The Unicode standard is a proposal for a universal two-byte code table for all
major written languages. It uses only accepted and official encoding standards for
each alphabet to avoid compatibility and acceptance problems. A non-profit
organization has been founded to promote the Unicode standard:
P.O. Box 700519
San Jose, CA 95170-0519
Tel: +1 408 777 5870
Fax: +1 408 777 5082
In the Unicode standard, any glyph is stored only once, and font modifications do not change the essential shape of a glyph. Each glyph has a unique name, number, and content. As a consequence, there no longer exists the notion of a mixed text document.
The code table is divided into sections. The first 256 entries are identical to ISO 8859-1 for compatibility reasons, the other sections contain mathematical symbols, phonetic symbols, non-Latin scripts, vendor specific code tables, and the ideographic alphabets. A rather large section is not standardised, it is reserved for proprietary code tables.
Currently, version 1.1 of the Unicode standard has been published - some 5400 characters from ISO 10646 were added to the code table, and some characters were moved to new locations - and various vendors have announced the support of the Unicode standard (a list of applications that comply with the Unicode standard is available from the Unicode Inc. WWW pages).