[I18n-sig] Strawman Proposal (2): Encoding attributes

Paul Prescod paulp@ActiveState.com
Sun, 11 Feb 2001 01:46:18 -0800

Tim Peters wrote:
> ...
> Again, pick a language that already supports what you suggest and find some
> evidence that it's *used*.  

We will see. Before Unicode it would have been very hard to do this and
yet achieve source code portability between systems. Unicode and the
tools and languages that use it are just being deployed. There is no
need to move aggressively in that direction. But I'll say again that I
think it would be a big mistake to add any further impedements to
getting there.

> it's-a-programming-language-not-a-word-processor-ly y'rs  - tim

I don't understand your fundamental point.

We agree that German people want to use German variable names. If it was
*just as easy* for them to use non-ASCII German characters, why wouldn't
they? What's magical about ASCII? And if Japanese people are more like
German people than they are different from them (carbon based, bipedal,
etc.) then why wouldn't they want to write code using their special
characters? Why would they choose to approximate and translate?

I'm not claiming it's a burning need, but I don't see why a Japanese
teenager learning to program for the first time would choose to use a
language that requires English variable names over one that offered
choice. There's nothing magical about ASCII. Hell, American teenagers
would probably love to put happy faces and summation signs into their
variable names. I use a teenager as an example of a person coming to the
computer world fresh without ASCII brain-damage. Where's Greg Wilson
when I need him?

 Paul Prescod