Microsoft's normalization efforts predate Unicode's

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/03/10 14:00 +00:00, original URI:

Yesterday, friend and colleague from the Unicode Technical Committee Charles Riley asked me:

Subject: ANSEL and keyboard mapping

Hi Michael,

At what level is it the case that computers are able to handle the mapping between l and Ł, ae and æ? These are normalization to Unicode equivalence, correct? For the same to be implemented for handling ɗ to d, and ŋ to n, is it anything more than choosing a normalization form?


Well, the easy answer is that Microsoft's interest in both normalization and collation predates Unicode's, so real world backwards compatibility trumps theoretical conformance with an industrial standard like Unicode or compliance with any country's national standard.

But the hard answer is that Microsoft has always tried its best to conform/comply as well as able with all of the related normalization, collation, and even keyboard standards whenever it was able, even when National bodies sometimes didn't even like whatever Microsoft was or wasn't managing to [try to] accomplish.

Therefore, Microsoft would always try to notice those equivalences and almost equivalences when possible, and just suck it up when it fell short (the passive/aggressive unwillingness to try to solve the Sinhalese keyboard layout issue by having management ask about "the whole input stack" every time we came close to a potential solution being the most embarrassing failure in this area, Phonetic Cherokee ideas to the contrary!).

But for the most part, Microsoft tries to do its best here. If they fall short, it is just not being willing/able to use resources such as me to try to actively solve such problems while I am on leave when they have bigger fish to fry such as Windows 8/8.1.... ;-)

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