From: Ed Trager (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Apr 11 2007 - 11:02:20 CST
On 4/11/07, firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> wrote:
> At the risk of being shot down in flames, as a Linux user I could
> suggest an answer -- one might describe Unicode support for a OS as
> the proportion of software that supports certain advanced features of
> Unicode out of the box. What is advanced changes with time. Regarding
> software the unicode supoort of the out of the box text editor, word
> processor, web browser, spread sheet and terminal is what I would
> usually look at first.
However let's not forget that different users will have widely
differing criteria on what they consider important Unicode support.
For example, most general computer users probably don't use a terminal
and therefore good Unicode support in a terminal would be irrelevant
to them, even though it is important to you (and it turns out it is
important to me as well. But I probably don't fit the category of an
"ordinary" computer user).
> When Mac OS updates then tend to update across
> the board, which means it always scores well on such criteria. Windows
> does not seem to do across the board updates, I am not sure why this
> is. The same could also be said of Linux, the cause being that Linux
> has many independent developers.
> Back in 2002 a good criteria was surrogate support at which point in
> time all the main applications on Mac OS supported surrogates, the
> same could not be said for Windows or Linux.
Since we are talking across OSes, it's probably better to say "support
beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane". How many people really need
support for Plane 1 characters, for example? Not that many, right?
But wait : ... By far the most important Plane 1 script in my mind is
Osmanya since this is a script that is still actively used for writing
the Somali language. A revival in the use of this script may yet
occur once Somalia is able to extract itself from years of civil war
and clan strife.
The script surely has potential to become a unifying force in a
modern, post-war Somalia if only the deep-rooted history of clan
factionalism can be subdued in the name of a unified nation as had
been the dream of Somalis back in the 1960's.
(The original 1960's dream of a Western-style democratic state in
Somalia is probably no longer the prevaling dream among the younger
generation now. The dream now is perhaps more likely for a unified
Islamic state. The dream of a creating a national Islamic state has
the same powerful lure and ability (as did the dream of democracy) to
unify people in brotherhood across clan lines. Osmanya could likewise
serve an immense unifying role in creating and substantiating a
national identity that transcends clan factionalism.)
With the advent of modern telecommunication service (cell phones) even
Somalia today, and the enabling power of modern computers, the
internet, and Unicode to permit the dissemination and printing of
information in almost any script, I think it is not too far off the
mark to imagine a Somalia of tomorrow in which Osmanya is widely used
as an officially-sanctioned national script for the Somali language.
We will just have to wait and see if the confluence of circumstances
and the spark of the collective Somali imagination will result in such
an occurence. (But either way, we can congratulate Michael Everson
already, for it appears to me from my reading of Somali-related
internet forums that he is already a national hero for his work on
So, in conclusion, you are right: OS support beyond the BMP is
crucially important, and we can imagine it becoming even more
important within the short span of a few years, especially in Africa
where other African scripts await encoding within Unicode.
> Other criteria one could use are support for variation selectors, or
> stacking diacritics. On windows one could also add which criteria
> which applications support fall back fonts.
What about really good support, right out-of-the-box, for input
methods for major languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean? And
what about having easily-installed or easily turned-on keyboard
layouts for every script encoded in Unicode? What about having at
least one good font for each of those scripts, right out-of-the box?
These areas of basic functionality would rate very highly on my list.
And I think they are very important to general computer users.
In conclusion, I think Peter Constable's excellent question on how to
describe "the best Unicode support of any OS out there" can best be
answered by creating a web page which *objectively* describes support
for various aspects of "Unicode support" on the three major OSes: Mac
OS X, Windows, and Linux.
Such a web site would in fact be very useful to a large number of
people. But of course it is a bit of work :-).
And it is also hard to find people who are truly objective -- too many
of us --myself included!-- are often too "passionate" about one OS or
another. Most often it is the OS that we have settled on using the
most. Or in some people's cases, on this mailing list certainly, it
is the OS they've hacked on the most because of their employment
status within one of the major OS vendors or within some related
- Ed Trager
> Quoting Peter Constable <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> > From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > On Behalf Of Marnen Laibow-Koser
> >> Also, Mac OS X probably has
> >> the best Unicode support of any OS out there
> > I'm curious: how would you describe "the best Unicode support of any
> > OS out there"?
> > Peter
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Apr 11 2007 - 11:05:00 CST