[erlang-questions] A proposal for Unicode variable and atom names in Erlang.

Richard O'Keefe <>
Fri Oct 26 07:43:51 CEST 2012

On 26/10/2012, at 4:28 PM, Henning Diedrich wrote:
> As a third (true) horror I'll add Ulf's pseudo-whitespace experience to the list. I am in agony already over the days lost in the future due to someone inserting a Unicode look-alike into code that I cannot spot until I re-type the entire seemingly cursed code that-should-work-but-magically-doesn't. And have hex-view ready at my finger tips again to inspect awkward code. Thanks so much for the nightmare.

And (b) the problem is not with there _being_ extra kinds of space
character, but with their not being _treated as_ space characters.
This is why _partial_ support for Unicode is a bad thing.

> As an aside, I think I still don't believe what I understood there though: that a programming language could be banned on grounds of political incorrectness?

Not that it can be *banned*,
but that it cannot be *required* for any assessed work.
Nobody says I can't use whatever I like.
But there may very well be limits on what I can ask students to use.
I would rather let that sleeping dog lie
while the potential problem goes away.
> Is it possible that those rules are wrong and banning a programming language for being, what, culturally biased, is over the top?

> I still hope i read that wrong.

Respect for the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi is part of
the law of this country.  Article the second reads (in a back
translation of the Maori text into English):
	The Queen of England agrees to protect the Chiefs,
	the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in
	the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over
	their lands, villages and all their treasures
and Te Reo is a these days regarded as taonga of the tangata whenua
(a treasure of the [native] people of the land).  [Every word in
this paragraph counts as 'English' here...]

I'm sufficiently distressed by the continuing replacement of
New Zealand English by American that I have strong sympathy with
people wanting to keep Māori alive and functioning in all modern
contexts, so I _want_ to let students use Māori.

But in addition to that, the University has a clear policy.


Note in particular
	Principle 1
	In recognition of the status of te reo Māori as a taonga
	protected under the Treaty of Waitangi, and within the
	spirit of the Māori Language Act 1987, the University of
	Otago will endorse the right of students and staff to
	use te reo Māori, including for assessment.

I really don't want to ask for an official decision lest the answer
be "no".

I would expect any country with one or more minority languages
whose speakers got a sufficient degree of legal protection to
have similar policies.

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