Re: Linux & Unicode

From: Arnt Gulbrandsen (
Date: Wed Dec 02 1998 - 18:58:28 EST

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

Well, I'm a linux old-timer, but more to the point, I am one of the
developers of Qt, the GUI toolkit the KDE uses, it was I who looked
into and decided to move to Unicode, and I know most of the core KDE

> In particular, I'm curious about the contenders for "standard GUI" on Linux:
> GNOME, KDE, and whatever else there might be.
> ...

There are 2-4 others, but none of consequence.

Qt will be totally unicode-based starting with Qt 2.0 (all UTF16
internally). The KDE is likely to follow suit shortly after that.
It's very easy to migrate existing 8-bit Qt-based applications to

At this point, the development source of Qt is able to do Japanese and
classing western input neatly on both X11 and Windows, and to render a
bit more on output. There are still many holes, for example pull-down
menus are always left-justified. Postscript output (on X11, Qt
supports only postscript printers) is very bad at the moment.

There is one big hole in the Unicode support of Qt (and consequently
that of the KDE): We don't plan to support that hacky extension trick
to access the next sixteen ISO10646 planes, at least not until there
is serious user demand for it. The "everything is a 16-bit character"
principle is too simple and uniform to let go, IMO.

GTK and Gnome appear to stay 8-bit, but with some UTF-8 stuff. I
don't know much about it really.

XFree86 (and hence most linux distributions) will presumably include a
few unicode fonts in the coming releases. Good.

> 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?

If there's anything to do with the Unicode support in the KDE or Qt, I
read this list, or you can send me mail off-line.


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