Re: FW: Unicode Support in Win95

From: Glen C. Perkins (
Date: Wed Jan 22 1997 - 20:28:53 EST

[emailed and posted to Unicode mailing list at]

Lori Brownell <> wrote:

> The original mail was asking about Language Packs and not Unicode
> support, so I will now address that question. The Windows NT 4.0 and
> Internet Explorer 3 language packs allow for displaying content in the
> languages of the installed language packs. It is absolutely true that input
> capabilities and running of localized apps is not 100% supported with these
> language packs. That will change in the upcoming Windows NT release.
> Windows NT 5.0 will be a major advancement in this area by extending the
> multilanguage support to include input and running of localized applications,
> as well as some UI enhancements. If you want to know more about this new
> multilanguage support, come see the NT talks in Mainz.


Thanks for taking the time to respond to us. I know I'm not the only one
who appreciates it.

NT 5.0 sounds wonderful, but NT is a developer OS. We developers
eventually have to ship what we develop to mainstream users, but
Microsoft positions Win9X as the mainstream OS. I don't see how
improvements in NT5 alone are going to help me sell more multilingual
products to mainstream Windows users. With Microsoft's non-US revenues
at 60% and rising, and with the Internet suddenly bringing mainstream
users around the world face to face, I think multilingual capabilities
will be increasingly sought after in mainstream Windows applications on
*the* mainstream Windows OS, Win9X.

Until the release of these language packs, there was no apparent benefit
to the end user in the claim that a product was "unicode-based". Now
there is some reason to hope that we will begin to see a variety of
mainstream applications, and not just those written by Microsoft ;-) ,
that claim to support the display (and input in the not-too-distant
future) of most languages, provided the user simply downloads and
installs the appropriate MS language pack.

Since Word97 already supports the display of mixed CJK scripts on US
Win95 (according to Murray), I would like to request that you add this
capability to Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine. Specifically, developers
who develop in pure Java would be able to do a

g.drawString("<some Japanese text>", 5, 5);

and get Japanese output on any Win95 machine with the Japanese language
pack installed. (The input of the Japanese text could be done by using
Visual J++ on a WinNT 5.0 machine, for example, as a development
platform, but the resulting app would run on any PC with the necessary
language pack installed.) Mainstream programmers would be shielded from
the intricacies of: X works on NT, but not Win95, Y works on 95 with
weird workarounds, Z hasn't yet been implemented...etc. As long as you
write to the Java APIs, it works cleanly on both NT and 95 via the
appropriate language pack.

Your press release yesterday gave me, and several fellow Java
developers, reason to be hopeful. Specifically, at

you (Microsoft) said:

              "Enhancements to the Industry-Leading
               Microsoft Virtual Machine for Java

               Microsoft also outlined for developers its
               upcoming plans for the industry-leading Microsoft
               virtual machine. These include continued
               performance leadership, capabilities-based
               security, interoperability support for ActiveX™
               and Java Bean software components, a
   ---------> comprehensive UNICODE implementation for
   ---------> global applications, and support for all the
               cross-platform capabilities of the Java
               Development Kit (JDK) version 1.1."

Many of us would like to know whether this refers to being able to use
Unicode within our standalone Java apps and output directly through the
language packs. ("Directly" meaning not via a call to native code or an
ActiveX component.) If so, this is great news that I would be happy to

Also, Lori, I belong to the world's largest Windows developer "user
group" and the world's largest Java developer user group, where I'm
putting together an "Internationalization" SIG, and as far as I know
*none* of us will be able to go to Germany to hear what Microsoft has in
store for us. Would it be possible for you to record your presentations
and put them on Microsoft's website (Shockwave, RealAudio) or at least
put up a text summary of your plans and a bit of Q&A on a webpage? Your
local (Silicon Valley) representatives will admit to having heard of
unicode, and that several MS products are based on it, but they're not
quite sure what that means. As for future plans, the consensus is
"continued improvement in order to supply whatever support is needed as
soon as we reasonably can." Uh-huh. A webpage from someone like you who
really knows would be a great resource.


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