Date: Fri Apr 21 2000 - 05:17:41 EDT

> AFAIK clients using IE and running Win2K with Devanagari and
> Tamil fonts etc.
> installed should be able to view properly encoded pages for
> those scripts
> properly - and hopefully people using other operating systems
> and other free
> browsers will be able to do so in the very near future.

OK. A great work is being carried out to support Indian languages,
especially by Microsoft and Apple people. Something may already be used
right now (e.g., IE's support for Hindi and Tamil), by some adventurous
users, and all the rest will arrive soon.

What I meant is that it's a little bit too early to blame people using older

> Even if there is no
> system to render them correctly, properly encoded pages for
> these scripts
> provide useful test data for people trying to build such
> applications and fonts.

Sorry, this is a completely wrong perspective! Readers of, say, an on-line
newspaper in Telugu need *readable* text, in order to be able to get their
news. They don't know (and don't care!) whether the text encoding is
"correct" by the point of view of i18n specialists.

Of course, there may be other kinds of people who may need *sample* text,
for sole the purpose of testing rendering engines. These people is only
interested in the text's *encoding*, not in its content (that, in fact, is
typically the incipit of some classic book, or silly phrases like "The quick
brown fox jumped over the lazy dog").

> > - links to *free* fonts supporting Indic scripts (*really*
> supporting them,
> > not just the glyphs needed for making Unicode charts);
> There are a number of public domain Indic script fonts
> available and the
> software tools needed to convert them to OT are also
> available at no cost.
> (Microsoft's
> > - links to *free* browsers supporting Indic scripts now
> (*really* supporting
> > them, no compromises please);
> > - links to *free or very cheap* software to automatically
> convert existing
> > HTML text from the currently used "font-base encoding" to Unicode;
> Since font based encodings tend not to follow any recognized standard,
> off-the-shelf converters are going to be hard to find - but
> PERL is good for
> this sort of thing.
This is all great, and there is reasonable hope that these open technologies
will soon bring Unicode on every desktop. But, right now, you cannot ask
that the average HTML author suddenly becomes a skilled programmer *and*
font designer *and* i18n specialist.

> > - links to *free or very cheap* authoring tools to write
> HTML pages in Indic
> > scripts.
> You can write HTML pages with UTF-8 characters using almost
> any text editor.

True, very handy, I do it all the time. But I still sometimes have problems
remembering whether म is Devanagari "ma" and マ is Katakana "ka" -- or
was it the other way round? :-)

> BTW why does everything have to be *free or very cheap*? -

Everything that the end user has to download must be free, for obvious
commercial reasons. Would you imagine the webmaster of the Telugu on-line
newspaper above telling his readers: "Notice: starting from tomorrow we will
finally switch to Unicode. So, if you still want your news, please go out
and buy the following list of software products, for a total of US$ 500"!?

But, about authoring tools, maybe I have been a little bit utopist, and you
have a good part of reason. I was thinking at small independent web authors
that cannot afford spending big amounts. But I admit that I did not
considers small and independent font and software vendors, that need to be
paid to survive.

_ Marco

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