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In trying to formulate an international standard for Common Lisp, we
clearly need to deal with this issues of extended character sets. I'm
assuming that 16 bits of character code is enough to meet everyone's
needs -- is that naive? How many thousand characters are necessary for
Japanese, and are these the same as the thousands needed for Chinese?
Are there other languages in the computer-using world that have
non-phonetic alphabets with thousands of characters?
I was given a demo at BITSTREAM [in Cambridge]
by Phil Appley [spelling?] on their 3600 last week.
Their business is characters and fonts.
Their "character set" is about 5K characters.
Presumably most of their fonts don't even represent most of those characters,
but all of the chars are represented by some font or other that they're working on.
I don't know if they work on asian languages, but I suggest that they get
to at least review Common Lisp character standards if a change is comming.
They could probably make some insightful comments about character representation.
I can't find a net address for Phil, though he use to be at MIT.
Symbolics must have formal contact with BITSTREAM.
RLB at scrc has done a buncn of work with fonts so lets ask him too.
Since people are thinking about fat characters, here's some
news from Macintosh.
The Mac allows users to change characters in editors via menu,
displaying WYSIWYG instantly. The INDEPENDENT attributes of
a character are :
shadow [a 3d effect]
Thus any character can have any number of these.
To this set I'd like to add 2 other attributes which are very
useful in "editing" text in the newspaper sense:
strike-out (each char has a horizontal line through its middle.
A whole word made up of strike-out style chars is typically still
readable, but looks crossed out. I think the idea came from PARC).
[wouldn't you love to be able to STRIKE-OUT bad code, yet leave it visable
as a negative example?]
Note that the last 6 of these require just 1 bit each.
Color is yet another issue. And grey-scaled [dejagged] fonts
might bring up some other issues, particularly with regards to
displaying on machines with different numbers of bits per pixel.
I'm not suggesting that CL standardize on all of this.
I am suggesting that the CL standard makes it not too painful
for inovators to integrate such fancy stuff in their system
which has CL as a base.