Re: New MS Mac Office and Unicode?

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Thu Jan 15 2004 - 05:53:52 EST

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    On 14/01/2004 16:10, John Delacour wrote:

    > ...
    > What is input by a certain keyboard layout is entirely at the
    > discretion of the designer of the layout. If I want to type small
    > Greek Alpha with perispomeni, I can use the hex input to type either:
    > a) option + 1fb6
    > a) option + 03b10342
    > The resultant character will be identical.
    Correction: it *should* be identical. Unicode specifies that the
    rendering of canonically equivalent sequences should ideally be
    identical, but not that it must be. And in practice on many systems it
    is not. For example, it is not in Windows if you don't have Office 2003

    > ...
    > If I want to type Lao, I get a keyboard layout to do so. Once I have
    > it, I can type Lao in any editor that supports Unicode. That's all
    > there is to it.
    Yes and no. Yes, the editor should be able to process the text, and save
    it or transmit it to another system. But if you want to display or print
    the text, you need a font which supports the character, and you also
    need a rendering system which supports it. To illustrate the problem,
    try typing Hebrew characters into your favourite Nisus. Even if you have
    a font, you will not get correct RTL rendering - I have just heard from
    a Nisus rep an explanation of why.

    > ...
    > If parts of the new MS suite have difficulty rendering any particular
    > sort of text, then that would be hardly surprising for applications
    > that haven't even been released yet and any rough edges, if they
    > exist, would be tidied up in due course.
    Rendering of complex and bidi scripts is not a rough edge to be tidied
    up in due course. It is a major system enhancement with considerable
    complexity. We can hope that MS will do this to MacOffice (and MS has
    been under great pressure to do so, including anti-trust action and a
    government boycott in Israel), but no indication has been given that
    this can be expected soon.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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