Re: Latin ligatures and Unicode

From: John Jenkins (
Date: Wed Dec 29 1999 - 11:55:24 EST

on 12/29/99 5:11 AM, at

> I would like to stress one point. If I am not totally wrong, Unicode should
> be a standard to encode *plain text*.
> AAT, OpenType, or any other font technology should not be considered as
> *prerequisites* for displaying Unicode.
> Or is any particular font technology now *required* by the Unicode standard?
> Or is it now "non conformant" to use bitmapped fonts?

AAT, OpenType, or some equivalent technology is and always has been a
prerequisite for displaying Unicode. The standard has been designed from
the beginning with the assumption that an intelligent rendering engine is
available which can implement the character-glyph model in some fashion and
display N characters using M glyphs with rearrangement and reshaping along
the way.

Unicode has also made the assumption that out-of-band information is
required to provide the full range of "proper" display required by users --
e.g., in Unihan where it's acknowledged that Japanese readers won't want to
see characters written using Taiwanese glyphs.

"Plain text" in Unicode means (theoretically) the minimal amount of
information for legible display.

In this sense, using bitmapped fonts is conformant if and only if the bitmap
font technology can implement the character-glyph model and would be better
off if some kind of outside markup were available to finesse the display and
provide the not-plain-text information.

John H. Jenkins

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