Re: Greek characters in IPA usage

From: David Starner (
Date: Tue Aug 18 2009 - 19:08:12 CDT

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    On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 5:51 AM, Julian
    Bradfield<> wrote:
    > Hmm. What percentage of the population of Morocco, Bangladesh,
    > Nepal have access to a computer? (< 1% among poor Bangladeshis, for example).

    The United Arab Emirates, which is part of that world I mentioned
    between Morocco and Bangladesh, has five million people with a GDP per
    capita well above that of the US or UK. I assume some of them can
    afford a computer. Which is not to mention the number of Arab
    immigrants to Western Europe and the United States who have access to

    > We all *can*, by
    > porting, or paying somebody else to port, all our existing materials
    > to the latest fashion, and then learning to use the latest fashion,
    > despite the decades of efficency savings obtained by knowing the old
    > ones well. Neither I nor my employers think that a good use of my time
    > or their money.
    >As I've said before: BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY!

    This decision, either way, is completely backwards compatible.
    Provided you don't update to the latest fashion, your system will work
    exactly the same way it always has. The only question is whether the
    latest fashion, which you here deny an interest in, will be based on a
    concern for running on your system.

    > (b) Everybody who can't afford to replace or upgrade computers every
    >    couple of years. That's what, 60% of the world population?

    Hyperbole. I'm working on a five-year old computer. I have to fight
    with new fancy websites like Facebook sometimes, but comes up as fast and as memory-light as its
    English counterpart. Nobody who has problems running Pango is browsing
    the web with a graphic webbrowser.

    >    Even here in the developed world I know people for whom a computer
    >    is a once a decade (at most) luxury.

    It's hard to argue with personal experience, but it doesn't match what
    I'm seeing at all. Around here, $400 will get you a brand-new computer
    with monitor, and you can save a hundred bucks or so by getting the
    monitor used. Living on the edge of poverty and working with people
    who do, that's far from an insurmountable expense to pay annually. If
    it's really a once a decade luxury, I seriously doubt it matters to
    you enough that you care about the fine points of IPA typography.

    > For the last (almost) twenty years, I've been using the same core
    > application. In the last ten years, that application has changed
    > hardly at all. It predates Unicode, but now sort of supports it; it
    > far predates Pango, and I see little prospect of anybody doing the
    > massive job of porting it to Pango in the foreseeable future - quite
    > apart from the fact that that would introduce lots of dependencies on
    > rapidly changing software.

    How poorly designed can you get? Even twenty years ago, they knew
    better than to intertwine the interface with the core code. If it were
    properly coded, it wouldn't be a massive job.

    > You're telling me that I and all the others who've actually been using
    > computers to do our work, should throw away our decades of investment,
    > and use some horrible new piece of bloatware instead!

    I'm telling you that if you want the fanciest new features, you need
    to be prepared to update your code for them. If you're happy with the
    features you have, then you don't need to throw anything away. But
    it's just not reasonable to ask everyone to twist and mangle every new
    feature so that it works on every system that "sort of supports"
    Unicode, especially when that feature is largely cosmetic.

    Kie ekzistas vivo, ekzistas espero.

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