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RE: ASCII-only startup message?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: ASCII-only startup message?
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 18:01:35 -0800 (PST)

> >> Yes, that is true, but not for compatibility between "apostrophe" and
> >> "right single quotation mark" as that imagined argument continues in
> >> your post, but for compatibility between "left single quotation mark"
> >> and "right single quotation mark" as well as less common characters
> >> like "prime".
> >
> > Huh?  The Unicode _name_ of character U+0027 is... "APOSTROPHE".
> > And the Unicode "old name" of it is "APOSTROPHE-QUOTE".
> As I've already written, a lot confusion comes from the bad name
> the ascii ' has in Unicode. Avoid that confusion.

So as the only demonstration of your claim that this character is
not maintained in Unicode for compatibility between "apostrophe"
and "right single quotation mark", you offer the statement that
the name is wrong.

Sheesh.  You know, Unicode names have been updated more than once.
How come no update here, if this character has nothing to do with
apostrophe and is only about quotation-mark compatibility?

Any evidence for your claim that ' is in Unicode only for
compatibility between "left single quotation mark" and "right
single quotation mark"?  Do you think that is even the most
common use case for ' in old-fashioned plain text, whether
typewriter or computer?  ", yes, but '?  I don't think so.

> And yes, there are some people who think that the squiggle used as
> apostrophe and as right-single-quotation should be seen as two
> different characters depending on usage.

The basic argument is this: an apostrophe is not a quotation
mark; their purposes/uses are different.  And this is being
revisited in 2015, a decade and a half after the choice was
chiseled in stone.

> We are not going to create a new emacs-reformed-unicode
> character set now

No one suggested otherwise.  The question raised was whether
a right curly quote mark should be used in *scratch* as

> we are implementing something that exists, and that very clearly
> says that ... U+2019 is also the preferred character to use for
> apostrophe.

Emacs has already implemented Unicode support.  That is not
in question.  Dunno what you think "we are implementing" now.
The *scratch* buffer text?

As Eli has said:

  The Unicode recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt
  when applying them to Emacs, especially for major modes which
  aren't derived from Text mode.  Unicode Standard is about
  typesetting and displaying plain text, it says that much in many

And as I said in a related vein:

  Emacs should (continue to) use U+0027 (ASCII apostrophe) as
  apostrophe (in its own doc, *scratch* comments, and so on).
  Not because it is a more genuine apostrophe but because it is
  is much easier for users (and programs) to work with.

Reading the recent controversy about the Unicode apostrophe
"preference" (which is not a recommendation, AFAIK) on the
Unicode mailing list points to even more problems with that
preference than I was aware of, for users of text processing
applications.  Problems from bidi handling to inserting to
spell-checking to searching...

We certainly support the use of U+2019 any way someone wants to
use it.  But that does not mean we must plaster it everwhere.
> > Claiming that Unicode intends this character only for compatibility
> > between "left single quotation mark", "right single quotation mark",
> > and less common characters like "prime", and NOT for compatibility
> > between "apostrophe" and "right single quotation mark" is, well,
> > imaginative.  Where do you get that notion?
> Just imagine that Unicode hasn't been reformed you want, but that
> there is one character that is used both as apostrophe and right
> single quotation mark. Not because it's The Right Way, but because
> then you will be able to read and understand what I wrote.

Please, give me the benefit of the doubt that I am able to read
and understand what you wrote.  There's no need for condescension.

I am not out to reform Unicode - that's a strawman.  My purpose in
this thread is to argue that U+2019 is not the best apostrophe
choice for distributed-Emacs boilerplate text such as that used in
comments, because it is harder for users to deal with.  The best
choice for that is U+0027 ('), plain old keyboard apostrophe.

I've stated clearly more than once that I support the Unicode
standard and am very glad that Emacs supports it.  That does not
mean that Emacs should use U+2019 (’) as apostrophe character in
its boilerplate text.

> I think mixing typewriter text and nice-looking text in the same
> buffer is the worst option. A typographical hotchpotch jarring.

There again we disagree.  But even if we didn't - even granting
your esthetic sensibility, the ease-of-use reason for plain ' far
outweighs it, for me.

And even for purely presentation and navigation purposes (i.e.,
no editing involved), as I mentioned, at least some technical doc
and publishing systems, including those of large organizations
with thousands of users, have deliberately opted for the simple
', because it is judged to be _easier on users_.  Even to the
extent of using QA tools that correct unintended ’ to '.

A fortiori for a text editor and programming environment such
as Emacs.

It's not just because we _can_ insert ’ everywhere that we
must do so.  It's a judgment call, and depends on the context
and use cases.

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