Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Glyphs, fonts and the need to support them

In OmegaWiki (formerly known as WiktionaryZ) we want to support all words of all languages. Some languages have scripts that are not supported by the Operating System that you use. This can be bad or it can be really bad. It is bad when you have to find and install a font. Where to get it, what does it cost. It is really bad when there is no font. It can also be extremely bad when there the glyphs have not been defined in UNICODE.

In the Wikimedia Foundation there are projects that do require another font. Khmer, Laotian come to mind. For the Ripuarian language the situation is extremely bad; there is an official orthography that defined characters that do not yet exist in UNICODE.

Today I learned about a really nice project called Dejavu. It is an open source project that works on the creation of fonts. They do good work but there is a long way to go before they will have tackled the Chinese and Indian languages.

For OmegaWiki projects like Dejavu are important because they will ease the use of those people who are interested in seeing all the information that it will contain. UNICODE and the work done by Michael Everson are as important because without the glyphs being defined they will not go into fonts and without fonts we can not have all words of all languages.

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