RE: Can browsers show text? I don't think so

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Thu Jul 04 2002 - 06:02:24 EDT

Michael Jansson wrote:
> Your arguments seems to be that there is only need for one
> language on a operating system.

Yes: if you only speak one language, your computer only needs support for
that language. And if you speak two, three, four... languages, your
computers only needs support for those languages: why having a fifth one?

Even if you speak 30 languages, you only need the script(s) used for those
languages: if you can't read Cherokee, seeing Cherokee letters is not much
more helpful than seeing white squares. The only extra information you get
is "That's Cherokee, that's why I can't read it" (provided that you can at
least recognize the script).

> Why would you need Unicode then?

In the case you speak a single language, Unicode is only needed if that
language is written in an "Unicode-only" script (such as Ethiopic,
Mongolian, Khmer, et al. which don't have legacy encodings).

In the case you speak two or more languages, you need Unicode if no other
encoding covers that combination of scripts. E.g. if you only speak Chinese
and Arabic, you need Unicode, because no other encoding covers this pair of

However, the fact that Unicode is not *required* in some cases, does not
mean you can't use it also in those cases.

About web fonts, I don't think they are a bad idea, per se.

However, they should be better used as a fallback for cases when the client
computer does not have a suitable font. Why should I download a resource I
already have?

Moreover, web fonts should be functionally equivalent to local fonts. E.g.,
they should have all the functionality required by "complex script", and not
force authors to use hacky pseudo-encodings.

_ Marco

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