Wait til you see my Õ (Ō), Latvian edition

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/06/08 00:15 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/06/08/10172429.aspx


Riff on Wait til you see my 'O' [pattern] and Wait til you see my 'O'[EMCP based technology] entirely intentional!

The note from Peter Klavins came to me via the Contact link in early March of this year:

Subject: Latvian (QWERTY) keyboard bug, all O/Ses to W7

Hi Michael, I would like Microsoft to accept a bug on the Latvian (QWERTY) keyboard that has been around ever since Microsoft developed that keyboard (thank you, apart from the bug, it is great!), and it is still present in Windows 7, despite my having over time written various e-mails to people in Microsoft about it (and never got a response), and also having submitted a bug to Windows Vista beta, but it eventually got closed before final release without resolving the bug. Therefore I am hoping that you will have more clout than I obviously have, but I am not sure whether according to your disclaimer on the web page that I am submitting it on, whether I should expect a response or not even for this request. The bug is clearly a bug, and the only reason that it isn't resolved is that it may be too much trouble to do so for Microsoft.

The bug is this:

The Latvian (QWERTY) keyboard incorrectly produces the following characters for these AltGr-key combinations: AltGr-O Õ U-00D5 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH TILDE AltGr-o õ U-00F5 LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH TILDE The characters that should be produced are: AltGr-O Ō U-014C LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH MACRON AltGr-o ō U-014D LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH MACRON The same bug exists in the "true" non-QWERTY Latvian keyboard. The character at position 'N' on the US keyboard produces 'O' on the Latvian keyboard, but with AltGr it also produces the incorrect characters in the same way as outlined above for the Latvian (QWERTY) keyboard.

There is no room for interpretation whether in fact it is a bug. The other vowels in the Latvian character set, a, e, i, and u all produce characters with a MACRON above when pressed with AltGr. For a more authoritative reference, look at the "comments" line in the articles about the two Unicode characters in question: Portuguese, Estonian: http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/f5/ Latvian: http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/14d/I would appreciate it if you could submit this bug into the Windows 8 database. My software engineering experience suggests that it would be cheaper for Microsoft to fix a bug in an upcoming release of Windows rather than produce a HotFix for previous versions. But nevertheless I would like the bug to be finally fixed.

Thanks for your help.

Regards Peter Klavins

Now for the record, yes -- if you look at the keyboards as we document them here in the ALTGR and SHIFT+ALTGR states:

 

 

These keyboards do indeed have

Õ  (U+00d5, aka LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH TILDE)

and

õ (U+00f5, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH TILDE)

on them.

And further, neither

Ō (U+014c, aka LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH MACRON)

nor

ō (U+014d, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH MACRON)

are on either keyboard.

I have not heard of report of this previously, so I apologize about the lack of response (if Peter provides me with more information on those reports I will follow up to see what happened and try to keep it from happening again, as the title indicates, at least on language issues!).

However, with all that said....

I pointed out in July of last year in I swear the Latvian bug is fixed; it was fixed 4.5 years ago!:

You see, at this point (starting with the new Vista results), we were almost entirely conformant to LVS 24:1993.

But there were four differences:

Now the first three differences in this list relate to old characters from the orthography of Latvian prior to some reforms that date back about June of 1946 (see here for more info on that).

(emphasis added to the bits related to the current discussion)

And as the Latvian language Wikipededia article indicates:

The letter O indicates both the short and long [ɔ], and the diphthong [uɔ]. These three sounds are written as O, Ō and Uo in Latgalian, and some Latvians campaign for the adoption of this system in standard Latvian. However, the majority of Latvian linguists argue that o and ō are found only in loanwords, with the Uo sound being the only native Latvian phoneme. The digraph Uo was discarded in 1914, and the letter Ō has not been used in the official Latvian language since 1946.

Because of this, while it is clearly wrong to include the Õ and õ, it would not be a specific requirement for Latvian to include Ō and ō.

Since we cannot remove letters from keyboards, the 'bug" part can't be fixed.

For the Macron characters, Sometimes, tech companies cannot take sides -- and if Microsoft added these letters, it would be quite easy to use that fact in the argument that the orthography should be changed to allow those letters in standard Latvian.

We try to stay out of stuff like that, so that destiny can unfold on its own. When orthographies do change, we show up to support them.

So I guess we can call this by design -- this is like that dumb extra letter on the old Ukrainian keyboard that the language didn't need: if we put it there, we can't really remove it....


Random832 on 8 Jun 2011 7:15 AM:

The "tilde" in the diagrams looks an awful lot like a double acute - is that just a bug?

Michael S. Kaplan on 8 Jun 2011 7:31 AM:

Looks like a "bug" in the images, yes....

Peter Klavins on 6 Jul 2011 4:21 PM:

Thanks for publishing my request and doing the research.

Your research shows that Latvian orthography has at some stage included the character O-macron 'ō'. At the same time, Latvian orthography has never included the character O-tilde 'õ', which is the character Microsoft has provided on the Latvian keyboard in its place by mistake.

Your research also shows the Latvian government standard LVS 24 of 1993 that clearly includes the 'ō' character, and that makes no mention of the 'õ' character.

There are plenty of places on the web that link the character 'ō' and the Latvian language, whether or not the official orthography at some time discarded it. Look at www.paganroots.net/.../skaist-k-s-dziesmas for example, where a Latvian album from 2000 clearly includes a song which title contains the letter 'ō': 'Tōli dzeivoj muna meilō'.

It is not whether Microsoft is taking sides in order to resurrect a character that is no longer in use in Latvian. Evidence points to just the opposite, as I outline above, and evidence also clearly points to the Latvian language NEVER having used the character 'õ'. Imagine how much more difficult it was for the people writing the web page above to explicitly paste the 'ō' character from another application like Charmap, when they weren't able to key it from the keyboard using AltGr-O.

Additionally, I would like to point out that Microsoft made just the opposite decision for the character 'ŗ'. While it was removed from Latvian orthography at the same time as the letter 'ō', Microsoft ignored this and nevertheless went ahead and allowed it to be keyed on the keyboard with AltGr-R.

So, clearly the intention of Microsoft was to include 'ō' at the same time as it included 'ŗ' in the Latvian keyboard, however the programmer when doing so made a simple and understandable mistake, entering the character 'õ' in its place. Can't you go back in Microsoft's source code management system to when the character was introduced, to unearth the documentation surrounding the introduction of the Latvian keyboard?

Again, I thank you for your consideration, and re-consideration of my request to enter this as a bug in Windows 8 at least, which I don't have the ability to do.


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