Dean Anderson dean_anderson at SACARI.ORG
Wed Nov 10 03:18:02 UTC 2004

Dear Andrew and Stefan,

Thank you for the reply. It's quite possible that I am confused because
it has been over two decades since I started working on Sanskrit fonts.
But in those days I was involved with all three aspects: designing
fonts, writing keyboard software and dealing with encoding issues. From
the beginning I tried unsucessfully to get Unicode to adopt a larger
character set. I understand why they made their choice but I still don't
agree with it. Some of my work was also used by Apple in the early days
of creating their Indian Language Kit.

Thus I was somewhat distressed to hear that, after all this time, there
is still not a workable cross-platform solution. Still it is wonderful
to hear that so much progress has been made and I congratulate you all.

The reason I asked my original question was because it seemed best to
start at the most fundamental level in trying to solve the problem with
the Macs and then move "up" from there. This is at the level of
encoding. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the Sanskrit 2003 font
is, technically speaking, not actually a "unicode" font because it does
not support the standard unicode language assignments for the upper
values. It takes advantage of the larger font size of the unicode
standard to overwrite other languages with Sanskrit ligatures and then
utilizes the widespread software support for the unicode standard to
display the characters in common programs. This is a good solution and
one we also used in the bad old days when we only had 256 slots

The reason I mention all of this is that the problem with Macs may be
due to the Mac also using some of those higher values for Mac "special
characters" that don't correspond to the PC/Linux values. This was
something we had to watch out for in the early days as well.

Do you know if anyone has investigated this? If it has been studied and
eliminated, then we could look into other reasons for the Mac problem.


Dean Anderson

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] On Behalf Of
>Andrew Glass
>Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 10:30 PM
>Subject: Re: Devanagari
>If I understand correctly, your comment may result from a
>confusion of encoding, font, and input method.
>"Encoding" refers to the numerical values a document uses to
>store units of text. All modern computers can use Unicode for
>this. A document encoded as Unicode will be readable on all
>other operating systems that support this standard. For
>example, there is a unique value assigned to Devanagari 'a'.
>A "font" is a collection of letter shapes that a computer uses
>to display the content of a text file. A "Unicode font" is
>simply a font that knows which shapes to display for a text
>file that is encoded in Unicode. The "OpenType", "TrueType",
>"Type 1" and "AAT" are font formats that differ in how they
>define and cross-reference letter shapes. The first three of
>these work on all modern computers; AAT only works on the Mac.
>"Keyboard layout" (or "input method") refers to the way a user
>enters text into the computer. For instance, one can tell the
>computer to insert a Devanagari 'a' into a document when the A
>key is pressed on the keyboard. Different keyboard layouts are
>just different users' preferred ways of entering a particular
>script. On modern computers, the choice of keyboard layout is
>independent of the choice of font used, and the encoding will
>in any case can be Unicode.  The resulting files can be freely
>shared and edited on different computer systems.
>I hope this clarifies the situation more than it confuses it!
>Andrew Glass
>Stefan Baums

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