Hi Joseph

I was not commenting on whether a modern document processing system should 
support Unicode and other character sets but since you raised the issue I shall question you and comment.

>> and so I'm in favour of sticking to 8-bit input only with an 8-bit engine. 

Does 8-bit input include utf-8?

Input is not the only place where character-like things appear in TeX; this is another way of saying what Lars said.  Character repertoires are distinct from encodings of characters and these are different again from the encodings used in external files.

So you need to know what character repertoires you are going to deal with internally in these various types of string, whether or not these are represeted by, for example, 7-bit LICRs.

Cheers,  chris

So I would prefer it if each character was a character, with no danger 
of awkwardness.
Joseph Wright
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