[lg policy] Nice overview of Unicode

Don Osborn dzo at bisharat.net
Mon Mar 13 11:57:06 EDT 2017

Unicode is what makes use of text in diverse scripts so seamless (usually)
on computers and across the internet. A technical but accessible overview
with visualizations and zoom-in to aspects of use of the standard is
available at http://reedbeta.com/blog/programmers-intro-to-unicode/ 


Unicode changed the "either-or" dilemmas of earlier alternative standards
based on 256 characters (notably ISO/IEC 8859 series, but also a range of
other standards and numerous "hacked" fonts substituting characters per
need) to a "both-and" environment for digitized text based on a standard
(Unicode & ISO/IEC 10646) that in principle accommodates all writing
systems. From a policy and planning perspective(s), this seems to me to have
had enormous implications for language use in the new technologies. Using
one writing system does not come at the expense of ability to use another,
hence no conflict on that technical level at least.


One wonders if Unicode hadn't yet been invented, whether it would be
possible to introduce today, given the increasingly hyper-nationalist
environment of some of the technically most advanced countries.


Don Osborn




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