Re: Unicode on Mac OS

From: Deborah Goldsmith (
Date: Mon Nov 22 1999 - 17:46:42 EST

on 11/21/1999 10:25 PM, Franko Luin <> wrote:

>> With "Mac OS 9" you can optional install all "Apple Language Kits".
>> But to enter characters outside these Kits you need - beside fonts to
>> display - an ATSUI compatible application. But not one of which exists,
>> I was told at Apple! They keep working on it - a simple text editor!
>> To me this sounds as dead-born as QD-GX was years before! Shit!
> That's as far as I have have come in my explorations, too. A technician at
> Apple Sweden told me that Unicode in Mac OS is, for now, only developers'
> stuff. I hope somebody in this list has more relevant information to share.

Our Unicode text editor is actually a system service built into Mac OS 9.
The editing program we are working on is just a demonstration of that
editing engine. Any application can use it and it's quite straightforward to
use. It is our replacement for TextEdit, and it dispenses with most of
TextEdit's limitations. Apple's Java implementation, MRJ, uses a private
version of this MLTE (Multi-Lingual Text Editor), and will move towards
using the built-in version in the future.

The only publicly shipping software that I am currently aware of that uses
ATSUI are MLTE and Kotoeri (Apple's Japanese input method). Kotoeri uses
ATSUI to draw the characters in its palettes. It supports full Unicode,
although non-Unicode applications cannot receive characters outside the
range of Mac OS character sets. Kotoeri will not function without ATSUI.

I feel it's important to emphasize that unlike GX, ATSUI is built into the
system, cannot be removed, is currently being used by Apple system software
(like Kotoeri), and is slated to be used by more system components as time
goes on. It is not going away, and it is not an optional install. HFS+, our
file system, returns file names as canonically decomposed Unicode. When the
Finder gets around to supporting these Unicode file names, it will be using
ATSUI and MLTE to do so.

I know there are developers working on third party applications that use
ATSUI and MLTE. I am hoping that as Apple demonstrates our commitment to the
technology, the specter of GX will no longer haunt us, and more developers
will feel confident in using it.

Deborah Goldsmith
Manager, International Toolbox Group
Apple Computer, Inc.

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