Re: Last Call: UTF-16

Date: Wed Aug 18 1999 - 16:07:28 EDT

       I will add to Eric Brunner and Michael Everson's exchange on
       the needs of lesser-used languages that there are several of us
       that are very much concerned for this, though we may see
       different sides of the problem and feels it's most important to
       push in different ways. Let's acknowledge and be encouraged by
       those concerns we share in common.

       For my part, I support lots of people using Windows and other
       MS products, not because I think that's the best solution for
       them, but because that's what they've chosen to use. As Michael
       indicated, we in SIL have frequently and for many years created
       8-bit codepages to meet the needs of users working with
       minority languages. With the advent of Unicode support in MS
       products as of Office 97, we've encountered numerous problems
       with our custom codepages because MS software is enforcing the
       standards it supports more rigourously. For that reason, I
       can't wait for us to put those 8-bit codepages behind us and
       get on with a standard that is adequate for all. (Yes, I know
       it's not there yet, but I am trying to do my part to change
       that.) For me, this can't happen soon enough.

       In the mean time, though, we continue to provide new 8-bit
       solutions where there is a need. These don't always work as
       nicely as I wish they would in commercially-available apps, but
       there's not a lot I can do about that but to try to find
       workarounds. Convincing a standards body to recognise such an
       8-bit codepage for a minority language is not likely to be a
       solution to this because it is the software developers who
       ultimately decide which of these they're going to support, and
       not many are going to add support for a confusing and extensive
       array of codepages which are very unfamiliar to them and which
       represent very small markets. We can add support for these to
       our own software, and we do, but when those users still want to
       publish documents using Word or Publisher or whatever, we're at
       the mercy of the commercial developer.

       So, I push for the adoption of those standards that will cover
       the needs of *all* languages, I continue to implement custom,
       legacy solutions in the meantime, and I simply try to find ways
       to deal with it when these solutions don't work as well as we'd


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