[B-Greek] Re: Comparing Unicode fonts
John H. Jenkins
jenkins at apple.com
Wed Feb 9 18:54:34 EST 2005
On Feb 9, 2005, at 3:27 PM, William Zeitler wrote:
> Unicode is the wave of the future. The only question is how quickly,
> not IF.
> The reason it was developed was not for us polytonic Greek folks, etc.
> was developed because of the practical problem of the vast variety of
> on the WORLD WIDE web that need to display their alphabets/glyphs in
> native languages as well as others.
Just a slight historical correction. Unicode actually predates the
rise of the Internet by some years. The original development was
driven by two things: one is the need of scholars to produce texts in
multiple languages, but the main motive was purely economic. Companies
producing software which they wanted to market in more than one country
often found they had to engage in an lengthy and expensive process of
rewriting their software because of the differences in the ways that
computers handled different languages. As a trivial example, lazy
programmers often assumed that you could change lower-case letter to
upper-case letters by simply subtracting a fixed number. Searching
through source code for cases like that and fixing them was a huge
Cross-platform document interchange was a consideration, but a
comparatively minor one because few people in the late 1980's and early
1990's were doing much of that. Once the World Wide Web took off,
however, Unicode was already in a position to solve that problem, too.
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