Mac vs. PC (was: Re: Devanagari)

Dominik Wujastyk d.wujastyk at UCL.AC.UK
Fri Nov 12 13:46:35 UTC 2004

In case you don't already know it, there's a marvellous little book by
Neal Stephenson (of _Cryptonomicon_ fame) called _In the Beginning was the
Command Line_.  I was put on to this by Gary Tubb, and it remains one of
my favourite computing books.  It's very funny, and explores the whole
Mac/PC/Linux debate with great good cheer and insight.  (It was written
before the Mac world went Unix, with OS X.)


PS: I've just found the whole thing on the web! and

On Thu, 11 Nov 2004, Dean Anderson wrote:

> I'm glad to hear that it does seem to work with Macs -- at least under
> OS X. I confess I left the civilized Mac world for the barbaric Windows
> wasteland some time back so I was only going by what I heard from other
> Mac users.
> Does it work with MS Word under OS X?
> Perhaps they are not using OS X?
> Dean
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] On Behalf Of
>> Kengo Harimoto
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2004 7:23 PM
>> To: INDOLOGY at
>> Subject: Re: Devanagari
>>> 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 available.
>> I looked inside the Sanskrit 2003 and it is indeed to some degree true.
>>  But it uses private/corporate use area of the unicode.  So,
>> while it does not pollute the area meant for other scripts,
>> documents prepared with Sanskrit 2003 in mind will not work
>> without that font.  This does not seem very good.
>>> 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.
>> Does it suffice to say that the document prepared on my Mac
>> looks fine on my PC as well (except for the fact that Windows
>> demands LF/CR for line ending :)?  Document encodings and
>> rendering of  the data (where fonts are involved) appear to be
>> very well separated, following the spirit of unicode on both
>> Windows and OS X.  Let us hope that people will not start
>> using "special" fonts.
>> I actually do not see the Mac problem here.   The only major problem
>> would be that OS X does not support rendering using OpenType
>> font very well yet.
>> Oh, I again was only talking about OS X native apps.  Classic
>> Mac OS or Carbon apps, including MS Word, is entirely a
>> different issue.
>> --
>> kengo harimoto

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