Schrödinger’s Cat causing problems

The linux distribution Fedora have announced their new version release name, Schrödinger’s Cat, inspired by the famous thought-experiment trying to conceptualise quantum mechanics. But this has brought about some perhaps unforeseen issues regarding the handling of text. The name isn’t simple and contains non-ASCII characters. This is where a slight digression on what a string is would be advisable if you aren’t already comfortable. May I recommend Spolky’s excellent What Every Programmer Should Know About Unicode. If software hasn’t taken this into account then things can go wrong. Things went wrong. The folks over at LWN have detailed the events.

What interests me is the behaviour of Chrome on Mac; given the suggestion of naming the release “Schrödinger’s ?”. That final symbol is the Unicode character for a cat. Specifically a smiling cat face with heart-shaped eyes. Which leads to certain problems. Specifically for me that character will render correctly in title tabs in Chrome, but not in the document body. This isn’t a problem with Firefox however, which handles the symbol without issue. Further Chrome on either Linux or iOS seem to behave properly as well. This appears to have been a known problem for some time.

It’s 2013 and Unicode is still a problem, sigh.