Re: And now for something completely different... etch!
"Thaddeus H. Black" writes:
> We are going to support Unicode because we have
> no practical alternative. However, Unicode is a bad
> standard. It is highly overwrought. Its philosophy is
> wrong. Its use complicates many things which do not
> need complication.
Lots of accusations but no backup.
> Insofar as it contaminates clean
> ascii in Debian source code and English-language
> documentation, it is not a good thing.
It doesn't change anything in source code; source code is still
ASCII. As for documentation, it's no different from any other
English language document. ASCII does not suffice for good
English, which has angled quotes and different lengths of dashes,
which was recognized by TeX, for a old school computer example.
> However, past character-set discussions on debian-devel
> have also established how maddening it is to see a '-'
> in a man page, unsearchable because it is not really a
The simple fact is, there is a variety of dashes used in proper
English printing, and any universal character set is going to
have to deal with that. You can turn off this feature in man with
a one line change in a config file, and Debian could make it the
default; or programs that let you search text could merge
the various dashes at the same time they're merging cases.
> Unicode vastly complicates or altogether breaks rational
> assumptions about how a simple printf() will display on
> the terminal.
Assuming that bytes and columns are equivalent is irrational.
It is impossible to satisfy, given that there are thousands of
characters that historically have fit in one column or logically
> If I lose the easy ability to make a
> column of ':' line neatly up in column 25 of the
It's called wcwidth.
> while gaining the ability to display Nepalese
> subjoined circumflexes and the International Phonetic
> Alphabet bidirectionally, this is probably not a win for
One system that supports everyone is a win for Debian
and the rest of the world.