[Air-L] Information wants to be ASCII or Unicode? Tibetan-written information cannot be ASCII anyway.

Han-Teng Liao (OII) han-teng.liao at oii.ox.ac.uk
Tue Jul 14 00:21:24 PDT 2009

Dear all,

   Running the risk of trolling and misrepresenting the famous motto 
"Information wants to be ASCII", I want to raise the question of the 
difference between "Information wants to be ASCII" versus "Information 
wants to be Unicode" from a multilingual perspective.

   It should be pointed out when  Lev Manovich declare "Information 
wants to be ASCII"  when talking about remix and remixability of 
information, it was in 2005 when the adoption of Unicode was just in the 
early adoption period globally.  So I do not intend to raise the 
question to make lazy criticism against the America-centric implication 
inside ASCII, but rather raise the question about remix and remixability 
across linguistic boundaries. 

    Why the Unicode is not universally deployed yet?  How can we measure 
the remixability across linguistic boundaries simply because the 
information are encoded not in Unicode?  Why so many user-generated 
content websites in China are only using their simplified-Chinese-only 
kind of "national standard" (GB2312) even when Hong Kong (using 
traditional Chinese not included in GB2312) is part of China and Beijing 
claims Taiwan is part of China?  What about Tibetan-written information: 
is it want to be Unicode or GB 18030-2000?  Tibetan-written information 
cannot be ASCII anyway.

       I really like to hear from you.

Best regards,

Han-Teng Liao
PhD Candidate
Oxford Internet Institute

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