publication of IASS papers on CDROM

Gunthard Mueller gm at ANTHOSIMPRINT.COM
Tue Dec 12 17:23:57 UTC 2000

Hello, there--
let me try to reduce your resistance!

We are also Mac users over here, fanatical ones even! We are running Windows,
Mac, Unix, Novell, and of all those we really prefer the Mac.

You have addressed a range of issues.

(1) CD-ROMs on the Mac
The Mac can read ISO-9660 CD-ROMs perfectly. We even produce our ISO-9660 CDs
on the Mac. In fact, most professional CD publishers do that, too. Simply the
best CD recording program is a Mac package called Toast, by Adaptec
(originally by a German company called Astarte, then the product was taken
over by Adaptec), and the best one for creating audio CDs is also a Mac
packaged called "Jam", from the same company.
It's true that there is also a special Mac CD-ROM format, which only runs on
Macs. (Actually it's true you can make it work under Windows, but it requires
a special plug-in which few people have.) But fortunately the Mac is
incredibly compatible with all relevant standards and norms, including all
media carrier norms, so there is no problem there, and Apple knows well that
if they want to be taken seriously they need to be compatible. As a rule, the
Mac generally supports whatever Windows and UNIX support, plus the Mac
version of the same.

(2) Fonts and file formats across platforms

(2.1) Adobe Acrobat (PDF files)
PDF files include everything, including fonts. So no matter whether you
produced it on the Mac with Mac fonts--once it's a PDF file you can use that
file perfectly (including fonts) on Windows and UNIX.
You can even use it on the web right away.
The Acrobat reader software is free of charge and available for all relevant
This format is a derivative of PostScript, which is an indispensable part of
many operating systems, so this technology is safe and here to stay.
The Acrobat writer software is widely available and low-cost. Probably your
institute already has a license, I would guess.
(2.2) Font solution, if for some reason you don't like PDF:
Fortunately, the Apple font standard (TrueType) was accepted by most
operating system vendors, including Microsoft, Sun, etc., so you can use
TrueType fonts across platforms. All you need to do is to convert the file
format and the character mapping. There are utilities for that. We use a
professional package from Macromedia for that, called Fontographer, which we
also use to create fonts (We have produced Devanagari, Gurmukhi fonts for
Intel machines for over a decade). There are also shareware packages that do
that conversion for you, but they are a bit cumbersome to use. It pays to get

The same is true for Adobe Postscript fonts (ATM, Adobe Type Manager). There
are three sub-types. All of them are cross-platform, all of them can be
converted to and fro using Fontographer. Exactly same situation as with

(2.3) Other file formats / software packages
Fortunately, we have file format norms now, too. Good CD-ROMs stick with
The future in documentation is the SGML norm, the superset of HTML and XML.
The best package to create fully cross-platform SGML files is Adobe
FrameMaker SGML.
Runs on Windows, Mac, UNIX.
Imports virtually all relevant file formats from all three operating system
worlds, even un-normed ones, and exports SGML into a huge number of such
formats, too.
Generates HTML and XML versions for direct use in the Internet. Has no
problem with Unicode.
So we use FrameMaker also as a "switchboard" packages to migrate data to and
fro exotic file formats.
A user-friendly CD-ROM should contain the following:
(1) SGML, for the future.
(2) A Windows format, such as MS Word 97 (compatible with Word 2000 etc.)
(3) A Mac format, such as Mac Word 4 (compatible with the older Mac Word
versions, before the Macs started supported the MS Word 97 format)
(4) A good UNIX format (but that has become less difficult since the
overpowering success of StarOffice in the UNIX area. StarOffice reads and
writes common Windows formats, such as MS Word 97).
(5) It's also always a good idea to include an HTML version, because most
people have Internet access, so they have HTML browsers.

I admit creating good CD-ROMs is an artform in itself, just like doing good
web sites, and not all CD-ROMs are done well. If you do them well, they are a
great tool, though.

Anyway, I hope I have addressed your concerns.
If you need a bit of technical help here and there, you can mail me off the
list, too. I'm an overworked kind of guy, but if I can help I'll try.

Gunthard Mueller

gm at

Hans Henrich Hock wrote:

> Perhaps CD-ROMs are NORMED; but the feeling I get from the colleagues
> in Italy is that either the CD-ROM or their software is not normed to
> accommodate articles produced on Mac platforms.  As far as I can
> tell, Macs are widely used by Indologists of a certain generation,
> simply because when they started, the special fonts needed for
> Indological work were infinitely more readily available on the
> Mac--and who wants to convert large numbers of heavily formatted
> documents to work on a platform or with a "norm" that does not
> recognize these fonts?  I believe if these concerns were meaningfully
> addressed (and perhaps they have been somewhere, and I'm just
> uninformed?), my resistance would be reduced considerably.
> Cheers,
> Hans Henrich Hock
> >Dear computer experts,
> >as an indologist and software engineer, may I correct a few technical
> >points that have come up?
> >(1) CD-ROMs are NORMED. There is an international norm (ISO-9660) which
> >ensures exactly this: that CD-ROMs can be read in future, as long as
> >mankind has access to its norms. Please remember that this is something
> >extremely central and reliable. Without ISO norms, you would not be able
> >to go to your supermarket and get food. You would not be able to drive a
> >car. You would not be able to get clothes. In other words: as long as
> >you get food and clothes, mankind has access to ISO norms and mankind
> >can read CD-ROMs.
> >(2) CD-ROMs have already lasted almost twenty years. The reason why you
> >may not be aware of that is because in the beginning, CD-ROM players and
> >media were fiendishly expensive. Nowadays, there are hundreds of
> >millions of computers and hundreds of millions of other CD readers all
> >over the world, and the cookies cost roughly 15 US cents to manufacture.
> >CD-ROM drives cost roughly 10 US$ to manufacture.
> >(3) CD-ROMs are very long-lasting. They are, in fact, the most
> >long-lasting medium we have. Some manufacturers now have a 200-year life
> >span estimate. As opposed to the thirty-year life-span in the beginning
> >of the technology, and fifty years or less of microfilm.
> >(4) CD-ROMs can be copied over to whatever new media mankind will invent
> >-- and norm.
> >
> >Having said that, there is still reason for your particular IASS
> >publication to be done on paper...
> >Which is, mainly,
> >(a) academic credit,
> >(b) the fact that paper has obvious advantages, too.
> >One of the drawbacks is that paper publishing is extremely expensive.
> >Many times more than CD-ROM.
> >
> >As your own averse reactions to CD-ROMs have shown, CD-ROM promoters are
> >ahead of their time even now.
> >It makes sense to publish on paper AND CD-ROM, because both media have
> >advantages that COMPLEMENT each other very well: CD-ROMs last very long
> >and are intelligent search and work tools, paper is traditionally
> >accepted, convenient for browsing and offline reading, and it offers
> >academic credit.
> >Wouldn't it therefore make sense for you to ask the IASS for both, i.e.
> >paper AND CD-ROM publishing?
> >I understand that paper publishing is very expensive, but if CD-ROM
> >publishing offers no academic credit, the IASS is not doing its
> >contributors a favour going only that way.
> >
> >Anyway, please refrain from emotional attacks on each other because of
> >the CD-ROM issue. The world has already decided to go digital, and you
> >are not going to stop it.
> >On this jolly note,
> >all the best,
> >yours,
> >Gunthard Mueller
> >
> >gm at

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