[B-Greek] Re: Comparing Unicode fonts
william at faithfulbible.com
Wed Feb 9 19:50:47 EST 2005
>Unicode actually predates the rise of the Internet by some years.
Yes, of course it does. Unicode is one of those technologies that has been
around a while that is now coming into its own due to 1) storage costs per
byte are incredibly cheaper than they were a decade or three ago (unicode
representations of text take more space than ASCII/MBCS), and, 2)
globalization has become a veritable tsunami (of which the world wide web is
the poster child).
I was just trying to address the assertion that unicode is a
'pseudo-solution'. Understanding the problem domain it addresses -- all
human alphabets past and present (!!!) -- is helpful. (And -- to me --
inspiring in a way!) "Ten fonts" [sic -- I'm guessing the author meant 'ten
typefaces'] will not address the problem domain that unicode addresses -- a
domain that also happily address us folks who care about this thing called
'polytonic Greek text'. And Hebrew. And Estrangelo. I observe the amount of
discussion on email threads like this about such a fundamental practical
problem as how to display the very character set we're all trying to use.
And I observe that virtually every email on this thread resorts to that ugly
ASCII equivalence of 'theta' = 'Q', 'eta' = 'H', and I just shake my head at
how primitive it is. And I too use the same ugly schema because we're in
that ugly in-between period between the old technology and the new. (Some
new technologies are 'solutions in search of a problem', but unicode is not
in that category.)
I personally have not entirely converted to unicode yet. I deeply appreciate
the agony involved. But in the very near future we'll be able to have
(ancient) polytonic Greek next to Klingon next to Kanji in the same document
with nary a thought. On this very email group! Imagine! Then we won't need
to waste any more brain cpu-cycles or emails on issues like this!
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of John H. Jenkins
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 3:55 PM
To: B-Greek List
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Re: Comparing Unicode fonts
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.
B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
B-Greek mailing list
B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
More information about the B-Greek