Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Fri Aug 18 2006 - 01:24:41 CDT

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    Richard Wordingham <richard dot wordingham at ntlworld dot com> wrote:

    > For unsupported complex scripts on Windows, surely Unicode does have a
    > crippling effect. I hope the crippling will be chipped away
    > completely, but I fear some scripts will depend on Microsoft's charity
    > if they are to get the full benefit of Unicode. Or does Vista allow
    > non-Microsoft layout definitions for complex scripts?

    By that you must mean "user-defined layout definitions." Do you have
    anything in particular in mind?

    Also, John Jenkins' glib remark notwithstanding, Microsoft does not have
    to have a complete monopoly of the way Unicode text is rendered. Before
    there was Uniscribe, there was SC UniPad, which could at least render
    RTL Hebrew and connected, RTL Arabic. That was better than what had
    come before. Unicode is not a platform-dependent technology.

    > The general refusal to encode more precomposed characters for the
    > Latin script will also have added to the view of Unicode as
    > restrictive, though these problems seem to be about to vanish for new
    > computers.

    No comment.

    > However, for complex scripts, Unicode plus Uniscribe will be
    > restrictive. How will Windows users add new characters to their
    > complex scripts? Hack fonts provided a solution - the Private Use
    > Area seems not to be an adequate replacement.

    Incomplete though they may be, Uniscribe (and non-Windows equivalents)
    are a far more portable and available solution than hack fonts and
    private encodings.

    Doug Ewell
    Fullerton, California, USA

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