RE: Default rendering of Combining diacritical marks

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2006 - 03:11:05 CST

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    > From: Philippe Verdy []

    >> 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 license fees that Ascender charges is very much in line with what license fees for top quality fonts are from other font vendors. For instance, Adobe charges $29 per font; Monotype Imaging charges a bit more.

    Users get a great deal of value just in fonts alone when they buy a license to 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.

    Ascender's web site has clearly-identified contact info. I'm sure if you tried contacting them they would clarify any questions you might have regarding the character set, glyph inventory or OpenType Layout support of any of the fonts that they make available.

    > Buying a font from them can thus become risky and useless.

    Not at all.

    > 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

    The site makes fairly clear statements regarding character coverage.

    > 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.

    ?! That statement makes no logical sense.

    > 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.

    If you are looking for free fonts, I've already provided references to a couple of very good font families that are available from SIL at no charge.

    > 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.

    Microsoft *is* providing general purpose fonts that support most languages and scripts with every single copy of Windows.

    > 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).

    I think there is no debate that Microsoft has done more than any other software vendor to support a wide variety of modern languages, both major and minor.

    Peter Constable

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