Re: [NTLK] Greek Fonts 'n Unicode

From: Daedalus Guy (
Date: Sun Jun 09 2002 - 23:38:23 EDT

Wow! Between Paul and Sean (especially Sean!) and Michael, that was an absolutely fantastic explanation of unicode and what it is doing, and how it can be used. I guess I never realized that you need to create an entirely separate input method for unicode characters (I guess it should be obvious, really).

A few notes regarding Paul's post. First, I'm under the impression that the Athenian font still costs money. It is now usually found in the "Greek Keys" package, as one of a group of (presumably unicode) Greek fonts. I know it is what the Perseus Project uses for its Greek documents, but even these documents are not freely distributable. I guess I really want a Greek font that can be used for typing and one that could print, even from the Newton (and NewtGreek prints just fine, last I checked!). Unicode might make printing impossible, I'd think. As Michael points out, it might just not be worth the extra effort (especially considering the Newton platform isn't exactly expanding rapidly). Also, I've got a lot of other projects going right now, and don't know if I could find the time to totally redesign the font (that's the real problem). But, I'll definitely keep your offer in mind (for designing an input method).

>>What you have
to decide is basically this: do you want a font that has the greek
characters in the proper Unicode position, or do you want a font that
has the greek characters in the "Symbol" position (i.e., in the Pi
instead of P)? While the Unicode position is more satisfying, and
that's probably where the greek Mac fonts have it stored, the "Symbol"
position may be more useful because you'll be able to easily enter text
using the keyboard and the handwriting recognition (to get a "Pi"
displayed, choose your "greek font", then write a "P" on the screen). <<

Yes, Sean, I do think the "Symbol" positioning is more useful, especially in the case of the Newton with handwriting possibilities. Symbol, as a font, doesn't provide much for writing real Greek text (no accent or breathing marks, incomplete Greek punctuation, lacks certain common characters such as final sigmas, etc.), plus making Greek words out of symbol doesn't look particularly great. I'm pretty sure Symbol was meant more for mathematics than for writing in Greek (as I'm sure you're already aware).

>>But that's not
the IDEA of a font. A font just displays glyphs in a particular
fashion -- but the glyphs are supposed to be the same. Times should
have greek letters in it. Helvetica should be able to display hebrew.
Instead you need a "Greek" font and a "Hebrew" font. <<

I'm not sure I understand this point you made. Even if Times has Greek letters in it, somebody still has to create them, right? (On that note, what would a Times or Helvetica Greek font even *look* like? I mean it's a Roman character font, not a Greek or Hebrew font. Beyond maybe assigning character metrics and spacing, you'd still have to design what the characters look like, whether you're using unicode or not, right?) I guess I still don't see what the great disadvantage of having a separate "Greek" font is from having a "Greek set" in unicode. Sorry if I've missed the obvious (it does happen frequently), but I'll reread what you and the others wrote again (there was quite a bit).

At any rate, many thanks to all of you again. From what you all wrote, it seems there may be some definite advantages, especially in the case of the Newton, to stay away from unicode (printing, handwriting, keyboard layout). But, NewtGreek preview is just about ready to go, and should be ready later this week or this upcoming weekend.


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