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Re: Guessing "correct" character set (was: [CSS21] response to issue

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 20:08:57 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200402222008.i1MK8vQ00233@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

>  I beg to disagree with your pessimistic view of UTF-8 for Indian 
> scripts. First of all, you don't need Windows XP for the proper Indic 

I hope you are right, but..

> script support. Windows 2k works just as well for Devanagari,

Windows 2K is sold as a business OS only, whereas the main reason for
having Indian language web sites in local languages is for domestic use
(English is the working language, in part because there are two completely
different language families in India: Indo-European and Dravidian), so
any business intending to go beyond state level probably uses English.
XP Home Edition is the first domestic market OS with Unicode support
supplied (it's available for IE and Outlook Express on 95 through ME,
but you have to actively use Windows Update to get non-European fonts
on US Engish versions).

> Tamil and a few other Indic scripts. As you wrote, there are more work 
> to do, but Devanagari, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali cover quite a large 

Interestingly, XP doesn't seem to have Bengali, or(?) Malayalam!

> wrote, there shouldn't be a problem with earlier versions of Windows 
> because MS IE 5.5(?) (and soon, Mozilla, too) or later can render Indic 
> scripts perfectly well on Windows 9x/ME with opentype fonts installed. 

My fear here is that the businesses aimed at the domestic market, which
is the local language market, are, like most web businesses, not very
technically aware, and already have a solution in terms of glyph
fonts.  For IE, they may just may be able to make a simple switch,
as they are already downloading fonts (and for NS4).

Considering the ex-patriate market for Chinese, people are using
third party Chinese environments still, even though they have
Windows XP, as, like most domestic users, they have no idea of
the true capabilities of the software they use, and the grapevine
tells them to use these products.  (They may still be of value
for sophisticated users.)

>   My sample might be biased/skewed/limited, but  most Indian people I 
> met on the net seem to think that UTF-8 is the way to go and they're 

I suspect your sample is based on technically sophisticated users,
rather than home users and the businesses that serve them.

> actually making changes. I have seen some Tamil speakers having issues 
> with UTF-8, but that's about it.

I'd be interested if you can find me one significant site that has
Unicode Gujarati (I even found one that was pure, alt free, text
as images).  The only one I found was the sampler page for
the UTF-8 output from ITRANS, which just had "Gujaraati" in the 
script.  My impression was that the same was true of Hindi, except
for the external sites of the BBC and Google.   Google doesn't offer
either language as a search language choice.

>   Unfortunately, this is true. Especially the case in countries like 
> Korea where the dominance of MS Windows and MS IE is at such a high 

It's very true in the UK as well.
Received on Sunday, 22 February 2004 15:32:50 UTC

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