And Multilingual Computing
Unicode provides a unique
number for every character,
no matter what the platform,
no matter what
no matter what the language.
Fundamentally, computers just deal with numbers. They store letters and other
characters by assigning a number for each one. Before Unicode was invented, there
were hundreds of different encoding systems for assigning these numbers. No single
encoding could contain enough characters: for example, the European Union alone
requires several different encodings to cover all its languages. Even for a single
language like English no single encoding was adequate for all the letters, punctuation,
and technical symbols in common use.
encoding systems also conflict with one another. That is, two encodings can use
the same number for two different characters, or use different numbers for the
same character. Any given computer (especially servers) needs to support many
different encodings; yet whenever data is passed between different encodings or
platforms, that data always runs the risk of corruption.
This paper is intended for software developers interested in support for the Unicode
standard in the Solaris 7 operating environment. It discusses the following
" An overview of multilingual
computing, and how Unicode and the internationalization framework in the Solaris
7 operating environment work together to achieve this aim
" The Unicode
standard and support for it within the Solaris operating environment
Unicode in the Solaris 7 Operating Environment
" How developers can
add Unicode support to their applications
" Codeset conversions
And Multilingual Computing
It is not a new
idea that today's global economy demands global computing solutions. Instant communications
and the free flow of information across continents - and across computer platforms
- characterize the way the world has been doing business for some time. The widespread
use of the Internet and the arrival of electronic commerce (e-commerce) together
offer companies and individuals a new set of horizons to explore and master. In
the global audience, there are always people and businesses at work - 24 hours
of the day, 7 days a week. So global computing can only grow.
What is new is the increasing demand of users for a computing environment that
is in harmony with their own cultural and linguistic requirements. Users want
applications and file formats that they can share with colleagues and customers
an ocean away, application interfaces in their own language, and time and date
displays that they understand at a glance. Essentially, users want to write and
speak at the keyboard in the same way that they always write and speak. Sun Microsystems
addresses these needs at various levels, bringing together the components that
make possible a truly multilingual computing environment.
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