The mission of GIFT

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/10/14 12:01 -04:00, original URI:

In a comment to my post a few days ago, Nick Lamb suggested:

Is it true then that U+005c looks different (as in, it looks like ¥) on Japanese Windows systems?

If so, isn't it key to GIFT's mission to deliver replacement fonts that fix this issue (shouldn't be hard, it's just one substitute glyph across maybe a dozen key fonts) ?

I answered Nick's specific question here:

If it was considered a bug to fix, that would be true. But it is an intentional design decision, so there is nothing to fix.

You do not need a Japanese copy of Windows to see it. If you change your default system locale ("language for non-Unicode programs") to Japanese and reboot. You will see it as well in all of the paths in the cmd window, etc.

To be clear about GIFT's "mission" here, it is not some neo-imperialistic plan to tell Japanese and Korean users that their expectations built over the last few decades are wrong. It is to deliver that expectation to them....

Now this answer not very specific, but I have talked about specifics before, such as the point I raised last month (inspired by a question from Raymond).

But in any case, it seemed to me to be worthwhile to say some more about GIFT's actual mission since everyone was bandying the word about.

We have an actual mission statement:

Mission: To enable users, developers, and businesses to realize their full potential worldwide with the best user experience, in the language of their choice, on any device.

And the GIFT development team has a mission statement as well:

Mission: Develop industry-leading, high-quality, extensible APIs, Tools to enable natural user experiences for customers, in the language and location of their choices, on any device.

This does indeed work as a developer interpretation of how to accomplish that larger vision. :-)


This post (like several others!) brought to you proudly by "\", "¥", and "" (U+005c, U+00a5, and U+20a9, a.k.a. REVERSE SOLIDUS, YEN SIGN, and WON SIGN)

# Nick Lamb on 14 Oct 2005 10:12 PM:

Why does a setting described as "language for non-Unicode programs" change how character U+005c is displayed ? Is that the "natural user experience" for customers?

At least in this corner it seems as though a small light shines. Exasperated Japanese can tell Windows that their "language for non-Unicode programs" is English, and the OS will (counter-intuitively) continue to be in Japanese, but the fonts will now be fixed, correct ? Are there any other surprises awaiting someone who tries this ?

# Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Oct 2005 10:53 PM:

That is a topic in and of itself that I will have to talk about -- all of the effects of the default system locale on Windows typography....

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