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[WMASTERS] Re: Can we please develop a standard?
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*Thanks for your continued participation in the ongoing efforts to define
*possible standards for tamil. I have clarified several times the
*by which myself, Muthu and others have been proceeding. As the
*discussions become emotional, some of these guidelines are either
*forgotten or not seen as such. So I will try to clarify them here .
*i) Let us take up the question of 'who should define the
*I may add that there are two viewpoints here.
*One opinion is that today, majority who speak Tamil are based
Whose opinion is this ? Can you please clarify ?
I might have missed it if someone had aired this opinion.
*in Tamilnadu, majority of the printed tamil materials originiate from
*Tamilnadu and so it is the Tamilnadu Govt that should set the
*standards and no-one else. The second school of thought feels that
These are standard *DIVISIVE* politics. I'm NOT attributing this
to Kalyan. If Tamils at large don't recognize that there is
tremendous progress happening all around and they respect ALL
tamil societies and evolve a standard that is common to ALL,
it will ONLY HELP TO DIVIDE TAMILS BY VESTED INTERESTS. There
ARE vested interests. It is not anything new either.
*international standards in computing, particularly those applicable
*to internet are evolved in world forums involving worldwide
*participation and not mandates of the any individual governments.
*A larger percentage of overseas Tamils already do tamil computing.
*(I have not personally checked if the standards for french, german,
*greek, dutch etc are defined in the first place by their respective
*governments and internet community simply accepted them later).
*In an earlier posting, I have elaborated on how internet community
*"establishes" standards through "established procedures".
*Ravi Paul wrote
*>1. This discussion is just between a minority group of
*>individuals who have no "authority" to implement any standard
*>or reform. As such, this attempt is limited to a group of
*> individuals attempting to set a standard.
*Yes. None of the present ring of participants in Webmasters have
*a written mandate to define standards from "anyone". It is all
*VOLUNTARY EFFORTS of individuals (pure academics, commercial
*software developers and end-users) who feel that it is high time
*that we all agree in some standards that unify the world-wide
*efforts. Few members of the Tamilnadu Advisory Committee
*are 'occasional participants' and they have indicated that if the
*community collectively defines a standard they will give
*due considerations to it in their own deliberations. That is it.
*So within the above scenario, the present efforts are attempts
*to define possible ' standards' in a world forum open without any
*restrictions to anyone who cares to participate. It is a collective
*Frankly none of we three (myself, Muthu and Bala) have yet
*clear ideas on how the standards are to be launched even if
*we all agree on one. In the common interest of all, it would be
*better if subscribers to the above two schools collectively launch
*ii) Many of the participants feel that "defining standards" is also
*a good opportunity to introduce "language reforms". All arguments
*for dropping a single glyph "ksha" or the entire grantha set
*are proposals of "language reform". (Though I am still in
It is NOT language reform. There are many non-tamil
glyphs and the six grantha letters that are included
in the Version 1.4 is only an arbitrary subset of these
glyphs. Stop characterizing these as 'standard'. Provide me
evidence for these 'six' being accorded the status of
being 'standard' tamil. There are numerous tamil publications
mainly in the vaishnava-dom which uses many more such
glyphs. I hope people will use some rational and sensible
argument to include ksha ( it takes up TWO spaces).
sensible, logical propositions, well we'll have to take up
*favour of keeping ORNL I agreed for its dropping, since ORNL
*has been dropped officially quite a while ago). In tamil.net we
*had several such "language reform proposals" floated. Anu made
*some suggesting usage of only uyir and mei alphabets. Now
*Selva proposes alternative ways of replacing grantha letters.
Kalyan please don't quote partially my proposals. What
I proposed about writing voiced stops (G,J,D,Dh,B)
WITHOUT using any special characters can be done WITH
ANY of the schemes we will be adopting. In my character
codes table I HAD PROVIDED spaces for S,sh,j,h,sri
based on rational arguments and reasonable accomodation
of needs. In my character table the ONLY CRIME I've
committed is that I've removed a SACRED letter called ksha.
But apart from this crime, I've tried to provide a more
useful set for writing tamil. I beleive that it will be
helpful for (empower) the tamils in their writing.
*Languages do evolve but changes come about very slowly.
*"Language reform" is a complex highly sensitive issue. It is not
*at all a wise idea in my opinion for a small group on internet
*to engage in such exercises of "introducing reforms".
Allright, should I then characterize your (generic'your')
efforts to put the copyright symbol ( which can easily
be written as (c) ) and the registered trademark symbol
(R) in the set as 'language reform' ? Why did you leave
superscript (TM) symbol ? Will Muthu or Kalyan or
someone explain this kind of 'decisions' ? If Mr. Lee says
it becomes 'not a language reform', but Selvaa says it
is language reform , is it ? Selecting 6 grantha symbols
out of many in use is *not* a language reform but
selecting five of these grantha letters *is* language
reform, is it ?
