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September 2003 Newsletter of the
Front Range UNIX Users Group

Cndnsd Vrsn: 4 PM Thursday 9/18 ACS Room 123- Unicode


Truth is Stranger than Fiction:
Why You Need to Know about Unicode

The next meeting of the Front Range UNIX Users Group (FRUUG) will be held at 4:00 P.M. on Thursday, September 18. Dr. Bruce Haddon from Sun Microsystems and Paladin Software will be talking about the truth and fiction of Unicode, and why you need to know about it.

Unicode is yet another common representation for transcoding other character sets and encodings, but one which is increasingly met in programming languages and applications, particularly web applications. One characterization of Unicode is that it "provides a unique number for every character, no matter what the platform, no matter what the program, no matter what the language." This, of course, is not true. What is not obvious is why this is not true-at that will be revealed in this talk.

To many, Unicode is just a big character set, with 16-bit values. However, human language and writing is nowhere near that simple, so Unicode has complexities that arise from the efforts to deal with the realities of written, and spoken, human language. The result is that there are some special things that must be done when using Unicode, some obvious, others not so obvious. By the end of this talk, you will understand why Unicode is the way it is, its relationship (or lack thereof) to UNIX, plus you will have some guidance as to how to use it correctly and what can be done with it, and where to get additional information.

Note: if you have not met the word "transcoding" before, you need this talk.

About the Speaker

Dr. Bruce K. Haddon is well known around Boulder, having worked at NBI, been a professor here at the University of Colorado, a manager at StorageTek, Vice-President of Engineering at International Language Engineering, and more recently Senior Technologist at Redcape Software.

He now consults, both for his own company, Paladin Software International, specializing in software internationalization, and also as a Master Java Architect for Sun Microsystems. Both companies are sponsoring Bruce's FRUUG talk, Paladin supplying the assemblage of material, and Sun the time.

Bruce is originally from Australia (accounts for some of the accent), but has worked in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and France (which together account for the rest of the accent).

His interest in character sets and encodings started with his first computer-related job with the University of Sydney, where he had to document the character encodings in use in the Computing Centre--and found 14 were in everyday use, a problem he solved by creating a fifteenth, to act as a common representation for transcoding the others.

Meeting Location

This meeting will be in room 123 of the CU Academic Computing Center building at Arapahoe and Marine Streets in Boulder. Marine St intersects Arapahoe at 38th St; the Computing Center is on the southwest corner.

See <> for map

Our Last Meeting

At our July meeting, Sara Bayko, Juli DiBiase, and Barb Dijker gave an overview of the City of Boulder's effort to tax Internet Access, and the current state of their tax assessment on the Colorado Internet Cooperative.

Announcements, presentation slides, and writeups for past meetings are be available in the FRUUG Meeting Archive?

Future Meetings

Our next meeting is tentatively titled: "Life after Make-- Building Software with SCons."

FRUUG Giveaways

FRUUG Library Merit Badge holders can sign up for give-away books by visiting the FRUUG Web site and clicking on the give-away item in the sidebar. FRUUG merit badge holders are eligible for our frequent book give-aways, and all you have to do for a lifetime membership is to review any book from the FRUUG library and send the review to gaede at

This month we have two books to give away, Linux on the Mainframe, from Prentice Hall PTR, and Code Reading, the Open Source Perspective, from Addison Wesley.

If you're a FRUUG Library Merit Badge holder and would like one of the books, please sign up at

Finally, we once again have a Gift Certificate to SoftPro Books to give away to a FRUUG member at the meeting.

FRUUG Library Notes

New books for the FRUUG library that have arrived over the summer include:

  • Cisco Cookbook, from O'Reilly
  • Google Pocket Guide, from O'Reilly
  • iMovie 3 and iDVD, from O'Reilly
  • Implementing CIFS, the Common Internet File System from Prentice Hall PTR
  • Intrusion Detection with Snort, from Prentice Hall PTR
  • Managing Linux Systems with Webmin, from Prentice Hall PTR
  • Moving to Linux, Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! from Prentice Hall PTR
  • Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk, from Prentice Hall PTR
  • Secure Coding Principles & Practices, from O'Reilly
  • Tomcat, the Definitive Guide, from O'Reilly
  • The Unicode Standard 4.0, from Addison Wesley

You may check out books using your business card as your library card; you must be on the membership list to check books out. Books are due at the meeting following the one in which they are checked out.

Remember that your FRUUG membership entitles you to discounts on your book orders from both New Riders Publishing and O'Reilly & Associates; refer to the FRUUG Web site for details.

The New Riders discount program has changed; pick up a discount coupon with our secret password at the meeting.

Site Map Recruiter Info
February 15, 2009

February 2008: FRUUG Enters Quiescent Phase
After 27 years running, we're suspending operations.

Future Meetings:
None planned

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