Recently Tamil Nadu Government website has posted a proposal for new tamil unicode standard (named as TUNE ) and have asked for comments.
The details are in this URL: http://www.tunerfc.tn.gov.in/
Problem statement given by TUNE team is: "As a result, Tamil Language, the script of which is NOT a "Complex Script" unlike other Indian Languages had also been considered as a "Complex Script" and the Unicode encoding developed employing level-2 implementation (instead of level-1) resulting in an unwieldy coding scheme for Tamil. "
My understanding is that the above statement says the following two points:
1. Tamil unicode has been made into complex unnecessarily [ My opinion: so what ??? ]
2. The Unicode encoding developed employing level-2 implementation (instead of level-1) resulting in an unwieldy coding scheme for Tamil. [ My opinion: This sounds more to be an opinion of the TUNE creators. This statement dont have any factual backing. ]
Above problem statement itself appear very weak. I don't find a need for proposing a new Tamil Unicode standard.
And I find the paper gives the following incorrect information:
"Tamil Unicode support is yet to be available in other operating systems like MacOS, Linux , etc"
[4th sentence under the heading Other shortcomings in this URL: http://www.tunerfc.tn.gov.in/TUNE-an_introduction.htm ]
Tamil unicode is very well supported in Linux operating systems. Linux Distros like FC4 comes
with out of box tamil unicode support.
Also this paper says another problem with existing unicode standard is vendors like Adobe are yet to support tamil Unicode standard.
This is absurd, the authors of this new proposal should ask the vendors like Adobe to support for tamil unicode in their applications instead of trying to change tamil unicode standard for vendor not supporting.
Current status of tamil unicode standard is as follows:
1. Unicode tamil is supported very well in linux, Windows & Mac platforms.
2. Most Applications have now tamil unicode support (e.g. Tamil Mozilla & Tamil OpenOffice are already available)
3. Most of the tamil websites are now in Unicode
5. There are over 1000 Tamil bloggers writing in unicode tamil.
[ There are about 846 tamil bloggers listed in http://www.thamizmanam.com/tamilblogs/index.php alone , there are lot more listed in technograti and not in thamizmanam.com ]
Existing tamil unicode standard works fine in every aspect. And it is gaining acceptance among vendors and users very fast.
There is absolutely no need to change the existing tamil unicode. Efforts like TUNE should not be encouraged at all. I find such efforts are mere waste of time and energy.
At the same time I am not religious about supporting current tamil unicode support only.
If by chance, unicode consortium accepts the new tamil unicode proposal (which is a distant possibility) , then I too will start using/supporting new tamil unicode standard.
Until then I will continue to support and popularize the existing tamil unicode standard.