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Re: [bug-gnulib] quote characters in stds

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: [bug-gnulib] quote characters in stds
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 19:25:03 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.5

Karl Berry wrote:

> @node Quote characters
> @section Quote characters
> @cindex quote characters
> In the C locale, GNU programs should stick to plain ASCII for
> quotation characters in messages to users: either 0x60 (`) for left
> quotes and 0x27 (') for right quotes, or ' for both opening and
> closing, or " (0x22) for both opening and closing.  It is ok, but not
> required, to use locale-specific quotes in other locales.
> The @uref{http://www.gnu.org/software/gnulib/, Gnulib} @code{quote}
> and @code{quotearg} modules provide a reasonably straightforward way
> support locale-specific quote characters, as well as taking care of
> other issues, such as quoting a filename that itself contains a quote
> character.  See the Gnulib documentation for usage details.
> ASCII should also be preferred in source code comments, text
> documents, and other contexts, unless there is good reason to do
> something else because of the domain at hand.


> If you need to use non-ASCII characters, for example to represent
> names of contributors, you should normally stick with one encoding, as
> one cannot in general mix encodings reliably.  address@hidden is the
> most widely usable encoding today, after plain address@hidden

This is misleading. In a list of contributors, I often find names like
Rafał Maszkowski, Primož Peterlin, Martin Mokrejš, and Владимир Слепнев
(Vladimir Slepnev). To represent them, you need Unicode, i.e. the
UTF-8 encoding.

> Quotation characters are a difficult area in the computing world at
> this time: there are no true left or right quote characters in ASCII,
> or even address@hidden  address@hidden does have paired standalone
> accents, but it seems wrong in principle to abuse them as quotes.  And
> even address@hidden is not universally usable.
> Unicode contains the unambiguous quote characters required, and its
> common encoding address@hidden is upward compatible with address@hidden


> But Unicode and UTF-8 are deployed less widely than address@hidden; it would
> be premature to require Unicode support for running essentially every
> GNU program.

This is not true for several years now. The major GUI toolkits, KDE/Qt
and GNOME/Gtk, support Unicode for several years, and are now featuring
good support not only of Western and CJK languages, but also of Bidi
scripts and Indic languages. 'vi' is UTF-8 enabled since 2001. For more
than one year, major Linux distributions like Fedora Core 3 put users
into UTF-8 locales by default.
See http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/unicode.html for more info.


PS: The right spelling of the encodings is "Latin1" (no dash, no space)
and "UTF-8" (with a HYPHEN-MINUS in between).

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