Re: Dzongkha gets Windowsized

From: Ken Krugler (
Date: Tue Aug 06 2002 - 17:06:02 EDT

> I assume that Microsoft
>will be using Unicode for the "around 4,500 Dzongkha letters, characters
>and religious symbols"

4,500? What's funny is the story also says:

>Before now, the Bhutanese people could not perform basic computer
>tasks such as sending e-mails, saving files, using spreadsheets or
>writing documents because no native operating system supported them.

Back in 1990/1991 (or even earlier?) Steve Hartwell, Peter Lofting
and Yoshiro Imeda released a version of the Mac OS for Dzongkha.
Another guy in France also developed sorting code for the 4th
Dimension database that correctly sorted Dzongkha syllables, which
was non-trivial.

The story goes on to say:

>But Dzongkha Windows will "make using the computer as easy and
>comfortable in Dzongkha as in English", President of the Orient
>Foundation Graham Coleman told Kuensel, Bhutan's official newspaper.

The major problem has been, or at least was, that applications didn't
use the available OS APIs to handle text, and as a result operations
such as word wrapping, word selection, sorting, character deletion
etc. didn't work properly.

There were often good reasons for this - for example, I wouldn't
expect a high end DTP program to use the fairly primitive (at least
back then) line layout support provided by the OS. But I'd be
interested in seeing just how compatible current Windows apps are
with a contextual writing system such as Dzongkha (Tibetan).

-- Ken

Ken Krugler
TransPac Software, Inc.
+1 530-470-9200

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