Re: REALLY *not* Tamil - changing scripts (long)

Date: Mon Jul 29 2002 - 17:40:28 EDT

On 07/29/2002 04:25:18 PM Keld Jørn Simonsen wrote:

>Well, you were looking for a platform, and Linux is one of the more
>prominent platforms, maybe the second or third largest platform today.
>Or are you only looking for a Microsoft platform?
>Anyway you can use GNU C on microsoft platforms.

I wasn't looking for a platform. I was simply thinking how I would in
general try to help people in small language communities get their writing
systems supported. My point is that the last thing I would do is recommend
that they use non-standard semantics for ASCII punctuation characters since
it will limit the number of systems on which it will work.

>And you do not need to be a skilled programmer to edit gnu libc locales,

Sorry, but you have to be more than joe-or-sally-off-the-street user to do
this. Relative to the average computer user out there, it takes a large
amount of skill to do this kind of thing. It's fine for a technically-savvy
person implementing it on their own system or even on a handful of systems
under their immediate control. It's quite another if your talking about
something that you might hope to see implemented throughout a language
community, even one that has a population of only a few thousand or a few
hundred. In that case, it's not practical to deploy custom locales on all
their systems and then hope that the only software than any of them ever
wants to use will be GNU based.

>> It's *much* easier -- and, in the long term, safer -- for them to
>> select from the extensive inventory of characters available in Unicode
>> to avoid using ASCII punctuation characters with redefined word-building
>> semantics.
>I don't get what you are saying here, why should people be limited to
>ASCII punctuation characters?

Well, maybe we need to revisit what this thread is all about (in spite of
the subject line): a small language community considers using "@" to
represent a vowel since they need something in addition to the "aeiou" of
ASCII, and the original question had to do with how to get behaviour
appropriate to word-forming characters applied to "@". One answer was that
one could create a custom locale in which such behaviours could be
specified. My point has been that that language community would be much
better served by dropping the idea of using "@" in this way and picking
something else since, as suggested in your comment, 10646 has lots to
choose from.

Custom character semantics are very costly in terms of support, and
significantly limit users with respect to the selection of applications
that can be used.

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485
E-mail: <>

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