Re: [NTLK] Greek Fonts 'n Unicode

From: Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (
Date: Sun Jun 09 2002 - 11:56:21 EDT

Daedalus Guy <> thus spoke:

> Finally, I'm a bit hazy about the Unicode thing. I tried to understand
> what Unicode actually is (in practical terms)...

It's damned easy to explain and understand. Here goes:

The letters we use for email, a-z, A-Z, 0-9, plus the punctuation are
called a "character set". ASCII, the way we specify this character
set, can hold 128 or 256 letters, specified in (remember this) one
byte. But what - for example - if you're French, and want a cedilla,
or are Asian and want to use glyphs instead of letters?

Unicode uses two bytes per letter, so it can hold many more. Not
enough for some languages, and that's a political thing, but enough
for most things right now. And that's Unicode.

Programmers - such as I - who wrote all their code assuming an ASCII
character set are migrating to Unicode to make their code
internationalizable (known as localizable in some contexts). It's
kind of a pain, so unless you're working on a commercial software
package it just isn't worth the effort.

There's a lot of good information at Sun's Java site, and I would be
very pleased to answer questions on- and off-list.


Michael "Mickey" Sattler, Geek Times   <>
San Francisco, California, USA    <>

I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there. -- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

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