Re: Default rendering of Combining diacritical marks

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2006 - 00:18:33 CST

  • Next message: John Hudson: "Re: Default rendering of Combining diacritical marks"

    From: "Peter Constable" <>
    > For certain reasons to do with back-compat, it's unlikely that we would back-port new versions of core fonts as part of a general-distro release such as a service pack -- this will cause serious issues especially for enterprise customers. There might be a possibility that individual users will be able to license the updated fonts through Ascender (, though I'm not positive about that.

    Two things about such font sellers:
    * their price per font is quite expensive when compared to the set of fonts available in Windows.
    * the font samples anddesciption do not exhibit full version details, so a Windows user does not even know if the font provided there is really a newer update of a Windows core font, or if it was backported from an older version of Windows. For example, the samples for Latin fonts do not exhibit the complex cases such as Vietnamese letters with multiple diacritics.

    Buying a font from them can thus become risky and useless. So if Microsoftaccepts to licence its core fonts to font vendors, it should requirethat they exhibit the Windows version from which they derive, or enough information about font coverage (notably for the fonts made for general purpose like "Times New Roman", "Arial", "Tahoma", "Verdana" and "Lucida" which are very common in documents and on the web)

    But for most users that just want to be able to "surf" the web with their own language, and be able to use common word processors for documents with goodquality print, an expensive font is not a solution. Some countries have understood that problem andhelp their own linguistic communities by designing fonts for their languages, and distributing them freely on their governmental or educational websites.

    Microsoft should help and promote such national or international initiatives. I understand that it's not the job of Microsoft (or Apple, IBM, Sun, RedHat...) of offering free fonts with many designs. But providing a small set of general purpose fonts that support most languages and scripts is certainly something needed to facilitate the use of computers, with the most common softwares and operating systems, by the largest communities.

    The case of dots below or above Latin letters is significant of the case of a large community of African languages (as well as Maltese in Europe) that have been forgotten, pushing their languages to deviate largely from their accepted orthographies, only because of technical limitations in the platforms they use. Same remark about Amharic, and several scripts of South-East Asia that have millions of speakers, but too few writers due to the difficulties to produce and exchange documents in written in these languages.

    Absence of decent support for these language/script pairs participates to the numeric divide between writers of major languages, and other people that legitimately want to preserve their cultural heritage using modern technologies (that would help them reduce the cost of production and transmission of those languages, including for education).

    So, all standardized characters of the BMP, and their combinations used in modern languages, should be supported by most platforms, as soon as possible (because the numeric division is now largely accelerating the erosion of endangered languages and cultures).

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