Oh dear! I must be mad joining in this discussion, but here goes.
I have been reading the comments, replies and counter-replies about
IPA and 10646 for some weeks now, and believe that very many half-truths
and probably some untruths are being propounded. I have not seen
the latest draft of 10646 -- I understand that no-one will see it
until it is published, so my comments relate to the previous version:
1. There is NO definition of a 'character' in 10646, and SC2/WG2 will
admit that they do not know what it is! SC18/WG8 has been asking for a
definition for some time to delineate between 'glyph' and 'character'.
2. 10646 is no more than yet another interim standard. It amy contain
the elements that allow for development of a standard with a long
life, but 10646 certainly isn't that stnadard.
3. If it is a character standard, why are any of the ligatures 'fi' 'fl' etc
included -- the 'fi'/'fl' ligatures are purely a typographic convenience.
4. Agreed the arabic presentation forms have been moved to a separate
section, but why are they there at all? They are only required
when outputting to a scripting device, and have no other value.
5. Where are all the Hangul sylables? Great I can write using the basic
alphabet, but including only half the sylables is nothing short
of a waste of time.
6. The Japanese have accepted 10646 as an international standard, but have
forbidden its use within Japan! Great, where is the standard now?
7. I cannot use 10646 to produce a single technical article without
using SGML entities for the Math characters that are missing! SC18/WG8
supplied a list of 300 math/chem characters that are missing (but are
included in TR9573). The first time the list was supplied, SC2/WG2
decided to ignore it! The second time it was sent, they decided
to ignore it, but this time to tell WG8 that they would ignore it!
They also decided not to give any reason, as that would generate
discussion, and they have decided not to discuss anything any longer!
Readers will no doubt appreciate that I feel strongly about the 'cock-up'
that is 10646. I believe that it will not last for many years, so I would
not recommend people putting too much effort into getting systems working.
Clearly, there are going to be lots of problems as people try and use it,
and ISO are going to want the job done properly, so it won't last for
too many years.
(UK member SC18/WG8, & member WG8/SWG on Fonts)