Effectiveness of locale support (was: Re: Custom source samples)

Marcel Schneider charupdate at orange.fr
Wed Sep 2 12:30:34 CDT 2015

I donʼt want to pull interminable threads, and I even thought of leaving the List, thinking not to have anything else to contribute. But finally Iʼm pleased to stay tuned and would like to draw your attention to a topic I brought in when I committed myself to dig up some full answer to why people are prevented taking full control over their keyboard layout. And as itʼs about locale support, this old-new issue even meets the core of Unicode, and Iʼm hopeful that it would make a good thread.

Iʼve formally promised to stop definitely criticizing other peopleʼs work on the Unicode Mailing List. So Iʼve worked hard to turn this into a constructive comment. 

As we know and have been refreshed by the two cited blog posts (which I donʼt cite again...), French speaking users in Québec are not fully granted the means of writing their language, as the keyboard layout preferred by the OEMs and their OS supplier (and pretendedly by the local population, but thatʼs untrue, they just arenʼt given the choice) does not allow to write French. The most outstanding default is that the French letter œŒ is missing.

These two blog posts are seemingly just the icebergʼs top of that criticism of other peopleʼs work that must be current practice among Appleʼs competitors when the matter is what keyboard to offer in Québec. The funny side is that they do worse, not better (while they should), thus missing precisely what is commonly supposed to be the condition of any criticism.

So *if* they want to insist on selling that keyboard theyʼre selling, then they *at least* have to add Œœ on AltGr+Oo, and Ææ on AltGr+Aa. [They must have been told this quite a number of times. Voilà once more, in the case theyʼre monitoring this Mailing List.]

About the alternative so-called French traditional layout that ships with Windows for use in Canada, thereʼs to say that to make it at least Latin-1, one should re-add the superscript two that seems to have been replaced with the at sign (while superscript one and three are there), and the masculine ordinal indicator that seems to have been replaced with the micro sign (while the feminine ordinal indicator is there). And to make it Latin-9 and definitely Unicode, one should add the Œœ ligature e.g. on the Èè key which is empty on AltGr at this time.

I wonder whether they noticed the criticism of locale keyboard support flowing in at Microsoft that is mirrored in this blog post:

IMHO one cannot do such a bad job AND bully the Canadian Multilingual Standard keyboard at the same time, Iʼm sure everybody agrees. (Please see my next e-mail. To avoid sending one too long e-mail, Iʼve splitted the stuff in two.)

Nevertheless, whatever utterings are very useful to decrypt to learn about the inner thoughts that finally determine what companies are doing or not doing, regardless of the companiesʼ size. Itʼs like French etnographer Germaine Tillion said in an interview: One must *understand* what oppresses you. And she related this to her personal interpretation of the verb “to exist” (based on its Latin etymology).

This recalls me that French people in Canada are a minority. Actually, Québec is likely to be overrun by the road-roller of uniformization and big business that is eager to shape the market to make it fit into its business strategy, its stock flow management, by removing key #102, the Applications key, and actually the Right Control key. Too long a space bar, poor ergonomics (with Right Alt too much to the right). And by unsupporting the Canadian Multilingual keyboard.

Would Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and the other manufacturers, please grant Québec full support, and help it to fully exist?


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