Really nice summary of all this stuff. Thank you for digging it up out of the archive. I do hear far less complaint about Unicode from acquaintances in Japan, today, compared to even five years ago… but of course this is anecdotal.
Unicode in its present form is a boon for software authors, drastically reducing the work of dealing with multiple encodings, and especially of dealing with multiple disjoint taxonomies of encodings by name or number, and with inadequate English-language information on what the relevant and important encodings even were, let alone what characters were in them or what they looked like.
Users today probably don’t remember, but since IRC passes text through completely without attention to what encoding was in, every single user had to be educated, and fights would break out as to what encoding a channel should use. It also didn’t used to be common for clients to be able to set encoding on a per-channel basis, which aggravated things.
The history of Unicode standardization really did have a ton of “why do we have to deal with this” attitude from both USians and Europeans, neither of whom in general saw any benefit to what they perceived as extra coding effort to deal with “languages that nobody wants”. I was mercifully uninvolved, but the acrimony was palpable, and I don’t think anyone can be blamed for feeling that the standards process had a strong neo-colonial perspective. As the link describes, this is true but only part of the truth, but I’ll let you read it. :)
Sigh. The good old days were not actually all that good, and it’s important sometimes to remember that. That’s the value of this article. :)
I get the impression there is now, finally, a lot more Japanese engagement with Unicode, perhaps as it becomes clear that Unicode has “won” in the wider world. In particular, emoji are now standardized in Unicode, causing much amusement in the wider world but making it much easier to roundtrip these SJIS variants.