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The Unicode Consortium (legally Unicode, Inc.) is a
501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is one of the 29 types of 501(c) organizat ...
non-profit organization incorporated and based in Mountain View,
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...

California
. Its primary purpose is to maintain and publish the
Unicode Standard Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's writ ...
which was developed with the intention of replacing existing character encoding schemes which are limited in size and scope, and are incompatible with
multilingual in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the la ...
environments. The consortium describes its overall purpose as: Unicode's success at unifying character sets has led to its widespread adoption in the
internationalization and localization In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwa ...
of
software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. At the low level lang ...

software
. The standard has been implemented in many technologies, including
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
, the
Java programming language Java is a class-based, object-oriented Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm Program, programme, programmer, or programming may refer to: Business and management * Program management, the process of managing sev ...
,
Swift The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), legally S.W.I.F.T. SCRL, is a Belgian Belgian may refer to: * Something of, or related to, Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the ...
, and modern
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems (OS) like macOS, Linux, Android (operating system), Android and Mi ...

operating system
s. Voting members include computer software and hardware companies with an interest in text-processing standards, including
Adobe Adobe (; ) is a building material Building material is material used for construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. ...
,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, wher ...
, the
Bangladesh Computer Council The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), is a statutory and autonomous government body located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that aids in the use of information technology and the formulation of related policy. Bangladesh Computer Council operates a Uptime ...
,
Emojipedia Emojipedia is an emoji Emoji ( ; from Japanese 絵文字 ; plural ''emoji'' or ''emojis'') are pictograms, logograms, ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Ancient Greek, Greek "idea" and "to write") is a graphic symbol that rep ...
,
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...
,
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
,
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
,
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
, the Omani Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs,
Monotype Imaging Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc., founded as Lanston Monotype Machine Company in 1887 in Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term ...
,
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
,
Salesforce Salesforce is an American cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It provides customer relationship management (CRM) service and also provides enterprise applications focused on customer service, marketing automa ...
,
SAP SE SAP SE () is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sove ...
,
Tamil Virtual Academy Tamil Virtual Academy, formerly known as the Tamil Virtual University, is a distance education institution based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The Government of Tamil Nadu established the Tamil Virtual University on 17 February 2001 as a soci ...

Tamil Virtual Academy
, and the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
. Technical decisions relating to the
Unicode Standard Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's writ ...
are made by the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC).


Founding

The project to develop a universal character encoding scheme called Unicode was initiated in 1987 by Joe Becker,
Lee Collins
Lee Collins
, and Mark Davis. The Unicode Consortium was incorporated in
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...

California
on January 3, 1991, with the stated aim to develop, extend, and promote the use of the
Unicode Standard Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's writ ...
. Mark Davis has been president of the Unicode Consortium since the Consortium was incorporated in 1991.


Work

The Unicode Consortium cooperates with many standards development organizations, including
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 Coded character sets is a standardization Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest grou ...
and
W3C The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary ...

W3C
. While Unicode is often considered equivalent to ISO 10646, and the character sets are essentially identical, the Unicode standard imposes additional restrictions on implementations that ISO 10646 does not. Apart from ''The Unicode Standard'' (TUS) and its annexes (UAX), the Unicode Consortium also maintains the
CLDR The Common Locale Data Repository Project, often abbreviated as CLDR, is a project of the Unicode Consortium The Unicode Consortium (legally Unicode, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated asso ...
, collaborated with the IETF on
IDNA Idna ( ar, إذنا) is a Palestinian The Palestinian people ( ar, الشعب الفلسطيني, ''ash-sha‘b al-Filasṭīnī''), also referred to as Palestinians ( ar, الفلسطينيون, links=no, ''al-Filasṭīniyyūn''; he, פָ ...
, and publishes related standards (UTS), reports (UTR), and utilities. The group selects the
emoji An emoji ( ; plural emoji or emojis) is a pictogram A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious wor ...

emoji
icons used by the world's smartphones, based on submissions from individuals and organizations who present their case with evidence for why each one is essential.


Unicode Technical Committee

The Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) meets quarterly to decide whether new characters will be encoded. A quorum of half of the Consortium's full members is required. As of July 2020, there are nine full members, only one of which, the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of Oman, is not a tech or software company. The other eight, as of the same period, are
Adobe Adobe (; ) is a building material Building material is material used for construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. ...
,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, wher ...
,
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...
,
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
,
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
,
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
,
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
, and
SAP SE SAP SE () is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sove ...
. The UTC accepts documents from any organization or individual, whether they are members of the Unicode Consortium or not. The UTC holds its meetings behind closed doors, and its voting members are overwhelmingly white, American, and male. As of July 2020, the UTC rules on both emoji and script proposals at the same meeting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on travel, the meetings, which used to be hosted on the campuses of various tech companies who would open their doors to the Consortium for free, were in 2020 held online via Zoom, although the discussions remain confidential. The UTC prefers to work by
consensus Consensus decision-making or consensus politics (often abbreviated to ''consensus'') is group decision-making processes in which participants develop and decide on proposals with the aim, or requirement, of acceptance by all. The focus on es ...
, but on particularly contentious issues, votes may be necessary. After it meets, the UTC releases a public statement on each proposal it considered. Due to the volume of incoming proposals, various subcommittees, such as the Script Ad Hoc Group and Emoji Subcommittee, exist to submit recommendations to the full UTC ''
en banc In law, an en banc session (; French for "in bench") (also known as ''in banc'', ''in banco'' or ''in bank'') is a session in which a case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Case, the metalli ...
''. The UTC is under no obligation to heed these recommendations, although in practice it usually does.


Publications

The Unicode Consortium maintains
History of Unicode Release and Publication Dates
Publications include * * *


See also

*
Comparison of Unicode encodings This article compares Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expr ...
*
Universal Character Set characters The Unicode Consortium (UC) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) collaborate on the Universal Character Set (UCS). The UCS is an international standard to map characters used in natural language, mathematics, music, and ...
*
Universal Coded Character Set The Universal Coded Character Set (UCS, Unicode) is a standard set of character (computing), characters defined by the International Organization for Standardization, International Standard ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission, IEC  ...


References


External links

* {{authority control Unicode 501(c)(3) organizations Standards organizations in the United States Organizations based in Santa Clara County, California Mountain View, California Organizations established in 1991 1991 establishments in California