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i18n technologies and linguistic minorities (was Re: International business communications and Unicode)

From: <Peter_Constable@sil.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 08:27:53 -0500
To: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFFA6786DC.826BE612-ON86256AB1.0048F725@sil.org>

>> If you look at implimentations of unicode in OS and software, you'll
find that
>> linguistic minorities have been even more marginalised.
>How has Unicode made this problem worse?  India isn't a marginal market,
>but its writing systems are just plain difficult: it's no wonder that
>commercial software has plucked the low-hanging fruit.
><plug>Linux does quite a bit better, BTW.</plug>

Our Graphite technology means that anyone capable of creating fonts
(relatively speaking, quite a number among linguistic minorities) can
implement support for *any* horizontal writing system (one eventually
vertical) in applications that use the Graphite rendering engine. This was
developed specifically with the needs of linguistic minorities in mind.

The Graphite technology is available as open-source code, and one group
have begun work on a Unix port.

To illustrate the power of the 3rd party-extensibility, last week I met a
Sumeriologist who is trying to promote interest in standardising the
encoding of Sumerian Cuneiform, and he used Graphite to create a working
prototype smart-font to handle the contextual forms and ligatures. Short of
a custom, hard-coded application, Graphite is the only technology available
on Windows that could make that possible. Then only other existing
technology on any platform is Apple's AAT.

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485
E-mail: <peter_constable@sil.org>
Received on Thursday, 23 August 2001 09:33:23 UTC

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