Re: Support for Multilingual Documents

Date: Mon Dec 06 1999 - 15:31:22 EST

----- Forwarded by Addison Phillips/GSC on 06-12-99 12:36 -----
                    Phillips To:
                    06-12-99 12:30 Subject: Re: Support for Multilingual Documents(Document link:
                                         Addison Phillips's Mail)

      Peter wrote:

>Addison wrote:
>>My understanding is that this won't happen for obvious
       reasons: most users don't need it and don't want to buy a
       larger hard disk (I'm happy that they will be installable by
       people like myself who would like to type the occasional
       Japanese without rebooting, though).

>This doesn't make sense to me. Most users don't need it, but on
       the odd occasion when they open a document containing text in
       another script, they really don't like seeing gibberish. And
       disk space? We're not talking about a lot of space to add at
       list rendering support. A *lot* more space on their drives is
       going to be taken up by other functionality in the OS and/or
       apps that will have a far greater impact on their need to buy
       new drives than will this. Certainly disk space is a non-issue.

Well, there are all of those fonts, IME dictionaries, and other stuff you
could include under the rubric of multilingual support. And IE comes with
an impressive array of multilingual stuff (or you can download it)... and
no one seems to complain about size there. So I guess it comes back to
Chris' earlier statements about business priorities. Frankly, I'm not a
Microsoft employee, so I can only make observations.

I could have cited support costs for them as a reason too... but I think
that a single global release is easier and cheaper to develop, maintain,
and support than a whole bunch of target language releases. The mere fact
that Microsoft has gone from three-plus code bases on NT to one-plus on
2000 is proof that they understand this.

So, Peter, you're right, it's not about disk space "really"... but about a
host of other issues. And while most of us would prefer Microsoft (and
others) to just give us full-on multilingual support in the operating
systems by default, there *are* tradeoffs involved. Win2K is impressively
multilingual in some ways, and a signpost of how far we have yet to go in
others... and probably I should wait to see what actually gets shipped
before saying anything.

Nonetheless, it would be nice to *know* that all PCs and Macs made after a
certain date had script support for all of, say, Unicode 3.0, including at
least enough font pieces to cover the whole of the character set... and
that this support was sufficiently integrated into the browsers such that
we could assume that the user can see our character properly rendered. This
is not too much to ask, I would think. I suspect that, while Win2K will
have this support available, you will still have to install something to
get it *all*, over and above the core operating system.

Maybe I'm wrong. I certainly hope so. I would love it if this problem would
start going away.



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