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Re: a few MULE criticisms

From: Hin-Tak Leung
Subject: Re: a few MULE criticisms
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 03:03:23 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.3) Gecko/20030312

Stefan Monnier wrote:
I have no knowledge of any non-latin script, so could you explain
to me how Emacs-19.34 can be used to edit in a character-set larger
than 256 chars ?

It is a very old system (tradition? dated back to emacs-18).
The principle is essentially putting emacs in -nw and 8-bit display mode
inside a customized terminal emulator, and let the terminal emulator
handles how keystrokes are translated into characters inserted
into the emacs buffer, and what fonts are used for the display.
This mechanism isn't exactly specific to emacs, but any editor
or indeed any application (pine, lynx, etc) that would be happy
within such an environment.

There are other less important subtleties, like adjusting the
movements of cursor in steps of suitable character units, rather
than bytes, which made emacs the better choice for such "embedded"

Emacs-20.1 also had an option to run in unibyte mode, although
it didn't have the --unibyte argument.  etc/NEWS for Emacs-20.1 says:


    You can disable multibyte character support as follows:

      (setq-default enable-multibyte-characters nil)


Note that Emacs-20.1 and 20.2 turned out to have many problems,
so very few people are still using them (much fewer than 20.3
or 19.34).

Thanks for pointing this out (this is still a very good learning
experience even though it is about 8 years late...). For a few
years the general(?) consesus was either (a) don't upgrade, (b)
switch to other X-based mechanism.

I haven't had any experience with i18n support in X nor
localised X, but I heard that they are somewhat usable. The
advantage of that approach is that it is available to all
X-clients (browsers, terminal emulators, editors). As I
previously said out, my main criticism of using MULE is that
it can't suggest the next character by association or by
fuzzy match. The same criticism doesn't seem to apply to
i18n X support - some l10n X or i18n X system indeed ships
large dictionaries with the system. I am not sure about
Chinese support, but Wnn and Canna (both quite well-known
and quite big Japanese dictionaries) are shipped with some
commercial and even open-source unix/unix-like systems.

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