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    SubjectRe: unicode (char as abstract data type)

    On Fri, 17 Apr 1998, Albert D. Cahalan wrote:

    > >
    > > Neither Sun, nor Apple or Microsoft have really converted anything
    > > to Unicode.
    > Microsoft uses Unicode in the kernel calls. Note that the C library
    > can still support dumb 8-bit apps as well as any other C library.

    See below what it does with those calls.

    > > Having NTFS filesystem where filenames are already for many years
    > > supposed to be in Unicode, but used by all software with the
    > > assumption that only 8 bits of every character matter doesn't
    > > mean much, so this direction is dead, too.
    > It is not dead. The Unicode support in the system allows for a
    > future world without 8-bit apps. The transition may take a decade.
    > When the transition is done, there won't be so much reencoding
    > between apps and the kernel.

    In a decade Unicode most likely will be in the same place where EBCDIC
    is now.

    > >> I certainly don't want to see 8-bit kernel calls on Merced.
    > >
    > > Then you won't see vi there either.
    > Oh? The last time I heard, vi accessed system calls via libc.

    But in what encoding will it represent that to the terminal?

    > Very few apps care about the kernel interface. I can think of
    > strace and maybe gdb.
    > With the right libc, you could even pretend the kernel used
    > UTF-8 for the system calls.


    > That is the applications. This is the kernel mailing list.
    > We have a library called "libc" that provides an interface
    > between the applications and the kernel. Applications can
    > still see filenames in KOI-8 if you so desire. (you won't
    > care what libc does to non-KOI-8 filenames because you won't
    > have any such names on your disk)

    How will it know that it's koi8 if charset labeling will be eliminated
    (and this is the whole point of Unicode -- to avoid need of charset
    labeling by providing some flat space)?

    > Think about the consequences of UTF-8 at the system call level:
    > Every system call that uses text must be first converted to UTF-8.
    > This burden is with us forever. Meanwhile, Windows and MacOS can
    > avoid conversion costs after the world converts to UCS2.
    > The world _will_ convert too. As much as you may hate it, you
    > must realize that when Sun, Microsoft, and Apple agree...
    > It is only a matter of time -- perhaps a decade.

    They say it, but they don't _do_ it -- and they can't do that anyway.


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