Unicode and ISO 10646

Unicode is a character coding system designed by the Unicode Consortium to support the interchange, processing and display of written texts of diverse languages of the modern world. In addition, it supports classical and historical texts of many different languages.

The Unicode Standard is fully compatible with ISO 10646 During 1991, the Unicode Consortium and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recognized that a single, universal character code was highly desirable. A formal convergence of the two standards (Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646) was negotiated, and their repertoires were merged into one universal standard for coding multilingual text in January 1992. Since then, the two organizations have been working together very closely to extend the two standards, and to keep their respective versions synchronized.

Unicode 3.0 is code-for-code identical to ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000 for all encoded characters, including the East Asian (Han) ideographic characters. Unicode 3.0 was officially released by the Unicode Consortium in February 2000, containing 49,194 characters of different languages, in which 27,484 of them are Han ideographic characters. In general, Unicode provides character names and code values with important implementation algorithms, properties, and semantic information; whereas ISO/IEC 10646 provides the same names and code values.

Unicode 3.1 includes 44,946 additional characters (42,711 of them are ideographic characters) in addition to 49,194 characters already defined in Unicode 3.0. Unicode 3.1 was also released in 2001.