Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters

From: Christopher John Fynn (
Date: Mon Sep 27 1999 - 18:37:42 EDT

Scott Horne wrote:

> How about

> "Because speakers of English, German, French, Dutch, and Italian occupy
> a superior position in the world, their languages will continue to enjoy
> thorough support on computers. As an economically unimportant nation,
> you are free to take up one of those languages when you find (as you
> inevitably will) that the computer industry doesn't give a tinker's damn
> about yours."

> Scott Horne

I think this is unfair. For instance I know that over several years members
the UTC and WG2 have spent a great deal of time and effort on the Tibetan
block encoding - which was difficult because of the peculiarities of the
it's poor documentation, lack of standardisation and the fact that existing
(non-Unicode) implementations of Tibetan in software applications are not
very satisfactory. All this time and effort is very unlikely to pay off in
commercial terms either for the individuals who put it in or for their
employers. However it will go a long way to helping preserve the huge
body of Tibetan literature for posterity and to producing educational and
other materials in Tibetan.

What it takes is a few dedicated people, who have familiarised themselves
 the standard and it's principles, prepared to write and put forward
well thought out and documented proposals to the UTC or WG2. If you can show
a real need for a character and demonstrate with evidence that it is unique
(not simply a different form of a pre-existing character or combination of
characters) and part of a script in actual use you should be able to get it
in the standard - though it won't happen overnight.

Once the characters are in the standard I think you will find that some font
vendors and companies like Apple and Microsoft will support them (though
that may not be the first
thing on their list of priorities - and once they do their competitors
won't be
very far behind.

Of course none of this happens anywhere near as fast as users of
unimportant" scripts and languages would like - particularly if the script
is both
uneconomic and complex - but does seem to eventually happen if you are
enough and prepared to listen to any feedback you get from UTC members.

- Chris

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