A last missing link for interoperable representation

David Starner via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Sun Jan 13 22:31:35 CST 2019

On Sat, Jan 12, 2019 at 8:26 PM James Kass via Unicode
<unicode at unicode.org> wrote:
> It's subjective, really.  It depends on how one views plain-text and
> one's expectations for its future.  Should plain-text be progressive,
> regressive, or stagnant?  Because those are really the only choices.
> And opinions differ.
> Most of us involved with Unicode probably expect plain-text to be around
> for quite a while.  The figure bandied about in the past on this list is
> "a thousand years".  Only a society of mindless drones would cling to
> the past for a millennium.  So, many of us probably figure that
> strictures laid down now will be overridden as a matter of course, over
> time.

And yet you write this in the Latin script that's been around for a
couple millennia. Arabic, Han ideographs, Cyrillic and Devanagari have
all been around a millennia.

Looking back at the history of computing, a large chunk of the
underlying technology has hit stability. ARM chips, x86 chips, Unix,
and Windows have all been around since 1985 or before, roughly 35
years ago and 35 years since the first programmed computer. They
aren't wildly changing. Unicode is moving towards that position; it
does a job and doesn't need disrupt changes to continue to be

> Unicode will probably be around for awhile, but the barrier between
> plain- and rich-text has already morphed significantly in the relatively
> short period of time it's been around.

Fixed pictures have been parts of character sets for decades and were
part of Unicode 1.1. U+2704, WHITE SCISSORS, for example. And emoji
aren't disruptive in the way that moving something that's been a part
of the rich-text layer forever into the plain-text layer.

> I became attracted to Unicode about twenty years ago.  Because Unicode
> opened up entire /realms/ of new vistas relating to what could be done
> with computer plain text.  I hope this trend continues.

The right tool for the job. If you need rich text, you should use rich
text. Emoji had to make the case that they were being used as
characters and there were no competing tools to handle them.

Kie ekzistas vivo, ekzistas espero.

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