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Re: 8-Bit font Doesn't Work across platforms!!
Dear Prof. Hart and friends:
Transport across platforms is one of the major criteria that
I myself impose when we talk about standards. This is the reason
why I quibbled a lot with Muthu's propositions that we use (glyph
substitution and other) modern advances to meet the requirements of
some. There are many advances on handling of mutli-lingual
fotns/packages that have come up recently. But many of these work
nicely or at all in one OS but data generated this way are not
easily transported to others. So your anxiety is valid in that
context. We should not take it for granted that everything we
are agreeing up will be easily implemented on all platforms.
A related point (that I raised earlier): even within the same
platform/OS, there are many things that we can do with the recent/
top-end machines that cannot be done on earlier (primitive?)
machines. There are many who still use these primitive machines.
(Yesterday someone posted about still using a 12-year old
Mac. I still use my good-old MacPlus occasionally.)
The standard we propose should be such that anyone can
implement it (with all its implications) even on primitive
machines. We should focus on designing a standard that
will go to make up a simple truetype font. All special
requirements should be handled by dedicated softwares.
One of the things we should do after we all agree on the
standards for tamil computing is to follow it up with written
detailed documentation on how some of the basic needs of
tamil font users can be met in different OS and also guidelines
on transport of files across platforms, putting up webpages
in tamil using these pages etc. Only with such documentation
we can ensure widescale acceptance by the tamil community.
I have helped many to put up webpages in tamil ( even have
a web page giving detailed guidelines on this which has been
well appreciated). Many tamils have minimal computer background
but are very enthusiastic to get to tamil computing. We need
to assist them with detailed documentation available freely on
For more than a year, I have exchanged hundreds of emails with
Muthu and others on the question of transport of tamil files across
platforms (Windows 3.x/95/NT, Mac, UNIX) and also get the
tamil web pages display properly using common web browsers.
Now coming to 8-bit fonts, if I have doubts on their use without
major problems, I will not be discussing 8-bit schemes myself.
So I agree with Leong Kok Yong. About two years ago, the
situation was not that much robust. It is getting better all the
time. Unfortunately there are not many software developers
working to sort things out quickly. I am sure Muthu will say
The above statements are purely in response to the
header of your mail and are independent of my personal
preferences for a 7-bit or 8-bit font.
I think, as part of the present discussions, some time we can
(should) take up the issue of 7-bit vs. 8-bit choice. Briefly
put each has its own merits and demerits. The choice will boil
down to personal preferences of individuals on how they
want to do various things.
As far as Muthu's 8-bit Inaimathi font, it works nicely on Mac.
I use Netscape mailer to read and send emails in tamil to
tamil.net. I have made a keyboard editor for Mac that allows
typing tamil using Mylai font keymap on Inaimathi font
on all common applications such as Word, ClarisDraw etc.
I can make a keyboard editor that will allow you to type in
tamil using the keymap of tamil typewriter (or any other
keyboard layout) that you can use on Inaimathi and Netscape
(or other applications). It took us a while to sort things out,
but there are no problems using such 8-bit fonts. I have also
no problems using the TamilNet fonts of Govindasamy/NUS
reading their tamil webpages or even to type tamil texts on
my Mac. The situation on working of these (Inaimathi,
TamilNet) fonts on UNIX platforms also is getting better.
I would be more than happy to assist you to get Inaimathi
going on your Mac. We can correspond privately on this.
With best regards,
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