[plt-scheme] kudos for PLT's character set support

From: hendrik at topoi.pooq.com (hendrik at topoi.pooq.com)
Date: Tue Jan 6 14:47:45 EST 2009

On Mon, Jan 05, 2009 at 12:49:12PM -0600, Robby Findler wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 12:16 PM, Grant Rettke <grettke at acm.org> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 7:00 AM, Robby Findler
> > <robby at eecs.northwestern.edu> wrote:
> >> On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Neil Van Dyke <neil at neilvandyke.org> wrote:
> >>> Looking at the PLT documentation and C code, it's clear that someone spent a
> >>> lot of effort on doing character sets well.
> >> That would be Matthew.
> >
> > After Neil posted that question on libiconv it got me wondering about
> > the kind of motivations that drive an implementer of any language to
> > care about, and, expend the effort to provide such good support.
> >
> > Is it personal interest? Is it demand of the users? It is the desire
> > for "common sense" functionality. From what I have read some vocal
> > folks think that Scheme and different encodings (Unicode for one) go
> > together like oil and water, so PLT's support stands out.
> It is because we wanted to type the lambda characters in drscheme and
> still be able to save the files in text mode.
> (Am I serious? You be the judge.)
> Robby

The origin of lambda.  It seems Curry originally wanted a kind of giant 
circumflex accent, with one arm on the bound variable, and the other 
stretching over to the end of its scope.  But the printer couldn't do 
that, so they compromised on a circumflex accent on the bound variable 
only.  Only something else went wrong, and it seems the normal 
circumflex wasn't available either.  So the printer picked the most 
similar character he *did* have at the moment, and it was a lambda.

So I heard from John Seldin.

It it weren't for a shortage of characters in ancient typesetting 
equipment, we wouldn't have Unicode in PLT Scheme!

-- hendrik

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