RE: Unicode Devanagari Font in Mozilla

From: Michael Jansson (
Date: Tue Jul 16 2002 - 08:22:45 EDT

> Kind of endearing, we all love our own technologies.
> Sometimes you do go a
> bit too far, though. I think your products are pretty
> awesome, enough so
> that you can allow other products their right to be as good
> as they are. :-)

Actually, I'm probably suffering from a different ailment ;-) I'm somewhat
conditioned from supporting a Microsoft tool called WEFT (a tool that will
create EOT web font files for IE). When providing support for this tool, I
often get to help people that tries to use hack encoded Hindi fonts on
various platforms and Unicode fonts on Win9x. Neither approach work

I'll make one comment about FAIRY though; It's by no means a replacement or
some kind of solution to get Unicode support on non-Unicode platforms. In
face, it would not even work on Windows without Uniscribe.

> > A few details; You can not use neither Arial Unicode MS nor Code
> > 2000 to show Indic text with Uniscribe on Windows, as Uniscribe
> Yes, good that you mention this -- especially since the
> version of Arial
> Unicode MS on my machine has the following OpenType layout tables:
> arab
> deva
> gujr
> guru
> hani
> kana
> knda
> taml
> Whilst Code 2000 does even better with:
> arab
> beng
> deva
> gujr
> guru
> khmr
> lao
> katn
> taml
> telu

Well, mine version of Arial Unicode MS contains only "arab" and "hani".
There are thus users (actually most users) that have insufficient versions
of these fonts (MS Arial Unicode is being distributed in quite a few MS
products over the years, of which many are in use). You would probably not
want to rely on these fonts, at least not without using embedded fonts
(there, I managed to advocate for the use of web fonts. My good deed of the
day ;-).

Speaking of versions, any old version of Uniscribe would not be sufficient
to support the languages you list above. There are no official "Indic
language pack" for Win9x to download from MS to get the "right" version.
There is a good reason for why that is.

> I guess they have decided these would be nice to have?
> > Also, there is nothing wrong with neither Latha nor Mangal,
> Actually there is -- you are not allowed to redistribute
> them. This would

You can't redistribute Arial Unicode MS either (any user may download it
from MS though, more or less...).
> > Win9x simply depends on Code Page information in fonts for
> > various legacy reasons, and are as such not equipped to handle
> > "pure" Unicode fonts (this is at least my understand of this issue).
> Good thing I mentioned files that pass this test. Note that Office is
> perfectly happy to install Arial Unicode MS on a Win9x machine.

Sure you can. You may not be able to access all the languages in the font
though (on Win9x).

> > If you want to use Indic Unicode fonts with Uniscribe on Win9x,
> > then you better make sure that you build the fonts for Win9x
> > yourself.
> I sense another "no browser supports Unicode" thread coming
> on, and I feel
> ill. Please do not do this. All you need to do is make sure
> you have the
> most recent version of the font that contains the info you
> want.

OK, I managed to ensure that with my own Win9x machine. How do I ensure that
with the 1 000 000 Win9x users that are going to visit a Unicode Hindi web
site? Do I visit them all, one by one? Do I tell them to download Arial
Unicode? (Let's see, that would be 23MB x 1M of data...). Let's say that
99.9% managed to get it right (I'm being *very* optimistic). That leaves
1000 users. Let's say that each takes four hours to sort out.... OK, so I
have my work cut out until... uhhh... I'll better pick another approach ;-)

> Being a
> font expert is a weonderful thing if you are one, but if you
> are not yyou do
> not have to consider hari kari or anything. :-)
> > Then again, even that may not work... ;-)
> Well, I suppose they can always turn to Fairy, right? <g,d&r>
> MichKa

Actually, I would hope that they would give their web browser vendor a hard
time. It would make both mine (as one of the developer behind FAIRY and
WEFT) and web users life a lot easier.

em2 Solutions
Michael Jansson

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