Linked by rohan_p on Wed 8th Aug 2012 15:21 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives BeOS may be dead, but over a decade after its lamentable demise the open source Haiku project keeps its legacy alive. Haiku is an attempt to build a drop-in, binary compatible replacement for BeOS, as well as extending the defunct OS's functionality and support for modern hardware. At least, that's the short-term goal - eventually, Haiku is intended significantly enhance BeOS while maintaining the same philosophy of simplicity and transparency, and without being weighed down with the legacy code of many other contemporary operating systems. Computerworld Australia recently caught up with Stephan Assmus, who has been a key contributor to the project for seven years for a lengthy chat about BeOS, the current state of Haiku and the project's future plans.
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Doc Pain
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Disagree here; those special characters shape a language.

Especially compount words in the german language profit from ligatures like the Eszett. (Yes, it's not a letter, it's a ligature consisting of two lowercase s, precisely long-s plus round-s, forming a unit that's not hyphenated, dissolving to SS when capitalized, and has nothing to do with "vowel length").

Example: MeƟstrecke vs. Messstrecke (measuring track)

Just count the consonants!

It also improves reading:

BambuseƟstƤbchen vs. BambussessstƤbchen (today's common "short vowel" nonsense spelling error included) (bamboo chopstick)

The Eszett is a typographical aspect of the language that helps to differentiate words. In Switzerland, those two are only distinguishable from context, not from written representation:

BuƟe (penalty fee) vs. Busse (buses)
MaƟe (measures) vs. Masse (mass)

If Eszett cannot be typed, it's common to replace it by ss (which is a valid and common replacement). If it's neccessary to "preserve" the Eszett (e. g. to write a name of a person), instead of ss also sz may be used (because it appears "validly" only in easily recognizable exceptions, so you can be sure sz means Eszett). This concept is nearly exclusively used in teletype and data transmission via basic ASCII.

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