Re: LastResort BDF font updated

From: Glen Perkins (
Date: Mon Jun 23 1997 - 21:58:34 EDT

Mark Leisher <> wrote:
> The LastResort 24x24 BDF font has been cleaned up a bit, some changes
> made, and a couple more glyphs added to make it match the set of glyphs agreed
> upon by the Unicode Technical Committee.
> For documentation on what the glyphs stand for, please see the following Web
> pages:

It seems to me that that it might be useful to have a second set of
glyphs for LastResort purposes that didn't use a character from the
script as the mnemonic so it would be easier to remember what they stood
for and so it would be easier for the average unicode user to
distinguish one from another.

I can't imagine that most unicode users are going to have an easy time
distinguishing between the Devanagari glyph and the Bengali glyph,
between the full-width katakana and the half-width katakana glyphs, and
so on, without seeing them side-by-side and looking closely, then going
up and down the reference table searching for an exact match. I'm also
not sure why "ka" was used for both hiragana and katakana, with their
obvious similarity, instead of two very different-looking glyphs such as
"a" and "a" or katakana "ka" and hiragana "hi" or some other pair of
glyphs less likely to trip up a non-Japanese-speaking developer.

Since I'm sure the UTC put a lot of thought into the selection of just
the right glyphs, and it's probably a done deal, I'll avoid stirring the
bees' nest and just ask if it might be possible to *also* have a
parallel LastResort font containing Latin abbreviations for the block
names as glyphs. "Dev" and "Ben" in rounded rectangles would be a lot
easier for most of the world's unicode users--librarians, website
developers, etc.--to distinguish and remember than the two current
Devanagari and Bengali glyphs, unless they were speakers/readers of
both. If they *were* speakers/readers of both, and if the current glyphs
really were easier for them to distinguish and remember (has this been
tested, even informally?), then they could use the current (original)
font instead of the Latin abbreviations font.

The meanings of the latin abbreviations would also be a lot quicker and
easier to look up, using an alphabetical table (collated acc. to the
user's preferred collation.) I also can't imagine that these
abbreviation glyphs would be harder to see at small sizes than the
current kanbun glyph (with a 6-stroke Han char shrunk into 25% of the
glyph area), the Thai glyph, or the CJK compatibility "apaato" glyph
currently are. Probably, the major issue would be in choosing the
abbreviations themselves in a politically acceptable way, but these
problems have been solved with several ISO standards and could be solved
here, too.

__Glen Perkins__

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