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PechaMaker • When to support Unicode Tibetan fonts? - Page 2
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Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:49 pm
by jeffchwu
Hi, Cfynn,

Yes, copy that DLL into local directory is good method. But I just try to think the way as the FWJ's, it maybe possible that somebody ask FWJ "Why my MS word can show this well, but Pechamaker cannot!". Then just find that, the MS update the DLL, but PechaMake not update it to local directory.

In order to avoid that problem, 1) just use MS's system DLL, do not copy to local, or 2) check the dll update? if update the copy to local (manual or auto?) or..... 3) update by user.. <-- this way, FWJ do not like it.

^_- But that's all FWJ's choice, I just pray for it come true.

ཨོཾ་མ་ནི་པདྨེ་ཧཱུྃ།

Re: When to support Unicode Tibetan fonts?

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:29 am
by cfynn
FWJ wrote: I have just returned from India/Nepal where I visited a half dozen Monasteries, the LTWA and TCRC and other Tibetan publishing organizations. I found that PechaMaker is appreciated and well received. However, I did not find a single Tibetan who was actually using Unicode for any project or document. Only about 3% of the computers available were running Vista.
Isn't this a bit of a "chicken and egg" situation? As long as it is difficult for people to format pecha using Unicode fonts then people will continue to use legacy systems that they are more familiar with where automatic formatting is available. Once there is a way to format pecha easily using Unicode fonts then people will begin to migrate.

In 2006-2007 we input the whole 12 volumes of Padma Lingpa's Ter Chö in Unicode here in Bhutan - and formatted it all as pecha using simple manusl (non-automated) templates in Word on windows XP. This works but it is certainly not as convenient as Pecha Maker.

I don't know about India, but the Loden Foundation now also has a project here in Bhutan inputting texts using Unicode and there are several individuals here doing the same. There is also now an Electronic Kangyur Project in Tibet which is inputting the whole of the Kangyur in Unicode. ~ a Unicode compatible version of Pecha Maker would certainly be useful for formatting the data from these projects and others - so I hope you will keep working on this.

The government and most other institutions in Bhutan now almost exclusively use Unicode (on Windows XP systems) - so it is certainly not the case that there is no one using Unicode for documents written in Tibetan script. Earlier this year I also found a way to make Unicode Tibetan script fonts work in Adobe's InDesign (CS2 & CS3) - so now Dzongkha language newspapers are published using Unicode fonts. It should be possible to make pecha templates or a plug-in for InDesign - but that professional publishing software is expensive and you need to be familair with it to use it properly.

with all good wishes

- Chris

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:55 am
by cfynn
jeffchwu wrote:Hi, Cfynn,

Yes, copy that DLL into local directory is good method. But I just try to think the way as the FWJ's, it maybe possible that somebody ask FWJ "Why my MS word can show this well, but Pechamaker cannot!". Then just find that, the MS update the DLL, but PechaMake not update it to local directory.

In order to avoid that problem, 1) just use MS's system DLL, do not copy to local, or 2) check the dll update? if update the copy to local (manual or auto?) or..... 3) update by user.. <-- this way, FWJ do not like it.

^_- But that's all FWJ's choice, I just pray for it come true.

ཨོཾ་མ་ནི་པདྨེ་ཧཱུྃ།
Unfortunately MS do not update USP10.DLL even in the latest service pack for XP - so on XP systems if you want support for Unicode Tibetan script outside of MS Office you have to update it yourself ~ either by installing an updated version in the \WINDOWS\System32\ directory, which can be quite awkward to do due to the built-in protection for system DLLs; or by installing a copy of the updated USP10.DLL in the start-up directory of each application where you need Tibetan script support.

If Office 2003 or above is installed on a system the USP10.DLL can be copied from there - if not, another legitimate way to get an updated USP10.DLL is to download and install Microsoft's free Word Viewer application.

Perhaps a way round this is for the PechaMaker install program to look for an Office installation and copy the DLL from there - if Office is not installed there might be be an option to dowload and install WordViewer which would provide the same. (You also get an updated version of USP10.DLL when you install Google Earth). In my experience this does not interfere with properly made "ANSI" fonts.

The only other practical way I can see round this would be for PechaMaker to use an alternate to USP10.DLL such as provided by ICU, Pango or HarfBuzz. Inkscape does this and works well with Tibetan script Unicode fonts - but I suspect this would involve major changes to the Pecha Maker code.

Of course on Vista and Windows 7 systems this USP10.DLL business is not an issue - but in India, Bhutan and Nepal most people are still using XP systems. Of course nearly every one of these systems also has Word 2003 or 2007 installed so a version of USP10.DLL with Tibetan script support is almost always available on the system and could be used.

with all good wishes

- Chris

Re: When to support Unicode Tibetan fonts?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:00 am
by cfynn
FWJ wrote:Soon, I hope. Maybe a few months? I wish I could give you a better answer.
Any more movement on this?
FWJ wrote: I realize you only asked a simple question (a good one) but perhaps it will be useful if I explain further.

I am working on the conversion every day and have been for several months.
I have all the basics working including Unicode Copy/Paste and RTF Import.
I works pretty well on Win2K/XP/Vista, and the BO Tibetan (PRC) keyboard works on Vista.
However, there are several difficult issues to solve.

The problem is that I am trying to create a version that supports Unicode and also continues to provide support for ANSI fonts *exactly* like the current version. This is proving VERY difficult. Mostly because I want it to work correctly for any user without requiring some special system configuration.
Windows XP has been discontinued for a while now, so why not leave the current version as it is for Windows XP - and those who wish to continue to use legacy 8-bit fonts - and make a seperate version for Unicode and Windows Vista / 7? This would avoid any problems associated with having to support Unicode and ANSI fonts in one version.
FWJ wrote: The standard way to display Unicode on a Windows system is with Microsoft's Uniscribe DLL (usp10.dll). Uniscribe helps a program display Unicode fonts and is very important for fonts that are considered "complex script". Unicode Tibetan is considered "complex script" and Uniscribe is able to do a good job of displaying it.

The problem is that once Uniscribe is enabled, the system code that displays older ANSI fonts starts to fail in strange ways. Even worse, the failures are dependent on what has been installed on the system. It depends on which version of the Uniscribe DLL is available on the system. As an example, about 20 characters in the TibetanMachine typeface are no longer displayed if you use certain Uniscribe versions; but do appear with other versions. Even if I find a Uniscribe version that mostly works I can't distribute it because Microsoft does not allow that.
On Windows Vista and Windows 7 there is of course no need to update or distribute the Uniscribe DLL.

The major difficulty you describe seems to be trying to support legacy ANSI Tibetan fonts (some of which never properly conformed to the TrueType specification in the first place) and Unicode compatible Tibetan fonts in the same application. If this is not feasible - would it be possible to make a Unicode only version targeted at recent versions of Windows?
FWJ wrote: The task for now is to try many ways to work around these issues.
It sure would be nice to see a version of PechaMaker that works with Unicode fonts.

with all good wishes
- Chris