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    SubjectRe: unicode (char as abstract data type)
    Those who prefer charset labeling (such as Alex Belits) are worried
    about encoding efficiency (especially Alex who doesn't like the fact
    that Russian didn't get some of the 1 byte UTF-8 assignments.) This is
    certainly a consideration. However, charset labeling can get
    *extremely* complex and messy, especially if you want to store
    characaters from multiple character sets in the same document or

    For example, suppose you have a dialup system with customers logging
    into your system from all over the world. Suppose further than the
    Russions what to use filenames with Cyrillic characters, the Chinese
    want to use the Han characters, the Europeans want to use ISO Latin 1,
    etc. Clearly, it's not sufficient to put a charset label in the
    superblock. You need to put a character set label in every file, or
    perhaps even put some kind of escape sequence processing if you want to
    be able to support both, say, Kanji and ISO Latin 1 in the same file.
    Worse yet, if you want to display such characters, you now need to tell
    the console how to interpret the application-specific escape sequences.
    None of the charset labelling folks have defined a universal escape
    sequence for changing between charsets; fundamentally, they assume that
    all processing on a particular machine will be done in a single
    character set. This gets problematical as soon as you observe that many
    documents need to support characters in multiple character sets, and it
    completely breaks down in client/server applications where people may be
    communicating over the network in multiple languages.

    There is also the backwards compatibility issue; how do you handle
    existing ext2 filesystems that are currently using ASCII, and a lot of
    existing code which assumes that the '/' and '\0' characters have
    special meaning. For that reason, the only thing which makes sense for
    the ext2 filesystem is to declare that filenames and volume labels are
    in UTF-8.

    - Ted

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