Unicode-based FreeBSD

Tz-Huan Huang tzhuan at csie.org
Sun Aug 24 20:09:14 UTC 2008

On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 9:15 PM, Frank
<mitchell at wyatt672earp.force9.co.uk> wrote:
> I've heard that Japanese and Chinese users prefer their own coding systems,
> because the Unicode Character Set in these languages is limited. Korean also
> has Combining Characters, and UTF-8 comes in 3 different Levels depending on
> its ability to cope with this. Maybe you need some contacts in other
> countries.

This is not true -- at least for Chinese.
I'm a Chinese living in Taiwan and I am probably sure that Unicode is larger
than any other Chinese character sets (including traditional and simplified
Chinese). The UTF-8 support in FreeBSD/Xorg is good enough for me.
I can read/type all Unicode 4.0 characters (including CJKV extension A/B)
in Firefox or any gtk/qt programs if I have the needed font; I can produce
documents with any Unicode characters by LaTeX+CJK package.
It's much better than MS IE and Word because IE and Word only support
Unicode 2.0 (or maybe 3.0, I'm not so sure).

There are two reasons to use any character sets other than UTF-8:
1. compatibility for old programs/services or other OS.
2. the old man wrote the document when Unicode was not so popular and
newbies read the old document.

UTF-8 is more and more popular in Chinese, at least in Taiwan.
Almost everything works well in my daily jobs (of course under the X).
The major missing part is the kiconv UTF-8 support -- currently the kiconv
doesn't support more than two bytes character conversion so there
is no UTF-8 support for Chinese (most Chinese characters are 3-byte or
more). I should mount msdosfs/cd9660 in zh_TW.Big5 and convert the
filename to UTF-8 by lint or screen.

IMHO, If I need Chinese support, I'll go into X. I have no reason to use
Chinese under console even if I can read/type in Chinese. I prefer Firefox
rather than w3m or links. :-)


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