[OS X TeX] Input encoding question

Richard Koch koch at math.uoregon.edu
Fri Feb 20 07:36:03 CET 2009


On Feb 19, 2009, at 8:30 PM, Axel E. Retif wrote:
> I think that by using applemac you're risking some future  
> incompatibilities ---Apple itself is abandoning the encoding; please  
> see
> http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/unicode.html

This is misleading. The linked document is a general description of  
unicode; it contains the word Macintosh exactly once.

Obviously Apple and other computer manufacturers have embraced unicode  
strongly. Internally Cocoa's TextEdit class uses unicode, programmers  
generally use NSStrings (which contain unicode) instead of ascii  
strings, etc.

On the other hand, in Cocoa when you write a string to disk or read it  
back, you MUST specify an encoding even if you want to preserve  
unicode, because there is no one standard file encoding for unicode.  
So we are very, very, very far from a day when Apple would say  
"everything is unicode, there is just one disk encoding for unicode,  
and we are dropping all of this obsolete encoding stuff."

The TeX world is moving toward unicode: see XeTeX and luaTeX and other  
developments. On the other hand, compatibility with older sources is  
unusually important in the TeX world, so I expect that a wide range of  
encodings will work as long as TeX itself survives.

Dick Koch
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