South Asian Fonts from Scanrom

Sid Harth BAKULA at
Wed May 3 00:18:38 UTC 1995

On  2-MAY-1995 09:09:05.2 jwg2 said to BAKULA
   > Dear Sid Harth:
   > Thanks for your message. As a matter of fact my disc from Scanrom
   >arrived yesterday, and i haven't had much time to play with it yet.
   >The manual is a bit quirky, with a lot of information that we don't
   >need about how great the fonts are, but missing a great deal we do
   >need, not the least of which is a clear indication of the keyboard(s)!
   >I talked with Irving Green on the phone, and he does not mind my
   >playing around with the fonts to convert them to Mac. As I mentioned,
   >most South Asian linguist types that I know have used Macs right
   >along, owing largely to  the ease of font making and handling. In
   >fact, I did manage to make initial conversions on two fonts, and with
   >some further twiddling  they should be OK, but are unusable with their
   >present keying. Also, the fonts have the vowel diacritics written
   >together with the consonants, which makes it a real doozie to type,
   >unless one sets up an extended and complicated series of macros.
   >Another problem is that the coding for the font titles is not really
   >spelled out, so that, on a Mac at least, I have to hunt through and
   >open them one by one to see what I have (time consuming, and
   >temper-inducing),and on my copy at least, all come up as Trutpe (TTF)
   >on the icon, but sometimes come up Postscript in reality. It is much
   >easier to use the Ecolinguistics fonts, though they are much more
   >costly. On the other hand, these include Trutype Tamil, which I
   >haven't found elsewhere, as well as aome others that I might use
   >occasionally., especially Malayalam. They are also very nice in
   > least the ones that I accessed. Since Mr. Green has
   >been very nice about letting me fiddle about, I will continue to play
   >as soon as I have time. If it is not too much trouble and you have the
   >inclination,I would be interested in knowing what the "unsurmountable
   >problems were that you found, since i might (?) be able to avoid or
   >dodge them. Hoping to hear from you...Jim Gair

     I have had an interesting conversation with Mr. Irving Green today. He
mentioned to me, casually, that on account of my negative review he had
received some cancellations. I regret such outcome. I am not out to get the
publisher, Scanrom, or the author, Dr. S. Kalyanraman. My expressed or
suppressed views are only to aid the respectable community which subscribes
to Indology-l. Mr. Irving Green, on his own account, is a controversial
figure in software industry. His honest concern was that he is fighting his
natural competitors, designers and publishers of language fonts. He has been
taken to task for selling fonts at, literally, pennies a font. He is a brave
man and would survive professional criticism.

     I, however, insisted that he acknowledge and act upon the legitimate
needs and problems of an average 'Joe Blow', who is not sophisticated enough
to solve problems which are inherent in "Bharat Lipi". He assured me that he
is trying to get in touch with Dr. S. Kalyanraman, who he thinks, is on his
way to India. He promised to provide keyboard utility to map various
language fonts to IBM/Qwerty keys. If this was not readily possible, he said
that he would notify the buyers of any and all such utilities available
commercially or for free.

     I found him, personally, innocent of the difficulties of the product.
For instance when I mentioned that Urdu font writes from right to left, he
said, "but isn't it the function of one's word processor?" "If I had Urdu
word processor why would I buy an Urdu font?" was my reply.

     His another argument was that nobody is going to use all fonts anyway,
so why worry whether they work or not? Logically, it was a false argument.
People like me paid whatever price for all that was offered in a package,
not for piecemeal sections of it, which, willy-nilly, worked.

Sid (Soloman) Harth


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