From: Andrew C. West (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Dec 17 2002 - 12:30:06 EST
On Tue, 17 Dec 2002 08:45:05 -0800 (PST), Jungshik Shin wrote:
> Is there any opentype/AAT font for Tibetan? Do Uniscribe, Pango,
> ATSUI, and Graphite support them if there are opentype Tibetan fonts?
> In addition to the principle of character encoding, the best practical
> counterargument would come from a demonstration that Unicode encoding
> model for Tibetan script does work in practice.
I have a Tibetan test page
(http://uk.geocities.com/BabelStone1357/Test/Tibetan.html) that encodes a number
of Tibetan texts in a variety of different styles using Unicode. At present the
only freely available OpenType Tibetan font is the "Tibetan Uchen" font being
developed by Tashi Tsering - a working version is available for download from
http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~tt3e/files/Research.html. This displays "native"
Tibetan (i.e. no unusual or complex Sankrit stacks) passably well, but is still
quite primitive. However, expect some professional quality Tibetan OpenType
fonts that cover all naturally occuring Tibetan stack combinations to be
The Unicode model for encoding Tibetan does work in practice, and providing
pre-composed forms adds no value to Tibetan users whatsoever - it takes the same
effort to type in or otherwise select the syllable "skyi", for example, whether
its encoded as a single character (Chinese proposal U+A54C) or four characters
(U+0F66, U+0F90, U+0FB1, U+0F72). The Chinese proposal seems to suggest that the
main reason for encoding the precomposed forms is that existing Tibetan fonts
already cover this set of glyphs, and it would be easier for font designers to
have a one-to-one mapping between glyph and character than to have to map these
presentation forms to sequences of Unicode characters. Well, compared with
Mongolian, Tibetan's a doddle ! And if Tibetan gets precomposed forms, then
Mongolian can't be far behind. To accept the Chinese proposal would be more than
the thin edge of the wedge, it would tear Unicode apart. But I'm sure there's no
realistic chance of this happening.
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