EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.23.13

Microsoft Culture Against Another Universal Standard: Unicode

Posted in Standard at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unicode

Summary: Microsoft’s long battle against character encoding standards such as Unicode, which bridge the gap for communication between people, not just applications

HALF A decade ago we spent a lot of time here promoting open standards — the grooves for connectivity between applications, operating systems, and pertinent pieces of code. Without standards, there is little collaboration because the cost of connecting separate pieces of software is quite high.

“But to Microsoft consistency was an evil threat; it threatened its monopoly.”Assuming that collaboration is the key to rapid advancement and innovation — reusing knowledge, pooling human resources, etc. — standards are important everywhere we look, e.g. electrics, plumbing, energy, automobiles and so on. Encoding of characters is not everyone’s field of expertise; it is a low-level area of computing, akin to assembly code and little/big endian. But the principles of standards stay the same across fields and standards are almost always beneficial. I have wasted many hours of my life trying to overcome issue associated with Microsoft’s broken character encodings. It was a long time ago that people appreciated the value of consistency in some areas (not to be confused with monoculture or monopoly). But to Microsoft consistency was an evil threat; it threatened its monopoly. The Scientist published a piece called “Standards Needed” [1] not too long ago and Linux Journal praised Unicode [2], which helps bridge character encoding barriers. Thanks to Unicode, many of us out there can access and render pages in almost any language, even rare languages (and even if we cannot understand them). The Register, however, thought it would be productive to bash Unicode [3]. And watch who wrote the piece: a Windowshead. What a surprise!

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Opinion: Standards Needed
  2. Unicode

    Let’s give credit where credit’s due: Unicode is a brilliant invention that makes life easier for millions—even billions—of people on our planet. At the same time, dealing with Unicode, as well as the various encoding systems that preceded it, can be an incredibly painful and frustrating experience. I’ve been dealing with some Unicode-related frustrations of my own in recent days, so I thought this might be a good time to revisit a topic that every modern software developer, and especially every Web developer, should understand.

  3. Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

    In the beginning – well, not in the very beginning, obviously, because that would require a proper discussion of issues such as parity and error correction and Hamming distances; and the famous quarrel between the brothers ASCII, ISCII VISCII and YUSCII; and how in the 1980s if you tried to send a £ sign to a strange printer that you had not previously befriended (for example, by buying it a lovely new ribbon) your chances of success were negligible; and, and…

    But you are a busy and important person.

    So in the beginning that began in the limited world of late MS-DOS and early Windows programming, O best beloved, there were these things called “code pages”.

    To the idle anglophone Windows programmer (ie: me) code pages were something horrible and fussy that one hoped to get away with ignoring. I was dimly aware that, to process strings in some of the squigglier foreign languages, it was necessary to switch code page and sometimes, blimey, use two bytes per character instead of just one. It was bad enough that They couldn’t decide how many characters it took to mark the end of a line.

    [...]

    As far as I know, there isn’t a creation myth associated with the unification of the world’s character sets.

    [...]

    For Windows C++ programmers, the manifesto identifies specific techniques to make one’s core code UTF-8 based, including a proto-Boost library designed for the purpose. (Ironically, the first thing you have to do is turn the Unicode switch in the Visual C++ compiler to ‘on’.)

    [...]

    Next weekend I will be scraping all my Unicode files off my hard disk, taking them to the bottom of the garden, and burning them. As good citizens of the digital world, I urge you all to do the same.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. UndeadPotato said,

    October 23, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Gravatar

    It feels like you did not read the article. From what I understood from my reading of it, it’s arguing that UTF-8 is more expandable and does not depend on a certain number of bytes per character. I admit, I don’t fully understand the technical merits of Unicode vs. UTF-8 vs. UTF-16, etc. but there’s more to the article than what you say here. It seems like a reasonable opinion based on valid arguments.

What Else is New


  1. Links 29/9/2014: OpenDaylight Helium Release

    Links for the day



  2. European Patent Office Disorganisation: Problems With the Audit Mechanisms - Part IV

    A prelude to a long article about a thug called Topić, his controversial Battistelli-sponsored appointment, and the removal of auditory functions by Battistelli



  3. More Good News About Demise of Software Patents and Along With Them, Consequently, Patent Trolls

    A weekly roundup of news about patents in the United States and elsewhere, with special focus on software patents



  4. IRC Proceedings: June 22nd, 2014 – September 13th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  5. Links 28/9/2014: Moto X, End of OpenSUSE 11.4

    Links for the day



  6. CBS Continues to Get Heavily Occupied by Microsoft Staff to Spread Microsoft Propaganda

    The CBS-owned ZDNet continues to hire people who have worked or are currently working for Microsoft and unsurprisingly enough they use their newly-acquired positions to praise Microsoft and bash Microsoft's competition, usually with no disclosure of their conflict of interest



  7. Links 27/9/2014: Linux (Almost) Everywhere, Features Of Linux 3.17

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft Fakes 'Charity' and Uses Religious Groups to Acquire Lock-in in the Public Sector

    Microsoft's involvements with NGOs and with governments lead to more distrust, more surveillance, less freedom, and ultimately systemic corruption



  9. Bill Gates' Privatisation Crusade

    Mr. Gates, seeking to increase his huge profits and political power, reaches out to Catholic leaders and David Christian



  10. Tux Machines Under DDOS Attack

    Most of Tux Machines continues to work as usual, but some parts are temporarily restricted to keep the server running



  11. Links 26/9/2014: LibreOffice Celebrations, Betas of *buntu

    Links for the day



  12. Links 25/9/2014: KDE Roadmap, Bash Bug, GNOME 3.14 in Next Fedora

    Links for the day



  13. Links 24/9/2014: GNOME 3.14 Released, Bash Has a Bug

    Links for the day



  14. Links 21/9/2014: Fedora 21 Alpha

    Links for the day



  15. More of Bill Gates' Investments in GMO and Mass Indoctrination Under the Disguise of 'Donations'

    Microsoft's arrogant and famously corrupt co-founder is taken to task by those whom he is trying to bamboozle for monopoly, unlimited cross-generational power, and never-ending profit without risk



  16. Home Depot Confirmed a Victim of Microsoft's Bad Security, Microsoft Lays Off Security-Related Staff

    News reports circulate showing that Home Depot was knowingly careless with its Windows dependency while Microsoft lays off staff focused on security



  17. European Patent Office/Organisation - Suspicion of Improper Collusion Between EPO President and Chairman of the Administrative Council: Part III

    A preliminary look at Battistelli's reign and how regulatory powers got abolished, leaving the EPO reckless and largely unaccountable



  18. Links 21/9/2014: xorg-server 1.16.1, Linux Kernel 3.16.3

    Links for the day



  19. Links 20/9/2014: GNOME 3.13.92, Android L

    Links for the day



  20. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  21. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  22. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  23. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  24. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  25. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  26. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  27. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  28. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  29. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete



  30. ODF on the Rise

    Milestones for OpenDocument Format (ODF) and the launch of FixMyDocuments


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts