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osOpinion: Multilingual Standards Test

[ Thanks to Kelly
McNeill
for this link. ]

“For those who had been frustrated by not being able to transfer
text files between IBM, DEC and other machines, ASCII was a dream
come true: an open standard, bridging between all platforms.
However, like the 640K, which ought to have been enough for
everybody, the 8-bit encoding scheme was too little for an
increasingly global, multilingual computing world.”

“Now we have a new standard – not quite so new, but relative to
ASCII it is – which encodes characters in 16 bits, leaving room for
65536 chars. I first heard of it when I read about an emerging OS
named Windows NT, back in 1993. Today I use NT at work extensively.
Working at an Arabic language firm, I saw the painful transition
from proprietary DOS-based encodings to clean Unicode.”

“For all Linux lovers, I’m sorry to say this: Linux is useless
for me as a work platform. I installed it out of curiosity, a
desire to learn a new way of operating the machine. There are many
applications – the “No Applications” FUD cannot be waved – but for
my line of work, multilingual work, Linux lacks what I need – full
Unicode support.”

“The issue itself, of implementing Unicode in Linux, sounds
parochial, but it touches on the very future of open-source
programming.
Can open-source breed one single standard, as the
Internet is, or will we return to Babel…”

Complete
story
.

Related Story:
IBM:
developerWorks Creates Open Source Zone
(Sep 28, 1999)