On Fri, 2 Aug 2002, Dan Sugalski wrote:

> Given that the people who've made these decisions have made them
> about their native language (a language that is neither your nor my
> native language) perhaps it's a bit presumptuous to decide that what
> they've done is wrong and some other way is better.

I don't think it's so presumptious.

First, I do know some Japanese and Chinese, including kanji, so this
stuff isn't a complete mystery to me. Second, through experience
building I18N web sites and suchlike, I'd say I have a better
understanding of I18N issues than many Japanese programmers do.
Certainly Japanese systems builders more often than not do not generally
take into account I18N issues. (And for many of them, why should they?
They're not interested in anything outside of Japan, so it's not worth
spending time, effort and money on it.)

Also, note that the Unicode-haters in Japan, while noisy amongst
programmers, are far from representative of the users. Most Japanese
could care less if you even have  (bara--rose) available in
kanji, much less anything in the Unicode surrogate area.

For those that really do need support for all the kanji, rather than all
the generally generally used in modern life, there are solutions that
are much better than Unicode will ever be, and they should use those.
Those solutions are also much higher in overhead (for both programming
and machine resources), though, and that burden shouldn't be put on all
software.

An analogy might be text files versus DTP. ASCII doesn't have things
like font sizes, kerning information, and so on, so it alone isn't
useful for DTP. For that you use another, customized software system
that adds the capabilities you need. But this is a good thing, it means
that all those systems out there that don't care about font, size,
kerning, etc. (such as your local database server) don't deal with the
overhead of it.

> If the tool can't deal with the language, it means the tool is
> broken, not the language.

No tool can deal with everything in the language. ASCII, or even
ISO-8859-1, certainly doesn't deal with a huge number of issues in
English. Yet ASCII does a good job for a lot of everyday needs,
and doesn't cost too much, so it serves us well. (Certainly seems
to be working ok in this e-mail message, anyway!)

cjs
-- 
Curt Sampson  <cjs / cynic.net>   +81 90 7737 2974   http://www.netbsd.org
    Don't you know, in this new Dark Age, we're all light.  --XTC