Re: gdk_set_locale

Pablo Saratxaga wrote:

> Kaixo!
> On Mon, Jan 17, 2000 at 08:44:26AM +0800, Steve Underwood wrote:
> > > In addition to fallbacks, and before them; there should be the possibility
> > > to create "virtual fonts".
> > > Often glyphs of some fonts go very well together, but the fonts have
> > > different names. It would be nice to allow the user to make some aliases.
> > > Eg: I would prefer, when the font specified is "Bodoni", to be able to
> > > specify ".VnBodoni" as a the font to use for vietnamese chars; rather
> > I think there is an obvious basis for the first basic global Unicode font.
> No, no, that has been discussed endless times; a unicode font (that is all
> into a single file) has almost no chances at all to exist. THere will allways
> be some glyphs out of it (remember unicode standard is still evolving),
> and more important: it will be ugly ! as different cultures have different
> expectations on the global look and feel of some glyphs (the vietnamese
> accents or the han ideographs come to mind as one of such cases).

Much of the argument against a unified font comes from Unicode V1, which seems to have
been designed to be as un-global as any global character set could be. Its much less
relevent to V2.1 and V3.

Having seen some VISCII systems running last year in Hanoi, I don't think the
Vietnamese problem is any worse than any other Latin script language that couldn't
resist the complication of adding accent marks. I believe Vietnamese through Unicode
is little different, but its not an area I know much about. The Unihan argument is
really quite bogus. It was _very_ true of Unicode 1, which merged traditional Chinese
characters with their simplified equivalents. Unicode 2.1 has these largely
unravelled, and I think Unicode 3 is completely clean. I am unaware whether there
remain any Chinese characters merged with Japanese which are written differently.
There are no "stylistic" problems using the same font for simplified and traditional
Chinese. They only formally diverged in the 1950's, and styles have not changed. There
appears to be some stylistic difference between Chinese and Japanese, but nothing
disasterous. In fact, I see some very standard Chinese fonts used in Japanese books.
Bottom line - the anti-unified font agrument is a gross exagerration.

> On the other hand, local, hig quality fonts will be available (and are
> available) for given glyph collections.
> So the user must have the possibility to define the best combinaison
> of such glyph collections; in particular if he wants to override some glyphs
> of a unicode font with others from another he must be able to do so quite
> easily.

Local high quality fonts will always be essential. There is not meaningful Chinese
equivalent of the more exotic Romance scripts, and vice-versa. The unified font is
just a guaranteed readable fall-back. A less than less than perfect, but readable,
display is a _huge_ step up from gibberish.

> > Times
> > Roman is the traditional font for English language newspapers. Other Latin
> > language newspapers seem to use a similar font. Around the world, newspapers all
> > seems to have a basic common font for their particular language. Just combine the
> > "standard newspaper" font from every language and you have a workable meaningful
> > global Unicode font. Since these fonts are all widely used, there should be
> > computer versions widely (and probably freely) available, which can be merged
> > into the new font - The Times Global.
> Such a default font can be useful; but it is onyl that: a poor default font.
> Allmost anyone will use other fotns, better suited to their needs.

I think "poor default" is a gross exageration. I am only proposing a basic
comprehensive font, which can exist on all machines and ensure something meaningful is
always displayed. I won't be perfect in all cases, but it will be perfectly readable
in 99.9%. Without such a font we will always face the problem of material which is
unreadable. If I am sent an e-mail in Hindi it makes little difference to me whether
accurate Devanagiri or gibberish is displayed. However, there is probably someone
around the building who can help me if the e-mail displays as readable Hindi. I think
that is important.

Roman Czyborra has the right idea. His attempt at a comprehensive GNU/Unicode font is
great. In order to increase coverage rapidly he is less concerned about style than
coverage. That's the right choice for now. My notion of a Times Global font is simply
a basis on which to construct a longer term high quality (probably OpenType)
comprehensive fall-back font.


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