Powerline symbols?

Kent Karlsson kent.b.karlsson at bahnhof.se
Tue Oct 12 16:04:32 CDT 2021

I found https://www.unicode.org/L2/L2019/19343-script-adhoc-recs.pdf, discussing the proposal in L2/19-068R2.

There are some recommendations there to update the proposal. But apparently that has not been done since, IIUC.

As to some of the comments and recommendations in 19343-script-adhoc-recs.pdf:

”Some Script Ad Hoc members felt these are entities used in a closed system, inappropriate for interchange as characters, and could be handled as PUA characters”

I would not consider (just about) every terminal emulator used in the world as a ”closed system”. I could agree that the Powerline symbols are a bit of a hack. But it is a very neat hack for the purpose. But ”(only) used in a closed system”, no that is definitely not the case.

Several of the symbols are useful (though many are fanciful, looking outside of the proposal itself), but I disagree with the selection noted in the Ad Hoc committee document:

U+1FBCB VERSION CONTROL BRANCH SYMBOL     OK! Great for those of us that use version control systems. Not sure one needs to include ”version control” in the name of the character. OCR FORK could work as a replacement, but nah...
U+1FBCC COLUMN NUMBER INDICATOR      Not great, too English oriented (and ugly…). I’d recommend a right-ish arrow instead.
U+1FBCD LINE NUMBER INDICATOR             Not great, too English oriented (and ugly…). I’d recommend a down-ish arrow instead.

The triangles and line triangles are better; useful, and not English oriented. But, granted, mostly, though not entirely (separators/terminators), decorative. But as noted in the proposal, there are already encoded variants of these.

But there is no need to duplicate the lock symbol, as noted in the Script Ad Hoc notes.

/Kent K

> 12 okt. 2021 kl. 01:16 skrev Rebecca Bettencourt via Unicode <unicode at corp.unicode.org>:
> As you (Mark) discovered, the name originates from the piece of software which first used these characters, called Powerline. It's a plugin for vim, tmux, bash, i3, and several other environments that adds a fancy status line to the terminal.
> The characters have been proposed before, in document L2/19-068R2. The SAH recommended encoding three of them (the branch symbol and the row and column number symbols) but the UTC took no action. I vaguely recall a recommendation (from the SAH?) for the author, Renzhi Li, to contact the "Terminals Working Group" (Doug Ewell, me, and a few other individuals) to work out integrating them into a "round 2" Symbols for Legacy Computing proposal. We were never contacted by the author but we integrated them into a "round 2" proposal anyway, with the suggestion to use the same code points as were recommended by the SAH.
> That "round 2" proposal was brought to the UTC but for some reason was never added to the document register. We had an hour-long meeting in which the UTC reviewed it and had several concerns that were not resolved within that hour. The proposal has not progressed further since then.
> -- Rebecca Bettencourt

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