From: Chris Pratley (
Date: Fri Apr 21 2000 - 18:40:16 EDT

I'd like to clarify a common misconception. Win2000 is not required to
*view* Hindi and Tamil with IE5. You do need Win2000 to get Hindi and Tamil
input and support in other applications. If you install the Indic package
for IE5 you can view Tamil and Hindi web pages on Win95, Win98, NT4, etc.

Chris Pratley
Group Program Manager
Microsoft Word

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: April 21, 2000 2:18 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: RE: Sick HTML

> 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 ~ 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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