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8-Bit font Doesn't Work across platforms!!
I have a Mac, and I have implemented Inaimathi on it, so that I can read
mail composed with Muthu's system on Eudora. Surprise -- IT DOESN'T WORK!
After being totally confused for a few days, I have figured out the
following (using Virtual PC on the Mac so that I can send mail to and from
both Windows and Mac environments).
All of the following applies to anjal (and/or Inaimathi, which has the same
coding) -- and only the Tamil part of the fonts (the upper 128):
1. Mac to Mac is OK.
2. PC to PC is OK.
3. Mac to PC or PC to Mac produces garbage (apparently), BUT
4. If you take the garbage produced by 3 and send it back, that is, if you
send PC to Mac and send what you got back to PC, it's OK again. What this
means is the following.
For characters with the 8th bit set (i.e. the top 128, the Tamil characters
in Muthu's font), Eudora remaps the ASCII positions, probably when it sends
to the mail vehicle (Unix account or whatever). Subsequently, it remaps
them back to its own OS when it receives them back. Let's take,
hypothetically, A0 on a Windows system. It may be remapped to, say, A5
when it's sent. Then, if you have a Windows system, A5 is remapped to A0
when Eudora receives the message and it's OK. BUT the Mac may remap A5 to
A6, producing apparent garbage.
If you send the Mac version (now A6) back to a Windows machine, first it's
mapped to A5 and sent out to Unix, then the Windows machine maps it to A0
when it receives it, and It's OK again.
What this means is that 8 BIT CHARACTERS ARE A CAN OF WORMS. I had exactly
this same problem trying to use Lasso (a filemaker plugin) with Muthu's
characters -- it remapped everything. Fortunately, I then found a program
that wouldn't remap them. But the fact is, the majority of programs out
there remap all (or most of) the characters in the top 128 of the ASCII set.
This problem does not simply appear when we cross platforms. The Lasso
problem meant I couldn't do what I wanted to even only on a Mac.
We will have MANY fewer problems if we implement a 7-bit Tamil font.
Perhaps we won't have room for quite all the bells and whistles (e.g. we
may have to use kerning for the dot), but the result will be a lot easier
to use and a lot more productive than an 8-bit font. Please, let's give
this very serious consideration -- it's a critically important issue
(unlike most of the things we have spent our time on). George Hart
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