Legacyfont S&D? (Re: Reality check - non-Unicode ...)

From: Don Osborn (dzo@bisharat.net)
Date: Mon Aug 21 2006 - 22:06:13 CDT

  • Next message: Eric Muller: "Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005"

    Hi Daniel, all,

    There are probably some good technofix approaches possible, at least to alerting a computer user to what kinds of fonts s/he has & lacks on the system. A computer technician from Burkina Faso named Serge Bama suggested in the context of a discussion about telecenters last year, a website that you could log onto which would run a check on your computer, something like an antivirus or antispyware update site. Or the W3C page that will analyze your webpage coding. The idea as I see it would be mainly to scan the font directory and inform the computer operator what they'd need in terms of fonts various languages in their (selected) location.

    Taking it the step further to remapping (presumably after clicking confirm!) might be interesting, especially if, as you seem to suggest, it's a kind of a Unicode makeover utility that one downloads for free and that permits adjusting what it does (so it won't zap all those files in Klingon, for instance).

    Doug made the point that some of these shifts to Unicode happen by not only computer by computer, but, in effect by application or even by technology. That's certainly true, but the reality in parts of the world, including much of Africa, is that legacyfonts live on today, on individual computers, many of which are older. Their ongoing use complicates efforts to use various languages on computers and the internet today, and leaves more of a mess to sort out later. (The example from Guinea is just one.) In the long run, maybe all these old systems and fonts will be obsolescent, but in the meantime persistance of legacyfonts is a problem.

    A note of clarification since I don't recall if you discussed this much online, Daniel. As I understand from earlier conversations, the persistence of legacyfonts is also a problem in Ethiopic/Ge'ez. I wonder what's happening in this regard with other scripts - is there an overview of the "state of unicode" by script (that is, beyond whether it is encoded, i.e., outstanding issues with users, adoption vis--vis persistence of legacyfonts, etc.)?


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Daniel Yacob" <unicode@geez.org>
    To: <a12n-collaboration@bisharat.net>; <dzo@bisharat.net>;
    Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 3:23 PM
    Subject: Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005

    > Don,
    > I certainly concur with the points you've raised, to put it mildly. Over
    > the years I've ended up with the perspective that a campaign on the scale
    > of something like Polio erradication is what it is needed to make the
    > world wide transition to unicode. Ultimately it happens one computer at
    > a time, and one office at a time. Perhaps the software antivirus model
    > can be applied to help in the migration away from the pre-Unicode
    > enodoings. Imagine an antivirus update that found non-Unicode fonts
    > on your system and remapped them, then found documents using the fonts
    > and reencoded them. Hazardous sure, but backups could be made, etc.
    > there really is no easy way its going to happen...
    > /Daniel

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