Linux & Unicode

From: Glen (
Date: Wed Dec 02 1998 - 17:45:26 EST

Would any Linux expert be willing to post a status report on Linux's support
for Unicode?

In particular, I'm curious about the contenders for "standard GUI" on Linux:
GNOME, KDE, and whatever else there might be. I admit that I still know very
little about them, but it appears to me as though GNOME and KDE are trying
to "help the Linux community answer the challenge of Windows' consistent
GUI" by introducing GUIs based on single-byte char and string APIs. Then, if
you want Chinese, you can simply install a derivative version of GNOME or
KDE, hacked to support Chinese. If you want Japanese, you install a
different hacked version. Then, you'll need to run hacked versions of any
app you want to run on your "non-standard" GUI. And this is supposed to
answer the consistency challenge?

I can't help but think I'm just missing something. Surely the Linux
community has noticed that Microsoft is dragging a ball-and-chain of their
own making, due to their unfortunate decision to leave Unicode out of Win95,
and that MS is working hard to cut loose from that "ANSI" ball-and-chain as
soon as they can. A lot of others have noticed. Java, XML, HTML 4, Perl
5.006....come to mind.

I understand the problem of dragging legacy balls-and-chains, but I would
think that any *new* "alternative to Windows" would start out with a pure
Unicode-based GUI API. Get the API right, then let the open source community
fill in the nasty implementation details in the widgets (bidi support,
composition, etc.) Instead, it appears as though the Linux community is
attempting to create new soon-to-be-legacy single-byte GUIs (with multiple
double-byte hacked derivatives) as their answer to Windows's growing
worldwide consistency.

What am I missing? I've asked,,, and several
others. Not a single response. Would someone knowledgeable in the ways of
Linux be willing to fill me in?

Glen Perkins

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