Free Unicode Indic (Was: Sick HTML)

From: Antoine Leca (
Date: Thu Apr 20 2000 - 12:20:43 EDT wrote:
> Would you thus be so kind to provide:
> - links to *free* browsers supporting Indic scripts now (*really* supporting
> them, no compromises please);

<URL:> ? Sorry ;-)

As I said some days ago, supporting other scripts than Devanagari and Tamil
is just a matter from Microsoft to provide the correct version of USP10.DLL

> - links to *free or very cheap* software to automatically convert existing
> HTML text from the currently used "font-base encoding" to Unicode;

I would not see the problem in this way.

I do not believe anyone is designing HTML pages directly in "font-based
encoding", but rather use some more suitable encoding/translitteration
scheme first. So the origin should be back-tracked one step from
"font-based encoding" to the format used for the contents.

Now some tries:
  ISCII : this is very easy to do
  ITrans : I am sure that if you ask A. Chopde, you'll got the answer very
    quickly; now if this is not yet done, my understanding is that there
    are no real market for the moment...
  CS/CSX : probably easy to do (John Smith's scripts csx2iscii is certainly
    easy to adapt to Unicode)

This is work in progress, but given the weight of Microsoft, I see a
definitive move toward the use of Unicode for Indic scripts. Font-based
encoding was a suitable solution some years ago, and embeeding fonts
was even nicer; but the process to build the pages burdens too much,
and I cannot see why authors will not make the move when tools will
become widely available.

So we end up with te problem of the fonts. Designing good fonts is not
an easy task (I know what I say), then hand hinting is mandatory if
you want to stay readable on screen (another full-time job), and there
is always the problem of piracy, so at the end the result is that free
fonts are more often crappy than beautiful. If you constraint the field
by asking for fonts for a specific scrits, it is quite normal in my
eyes that the result of your quest appears empty.

BUT converting an already designed Indic font for the Indic OpenType
format is NOT a difficult task (in particular with the soon-to-be-
released Visual OpenType Layout Tool from Microsoft). An moderately
complex font should be converted in less than one day by a (skilled)
enginneer, I think.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:02 EDT