RE: Locale ID's again: simplified vs. traditional

From: Carl W. Brown (
Date: Fri Oct 06 2000 - 15:19:43 EDT

>From: Thomas Chan []
>Sent: Friday, October 06, 2000 10:20 AM

>Yes, even among just "phonetic" IME's there can be a lot of variation (not
>any particular order, nor a definitive list):

>1) language/dialect base for readings of characters
>2) locale
>3) transcription system
>4) keyboard layout
>5) script
>6) encoding and character set

The keyboard layout issue is one that is dear to my heart. I was chairman
of the ACCESS.bus Keyboard committee. ACCESS.bus was the precursor standard
to USB. Unfortunately it looks like the i18n recommendations did not fully
make the USB standard. They put in a country code but that is not adequate
to describe a keyboard. (But what the heck no OS that I know even looks at
that much of the standard.) The idea is that you can plug in more than one
keyboard into the same system and each keyboard might be set for a different

The reason that I got into this was that I invented an inexpensive
multi-lingual keyboard. However, with today's prices it no longer makes
sense. The keyboard would send a new language code when you switched
languages. Unfortunately most operating systems do not expose the driver
code that I would have had to change. By the time the USB standard came out
the market window had vanished. Now it is cheaper to just buy a separate
keyboard for each language and you can have them plugged in at the same time
if you want or hot plug them as needed. The problem is that the OS vendors
still do not recognize the language codes.

They also do not recognize specialty keyboards such as the Japanese "Thumb
shift" keyboard. This has two columns of extra IME control keys on the left
hand side and special keys in front of the space bar the are special
character shift and convert control keys. These keys have a special shape
designed to be pressed by the thumbs while you are typing with your fingers.
Some of the shit modes are also time based shift modes. Press the thumb key
and then the regular key within 1/2 to 1 second of the thumb key.

>(Taken to an extreme, some enlightened software does through the "magic" of
>Unicode even cross boundaries to allow, say, inputting Chinese langauge
>text in something like Shift-JIS, which is intended for Japanese
>language text.)

I don't understand this at all. What might make sense to be would be to use
the Japanese technique of romanjii to kana to kanji conversion. In Chinese
you could use a roman keyboard to enter bopomofo and then standard IME
conversion to han.


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