Unicode, was Re: [b-hebrew] Eden & Rivers - Genesis 2:10

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon May 16 07:03:50 EDT 2005

On 15/05/2005 05:41, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Not only the email clients, but some OS are not unicode aware yet.

I don't think this is true of the latest version of any general purpose 
OS which is currently being supported. The issue is rather that some 
people are continuing to use old and often unsupported versions of OSs. 
Of course these old versions will never become Unicode aware, they will 
just become more and more obsolete. This is like people who continue to 
drive a Model T Ford complaining that not all cars have air 
conditioning, and even suggesting that Ford does not provide air 
conditioning. If you want air conditioning, you need to buy a modern 
car, from Ford or almost any other manufacturer. Similarly with software.

Anyway, it is perfectly possible to run a Unicode aware mail client on 
an OS which is not Unicode aware.

>Many people are still running older versions  of Windows™ on their computers, which are not unicode compliant. ...

Is anyone on this list still running Windows 3.1 or older? Although 
Windows 95 and 98 do not provide native Unicode support, when Internet 
Explorer 5 or later is installed on such a system Unicode (and 
right-to-left script) support is added to the system, providing full 
support for reading Unicode e-mail and web pages, although support for 
composing in Unicode is limited.

>... Until recently I was running OS 9 on my 11 year old Macintosh, which had separately installed language packs—the Hebrew which I had installed could read and write the consonants, but some of the vowels threw it for a loop. ...

For better or for worse, an 11 year old computer is as obsolete as a 
Model T Ford.

>... Now it’s running OS X.2 which is better.

And which has full system level Unicode support, including for Hebrew 
(although sadly only a limited number of applications make use of that 

>I understand that WindowsXP is Unicode aware so you can use it to read Hebrew, but I don’t know how to use it to type Hebrew.

I do. If anyone needs to know, please ask me.

>The latest versions of GNOME and KDE on Linux are unicode aware, at least for reading. But I haven’t tried them for writing Hebrew. But some people running Linux prefer using text based shells which are ASCII only.

Not true. I am not an expert here, but as I understand it text based 
shells use the system locale, which can be set to Unicode UTF-8. But 
there are problems with Hebrew because the text based shells do not 
support right to left.

>On the web things are not as clean. From a Macintosh, those versions requiring a SBL font do not look good in either Camino or Safari browsers. ...

This is because the SBL font is explicitly intended only for use on Windows.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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