawing the borderline until which ISO/IEC should be among the involved parties, as I put it, is about the Unicode policy 
as of how ISO/IEC JTC1 SC2 WG2 is involved in the process, how it appears in public (FAQs, Mailing List responding practice, 
and so on), and how people in that WG2 feel with respect to Unicode. That may be different depending on the standard concerned 
(ISO/IEC 10646, ISO/IEC 14651), so that the former is put in the first place as vital to Unicode, while the latter is almost entirely 
hidden (except in appendix B of UTS #10).

Then when it’s up to locale data, Unicode people see the borderline below, while ISO people tend to see it above. This is why 
Unicode people do not want the twin‐standards‐bodies‐principle applied to locale data, and are ignoring or declining any attempt 
to equalize situations, arguing that ISO/IEC 15897 is useless. As I’ve pointed in my previous e‐mail responding to Asmus Freytag, 
ISO/IEC 10646 was about as useless until Unicode came on it and merged itself with that UCS embryo (not to say that miscarriage 
on the way). The only thing WG2 could insist upon were names and huge bunches of precomposed or preformatted characters that 
Unicode was designed to support in plain text by other means. The essential part was Unicode’s, and without Unicode we wouldn’t 
have any usable UCS. ISO/IEC 15897 appears to be in a similar position: not very useful, not very performative, not very complete. 
But an ISO/IEC standard. Logically, Unicode should feel committed to merge with it the same way it did with the other standard, 
maintaining the data, and publishing periodical abstracts under ISO coverage. There is no problem in publishing a framework standard 
under the ISO/IEC umbrella, associated with a regular up‐to‐date snapshot of the data.

That is what I mean when I say that Unicode arbitrarily draw borderlines of their own, regardless of how people at ISO feel about them.


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