Re: OT: ISO standards who?


I did not read this by the time I was composing my earlier mail.

On Sat, 2003-12-20 at 13:40, Christopher John Fynn wrote:

> I also notice that the Government of India, Ministry of Indormation Technology
> and  the Government of Tamil Nadu Department of Information Technology are
> members of the Unicode Consortium

wow, this is very useful information for me.
Immensely helpful to highlight many points I have been trying to address
in recent times in this and other lists.

I take it that the other states of India did not bother to show interest
in Unicode consortium (please correct me if I am wrong).

>  yet for some reason India, although a member
> of ISO, doesn't participate in WG2.

I do not know about that but I know that the Tamil Nadu government came
up with two hacks to Latin-1 (don't take this as the most accurate
information for the technical aspects... the following is about
people)... TAB and TAM.
TAM I am told was not useful from its inception (apparently there was
not even ascii characters there). 
But TAB stayed on as the international Tamil community outside the
heartlands (India and Sri Lanka) developed their own Latin-1 hack, TSCII
(one of the I is for international)
These are matters that are to be expected when a langugae adopts
technology ahead of Unicode consortium's organisation.
It is a safe guess that the Tamil Nadu government agencies would have
been reluctant to risk the inital slowdown that would be needed to adopt
Unicode as the advocacy/buying power of the international Tamils is
quite a force. It is a safe guess that some well meaning government
employee went ahead and registered with Unicode consortium  but gave up
as it all would have prooved too much.

This point onwards is where free software should (have) take(n) extreme

As things go I see TSCII people had made the first move and things have
been hacked to work for TSCII as a temporary measure.
Bad *misinformed* move to neglect TAB imho.[1]
The same goes for INFITT (again one I is for International) who are have
taken the lead in contacting Unicode consortium as a private body (?).
Economic inequalities is surely a reason (apart from all governments are
useless anyway AFAIK). Although athe latest conference was held in Tamil
Nadu, probably due to a weaked government there I do not see any
positive colloborations.

I do see lots of misinformed bad journalism criticising the Tamil Nadu
government for its handling of  Unicode adoption [2] and opportunists
making the effort to write public letters in reply (probably to be
noticed which only adds more fuel to the fire).

All I can say as a concerned Tamil is free software should stay way out
of this and empower[2] the people in the Tamil heartlands (especially
true for l10n as it is they who would will it, not any siezable number
of exaptriates  holed up in another economically wealthy country) with
adopting only Unicode as almost everyone now understands why hacking
Latin-1 was a temporary [3] idea.

A good example I noticed is that a recent effort to translate the
glossary for OOo by a 'marathon' effort featuring prominent figures and
publicity in Tamil Nadu got shot down (due to many reasons I do not
fully understand) by the still largely international effort to localise
GNU/Linux. Who gets the fame for what was sadly an issue. 
But the crucial information is the glossary was in TAB.
Shame no one explained the 'translation marathon' team that it is
Unicode that even OOo wants! I found out far too late :(

I hope this is helpful for some to understand atleast some of the 

>  I don't know the reason for this but it has
> always struck me as odd especially since there are so many Indic scripts in the
> standard.

I think those who did not jump the gun too early probably do not need
any representation.
Things get done upstream at toolkit rendering levels and just
cooperating with them is good enough. All the fancy organisations to
simply help (Owen in our case, now) is not just bottlenecks, it
introduces egos and zero appreciation of free software.

Best regards,


[1] Statement to save my scalp: For anyone lurking/reading archives :) I
do not care about anything except what is good for free software.
In software matters the whole world needs freedoms (including us

[2] Unicode consortium is to be blamed for not understanding the world,
demographics and related issues. This is a good example of someone
trying to do good without enough information.

[3] This should be very useful information to another domain.
Windows 98(harware limitations), the most prevalent pirated sofware
system in the world and dominating the economically deprived areas
cannot handle Unicode well.
So people who do not have freedoms in software as a goal promote
solutions like the Latin-1 hacks in the case of Tamil to keep the user
base from adopting solutions like Gtk. Gtk on XFce, Rox and even Gnome
works well on the old hardware that these huge amounts of Windows 98
sysytems  enslave.
In the case of Tamil we did miss a golden opportunity to spread free
software. Lets not make the same mistake in the next one.

> I really do think the whole text of ISO 10646  should be made freely avaiable
> on line. I know national standards bodies partly fund themselves by selling
> hard copies of ISO Standards - but since the printed Unicode Standard is widely
> available and  the whole text is freely available on line there is virtually no
> market for hard copies of ISO/IEC 10646.  Because ISO 10646 is not available on
> line everyone refers to "Unicode".
> Best wishes
> - Chris
> --
> Christopher J. Fynn
> _______________________________________________
> gnome-i18n mailing list

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