Yahoo Messenger & Unicode: some observations

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Sun Nov 05 2006 - 14:35:40 CST

  • Next message: Behnam: "Re: Yahoo Messenger & Unicode: some observations"

    I encountered an unexpected problem in trying some extended Latin, Arabic,
    Ethiopic/Ge'ez, and Chinese characters on Yahoo Messenger (Beta)
    The only ones that did not appear on my screen and on that of Daniel Yacob
    (who kindly gave me feedback on the test messages I was sending) were the
    extended Latin ones. Actually they appeared as empty squares on both sides.


    I have several "Unicode fonts" on the system I'm running, though, and would
    have expected the software to pick up the needed characters from one of them
    (letters that the default font - Arial - didn't have). After all the
    software apparently did that with the Arabic (in correct RTL order) and
    Ethiopic characters. Introducing Chinese characters, which displayed fine
    also, changed the Latin font in subsequent text messages until I pasted in
    some Ethiopic (not sure of geopolitical implications in all that).


    After tinkering with the default fonts I did get some different results.
    Latin extended are fine on my screen, but now the Ethiopic is empty squares
    in the editing box (wasn't that way previously) but does appear properly in
    the dialogue window once sent.


    On the other hand, Daniel reports that he still sees the empty squares
    instead of the extended Latin characters (which, by the way, are the Hausa
    ones that are shown in an old test screen at - I copied and pasted).


    Daniel also mentioned another issue with Yahoo Messenger that he has
    encountered - one cannot compose from a Keyman keyboard. So, for instance,
    IM in Amharic needs to be typed in another application (with an appropriate
    font and Keyman keyboard) and then pasted into the edit window of the


    All this is not to cut down Yahoo Messenger, but to point out some problems
    in using it with extended and non-Latin scripts. I personally am curious to
    understand better why it couldn't pick up a few hooked letters in a Latin
    font while it did so well with Arabic, Ethiopic and Chinese - this reminds
    me of an old impression nearly forgotten that in some ways the extended
    Latin character ranges (and languages that employ them) fall in the cracks
    between the worldwide use of the dominant European character sets and the
    demand in many countries to meet the technical challenges of non-Latin


    TIA for any feedback.



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