Is all this 'due consideration' mere 'eyewash and a
'semblence of a protocol' ? I really have this doubt.
*Such tasks are better left to Govt -mandated bodies such as TNC.
*For those interested in reforms, it will be a good idea to float ideas
*on internet and seek responses. Where there is large positive
*response, the proposals can be forwarded to appropriate
*government bodies for follow-up. Fortunately TNC is willing
*to hear such propositions. In fact they have officially listed this
*as one of their mandated tasks (but only after defining
*deciding on a working tamil computing standard that fully
*implements the present day practice of writing tamil - this includes
*the minorities). The present approach follows this sequence.
I totally RESENT this kind of INSENSITIVITIES ?
Whose words are these Kalyan ? Official declaration
from CM Karunanithi ? if so please let me know and
some of us will write to him.
*Many academics and software vendors have clearly stated here
*that they will not use "any standards that leave out the grantha set".
*Softwares are end-user/market driven. If the standards do not
*take into account the needs of majority of end-users they will stay
*only on paper. The present situation of anarchy with many
The commercial vendors will always adopt a superset not
necessarily because of 'any set that leave out grantha set'.
I don't know how you arrived at the conclusion that it
is the majority of end-users that need these six
grantha letters ?
*user-defined fonts will continue to flourish. Do we want this? No.
*So let us NOT for-ever keep mixing up issues of "language
*reforms" while we discuss a standard based on the present day
*style of written tamil.
*Even at the risk of repeated myself, I would like to repeat here.
*I have no special vested interest to "sanskritise tamil" nor any
*grudge against any "thani thamizh" efforts. The proposed scheme
*is an effort to accommodate present day writing of tamil script.
*So please refrain from colorising present standardising efforts.
*iii) choosing one of the existing fonts as a standard
*Right from the beginning, we have been trying to
*define a standard that takes into consideration the field experience
*we got from many tamil fonts and DTP packages.
*Many of us did try out of many of these packages and have
*chosen to work with one or the other. It is not
*a personality contest and no-one is trying to push indirectly
*his/her product. A standard collectively defined by the
*entire spectrum (pure academics including computer professionals,
Are you *joking* ?
*software developers and end-users) has a very good chance
*of being accepted quickly. The proposed standard has the
*features of many fonts. We ALL have update our software/font
It is a drab uncritical inclusion of an arbitrary
set of characters which does not take into account
the need and use of the people in the years to come.
If this is adopted, it will work but will not give
any useful enhancements. It is unconscionable
*for tamil DTP soon but the effort will be all worth it.
We'll see ! Most probably there will be new
extended standards that will emerge where
almost all the really useful present chacater codes
will form the sub set of these evolving sandards.
I doubt this will be a useful or adequate standard.
*Here again, let us not get side-tracked with specific
*suggestions of "why not simply accept this or that? and
*counter-arguments for something else.
The drab and plain with many useless letters is the
'main' and any suggestions to infuse some increased
functionality without sacrificing anything really
useful is 'side-tracking' ?
*Another practical problem raised by Muthu, Ravi Paul
*and others quite early is connected with "propriety status"
*of many of the fonts and DTP packages. Many tamil fonts
*that are distributed free in the internet are "propriety
*materials" with their own restrictions! They are like Microsoft
*distributing Ariel and other fonts. Only a handful of tamil fonts
*the authors have publicly stated that their fonts are open
*to public for incorporation in others. Instead of opting for
*a good, working propriety font and fighting with its author
*to release it free to the public, we are all better off defining one
*publicly but collectively.
*iv) tamil numerals:
*As far as implementing the present-day
*usage of tamil, the only deviation the present scheme
*introduces is to have the tamil numerals. For no fault of
*it, tamil numerals have died out from current usage.
It had not died, it had become much less used ( only
few publishers use them). It is a good development.
*The world is going towards multi-lingual computing.
*The necessity for this in a country like India with its
*vast language diversity needs no clarification. Unicode is
*fast evolving as 'the' approach to take with no other serious
*contender. Indian Govt has already took a stand in defining
*Indian Standard Code (ISC) for these and fortunately Unicode
*is implementing the ISC in its indian language segment.
*Repeatedly we have stressed that we all will benefit it a lot
*if the proposed standard is defined in such a way to co-exist
*happily with unicode.
*It is "not" the revolutionary idea of me or Muthu to bring back
*tamil numerals. They are there already in ISC and Unicode!!!
*Irrespective of the details of implementation (at the glyph
*level or character level) if we do leave out a dozen glyphs
*that are in Unicode/ISCII we cannot claim any compatibility.
*Tamil numerals 10, 100 and 1000 are there in Unicode.
*Nagu's proposal to "add a glyph for 0" so that these numerals
*can be re-activated one-day to do real mathematics is good.
*It is now up to TNC to reflect on this. (If my understanding
*is correct, tamil numerals are not based on decimal system ! ).
