On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 7:52 AM, Ange Gapes <address@hidden
> sorry this is not directly about bugs in Freefont, nor direct development
> matters, but I could not find a more generic ml for your project. But I
> think this kind of discussion is still of interest. Hopefully you will think
> I recently came to some interest on the Han unification project and problem
> they implies for texts mixing languages. As you are a font project, I guess
> you know the issues, but for those who don't, I summarize this way:
> typically for the main 3 languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, though
> these last one don't use them much in modern writing, hence CJK) who use
> Chinese-originated characters (Han characters), the Unicode project has
> decided to unite the character from a same origin (Han Unification: Unihan).
> This leads to problem when the actual writing of them is different depending
> on the actual country, sometimes slightly (style), sometimes in a more
> obvious way. The Wikipedia page has good examples on the issue:
> (this is significant only if you have right fonts on the computers which
> will show actually the characters with difference).
> The way it is dealt with is:
> - you use only one of these languages, then you don't care and take only
> fonts which display your chosen language's way.
> - if you read texts of several languages, or even mixed inside a same text,
> the text can have some kind of markup then different fonts are selected.This
> is the way it is done in html, hence you can see different fonts for the
> actually same unicode character in the Wikipedia page I showed before.
> But what when you read raw text file without markup for instance? No sure
> way to tell the language for the editor and mixed characters won't show up.
> So why do I tell this all to you? I would like to know your opinion, if not
> position, towards this Unicode decision. Do you have any remarks on it?
> Also what does it mean for a project like yours? Is it possible in a same
> font family to provide several different fonts/design for the same character
> with "context" information (= this font is preferably for Chinese display
> only, unless no other choice, this one for Japanese, and so on) and a
> default one maybe (in case no context is available, use this "generic"
> design)? So that a software using your font only may still display different
> designs depending on the displayed language (if it knows it) or a default
> version otherwise...
> On a side note, I read somewhere that there were maybe some other kinds of
> characters where similar problems arise. In particular I read on a website
> about another example of Arabic characters being used in several
> country/languages but displayed slightly differently. Yet after some search,
> I could not find actual information on this specific issue, so I don't know
> if it is true, or maybe it has been fixed since then by the Unicode project
> by assigning specific characters or control characters to change the
> display? (Arabic don't have that many characters as those East Asian
> languages, hence less space issue for duplicating characters)
> Do you know about such specific Arabic-character issue? Or other issues with
> other glyphs in other alphabet?
> Do you participate into Unicode standardization? Do you have details on what
> conducted to this internally? Is it really ONLY a space problem? Because
> even though there are for sure a lot of characters in these countries, it
> looks to me there are still a lot of slots unassigned, really far enough
> (that's how Unicode has been designed after all: with far enough slots for
> all history, as far as I know). So I don't see the points of keeping them
> for no reason (it's not like suddenly new alphabets of hundred of thousands
> of characters, all new, will be created in the next century).
> And in the worst case, Unicode may still be extended.
> So if you have any particularly interested link to discussion in the Unicode
> project (mailing lists maybe?) about how we came to this, this is
> interesting as well.
> I will also myself ask directly to Unicode guys later, but I first wanted to
> know the opinion of a font project whose goal would be to span on all the
> Unicode. What does that imply for you?
> And so on second level, why do I ask all this? Simply first of all I am
> interested in Unicode, in such questions, for personal use but also for pure
> intellectual interest (among other reasons, being myself involved in
> standardization processes, though not directly into Unicode, for now at
> least). Also because I think this is pretty sad and when I read about this,
> I didn't agree much with such moves (whereas the prime goal of Unicode was
> to support any existing character, so this looks like a step backwards; and
> also because we know that some countries, Japan at least for what I know, is
> not very into standardization, thus they don't use that much the Unicode
> encodings, like UTF-8, but localized encodings, and this kind of move won't
> make them want to change this).
> And also because I am currently beginning to write what-may-become-a-book,
> in some future, not on this in particular, but this kind of topic may be
> part of it.
> So thanks all. Any opinion and information on the topic would be greatly
> P.S.: and for personal use, a last question: do you plan on supporting these
> East-Asian characters in some foreseen future? In particular Japanese
> Hiragana-Katakana-Kanjis and Korean basic alphabet?