Re: ISO/IEC 10646 as Document Character Set

Glenn Adams (
Fri, 5 May 95 11:17:48 EDT

Date: Fri, 5 May 95 09:47:31 EDT
From: Terry Allen <>

I'd be happy to make the change to 10646 in the very next revision; I
just want to keep our rationale for 2.0 straight.

If 2.1 comes along quickly then I have no objection to leaving the 10646
decision for that version (provided we put a note in the current 2.0 text
to let folks know our intentions to make this change).

My only concern is a practical one relating to how soon 2.1 will arrive.
It has taken quite a while for 2.0 to get to the point of being published.
It has been my experience, in my work with SC2/WG2, SC18/WG8, and the Unicode
Consortium that it is more difficult to go from a first published version of
a standard to its first update than people realize. In 1990 when we were
close to publilshing Unicode 1.0, we had the intention of putting a 1.1 version
out within 6-12 months. Here it is at 1995 and we still haven't formally
published Unicode 1.1 as a separate text, and, in fact, have since made
the decision to publish Unicode 2.0 instead with more changes which
weren't earlier anticipated [I have to say that I'm partly to blame for
this delay, though, in retrospect, it is good that such a delay occurred].
SGML itself, published 1986, has yet to see a formal revision published.
10646, just done in 1993, will certainly not see a formal revision
until probably 2000 (my guesstimate).

Now I have a lot of trust that the Internet standards process is much
more quick. But, then again, when are SMTP and IP going to going to be
updated (and how long will it take to change the effects of their limitations).

The first published version of HTML will establish an important watershed
in the development of the Web. If "world-wide" means anything, then it
should have something more than lip-service in the first published form of
the standard.

Even though most people have essentially agreed on using 10646 as the doc
charset, many still disagree on the timing. My question to you (Terry,
Eric, Dan) is whether the change I'm suggesting will break anything if it
goes in now? If the answer is no, and I believe this to be the case, then
I'd urge you to reconsider and put it in now. I'll accept your decision.