It is based on decimal system but there is a place marker
glyph ( '10', '100', '1000') in addition.
For example 763 would be written as 7x100 + 6x10 + 3
but in symbols 7A6B3 where the A and B are corresponding
symbols. This was a precursor to the dropping of the
place markers. Chinese system and a few other systems
have almost identical approaches. We really don't
need these symbols.
*If "tamil numerals" are to be dropped, revisions have to come
*first in Unicode and ISCII. Then we will have 10+ slots
*liberated for other things.
*Unicode is a comprehensive package but will require the
*state-of-art computers to implement it . Also it is not yet
*fully mature particularly for indic languages. The proposed 8-bit
*scheme, on the contrary, will allow making of a self-standing
*truetype tamil font that will work on any computer -even on
*not-too-old (anything bought in the last ten years or so).
*Still the tamil text files generated using this can be saved in
*unicode format if one chooses to do so. (Proposed large scale
*archiving projects of UC Berkeley want such unicode compatibility)
*So we are converging towards an encoding scheme that
*we can be proud of.
No, Kalyan we honestly can not be. Tell me what had been
done in the character_set ?
*>  The character set that needs to be assigned character
*> codes has not been discussed with any rationality.
*> There was debate about whether to include grantha
*> letters or not. There were at least four views aired.
*> First group(Kalyan et al) thinks we should have
*> all six S,sh,h,j,ksha, sri
*> The second group(Kumar Kumarappan et al) expressed
*> doubts about the need to include Sri and ksha.
*> The third group (Anu, Kathir et. al) oppose grantha
*> letters. The fourth ( may be just only me?) 'group' suggested
*> to include only four or five grantha letters and not the
*> ksha but recommended including fa etc.
*> I think here people have to consider a number of
*> questions and provide supporting reasons that
*> prevail over the other choices.
*> I don't think this has happened and I feel 'due
*> consideration or thought' had NOT been given.
*>  Re: The tamil numerals. Why do we need 10, 100, 1000
*> symbols ? Did anyone cogently argue for the inclusion
*> of these.
*Points (i) - (iv) on the design considerations answers
*the questions raised above.
I'm sorry they don't.
*>  Why do we need nju, njU, ngu, ngU ?
*> What was the answer to my suggestion that when needed
*> we can write as nj+u etc. ? This suggestion arises
*> because we don't use these letters.
*> We can provide these symbols in some glyph table.
*As I stated earlier, these are there to have some uniform
*approach - one that allows facile sorting, search etc.
*No "language reforms" now of writing nj+u for nju etc.
*Many such proposals (e.g thU as thu + kaal) have been
Kalyan, this is NOT language reform. We don't have
words that use these. I specifically said this
suggestion ARISES because we don't use these.
We can provide these symbols in some table so that
it can be used when needed.
Did you read my words why
*>  Why do we need a separate character code for 'au' ?
*> can't we write o+La ? This again only because we
*> are going to use it very few times. Is it very
*> different from getting kO or kau for example ?
*I have discussed this point specifically with Muthu in
*private correspondance. Muthu does admit that there may be
*some confusion here. He prefers to keep au as such for
*consistency with unicode schemes and sees it as the
* confusion we live with when people use upper case o
*(O) for the numeral zero (0).
We can come back to this if needed. It appears
a waste of space.
*>  Do we need copyright and trademark symbols ?
*Copyright and trademark symbols were proposed by Leong
*Kok Yong to facilitate their usage in WWW. Many who
*put up tamil webpages will need them and having them as
*part of the tamil code will allow us to invoke "charset"
*definitions early in HTML. It is a very good idea.
So this is not a language reform ? Pl. read my comments
above.. I would welcome these facilities, but
it appears arbitrary. Can't people write (c) and
(TM) or something like that ? Instead we can use
symbols like a tamil 'u' within a circle for
'urimam' or we can include a 'mERpadi' symbol or
'iththiyathi' symbol etc..
*> What room have we provided for future expansion ?
*In earlier emails, I did raise the question of leaving a few slots
*vacant and also how we can define such vacant slots.
*Unicode has two types - one that are forbidden for all and
*a separate segment as "user-defined" block where anyone
*can put up special glyphs for specific purposes. My personal
*wish is to leave at least four to six slots vacant.
I would welcome leaving 4-6 vacant slots.
*Right now, in scheme 1.4, the last slot (255) is left vacant.
also 160 is vacant, no ?
*Muthu has indicated his agreement to indicate this slot as
*"user-defined" - an escape route through which software
*developers can introduce other glyphs for ORNL or
*aesthetics or whatever. Nagu or someone else suggested
*Having slots 145-149 filled up with single and double
*curly quotes can make DTP processing easier (ANSI
*character set has these glyphs in these slots). So we have
*placed these there.
*Sorry for this long posting.
No problem, same comment from me .
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