Vista english version : handling chinese characters?


A

Andrew McLaren

Stanley said:
I am going to purchase a vista English version because of its
English-style operating menu,
would there be any problem handling Chinese characters?

It depends on the applications you plan to run.

English-language Vista itself, has no problem displaying or handling Chinese
chararcters; no matter which edition you use (Home, Business, Ultimate).
Vista has built-in support for Unicode, as well as many East Asian
codepages: Simplified, Traditional, Big5 (Codepage 950), and oher CJK
codepages are well-represented. For example, the file c_950.nls in System32
directory contains the codepage support for Big5; likewise c_936.nls
(Simplified), etc. The IME allows you to input Chinese characters in a few
different ways.

You can install and run the Simplified or Traditional Chinese versions of
Microsoft Office on English language Vista. All the Office stuff will be in
Chinese; all the Vista stuff will be in English (at least, I've succesfully
done this for Japanese; and I believe it is the same for Chinese and Korean
versions). Use the IME to configure Chinese keyboards and input Chinese
text.

Where you may have problems is with applications that "assume" they are
running on a specific language OS, and say "give me the default character
set, because I'll assume it is Chinese". This works okay on a Chinese
version of Windows. But it will not work on an English version of Windows.
Chinese text may appear as a series of empty boxes, or question marks. In
this case, you need to go into Control Panel, Regional and language Options,
and set the "Language for non-Unicode programs" to the right Chinese
codepage. Then, if an application requests the "default" system language,
without specifically asking for English, Chinese, etc, it will always get
Chinese.

If you buy Vista Ultimate edition, you will be able to install a Chinese MUI
(Multi-lingual User Interface Pack) onto an English version of Windows, and
make it look and behave pretty much the same as a Chinese version of
Windows. But this is not required, if you don't mind English menus, and you
run applications which are either (1) Unicode or (2) smart enough to request
the right language from the Operating System. With the Vista Home and
Business editions of Vista, you cannot add additional MUI langauges to the
base operating system langauge. To be clear: Vista Home and Business can
still display and write other languages; it just won't use any other
language for its own menus, dialogues etc.

If you have the chance to test your applications on an English language
Vista before you buy, that might avoid problems later on. But generally, you
should be okay.

Hope this helps,
 
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P

Paul Randall

Andrew McLaren said:
It depends on the applications you plan to run.

English-language Vista itself, has no problem displaying or handling
Chinese chararcters; no matter which edition you use (Home, Business,
Ultimate). Vista has built-in support for Unicode, as well as many East
Asian codepages: Simplified, Traditional, Big5 (Codepage 950), and oher
CJK codepages are well-represented. For example, the file c_950.nls in
System32 directory contains the codepage support for Big5; likewise
c_936.nls (Simplified), etc. The IME allows you to input Chinese
characters in a few different ways.

You can install and run the Simplified or Traditional Chinese versions of
Microsoft Office on English language Vista. All the Office stuff will be
in Chinese; all the Vista stuff will be in English (at least, I've
succesfully done this for Japanese; and I believe it is the same for
Chinese and Korean versions). Use the IME to configure Chinese keyboards
and input Chinese text.

Where you may have problems is with applications that "assume" they are
running on a specific language OS, and say "give me the default character
set, because I'll assume it is Chinese". This works okay on a Chinese
version of Windows. But it will not work on an English version of Windows.
Chinese text may appear as a series of empty boxes, or question marks. In
this case, you need to go into Control Panel, Regional and language
Options, and set the "Language for non-Unicode programs" to the right
Chinese codepage. Then, if an application requests the "default" system
language, without specifically asking for English, Chinese, etc, it will
always get Chinese.

If you buy Vista Ultimate edition, you will be able to install a Chinese
MUI (Multi-lingual User Interface Pack) onto an English version of
Windows, and make it look and behave pretty much the same as a Chinese
version of Windows. But this is not required, if you don't mind English
menus, and you run applications which are either (1) Unicode or (2) smart
enough to request the right language from the Operating System. With the
Vista Home and Business editions of Vista, you cannot add additional MUI
langauges to the base operating system langauge. To be clear: Vista Home
and Business can still display and write other languages; it just won't
use any other language for its own menus, dialogues etc.

If you have the chance to test your applications on an English language
Vista before you buy, that might avoid problems later on. But generally,
you should be okay.

Hope this helps,

You seem to know about this subject which comes up often here. I have
almost no expertise, but I'm looking for good references. Would you
recommend this URL:
http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/...command_line_international_configuration.mspx
to people who are stuck with a mismatch between the native language of their
OS and the language they want to use? Or do you have a list of URLs that
might help more, that you would like to share?

Thanks,

-Paul Randall
 
A

Andrew McLaren

Paul Randall said:
You seem to know about this subject which comes up often here.

Aw shucks :) Thanks Paul! I'm not very multilingual myself (although, I'm
making good progress with English). But (i) my wife speaks and writes
English, French, and Greek; and (ii) I worked for a while for an
International organisation with a multilingual staff, and computers running
many different languages. So I've kind of learned by osmosis. You're right,
that this is a frequent question and there is a lot of confusion and
misunderstanding; not helped by Microsoft's very short-sighted policies
around MUIs in Vista.
I have almost no expertise, but I'm looking for good references. Would
you recommend this URL:
http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/...command_line_international_configuration.mspx
to people who are stuck with a mismatch between the native language of
their OS and the language they want to use? Or do you have a list of URLs
that might help more, that you would like to share?

I don't know of a really good, easy-to-understand guide. But for a general
overview of MUI internals, I'd point folks towards:

Guide to Windows Vista Multilingual User Interface
http://technet2.microsoft.com/Windo...9fd8-4963-b06a-5ecc457006c71033.mspx?mfr=true

A few other useful URLs, not exhaustive:

Windows Vista Language Support (general language support lookup list)
http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/vista/Vista_Language_Support.mspx

Get World-Ready (main MSFT portal for devs and system admins on multilingual
issues)
http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/getWR/default.mspx

Michael Kaplan's Blog:
http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/
(Michael is one of the "world-ready guys" at Microsoft, a great advocate for
internationalising software; and a wonderful human being as well. Just about
any of his blog entries at random is a delightful education on multilingual
issues in software).

And of course, who can forget:
http://www.unicode.org/

Cheers,
 
P

Paul Randall

Thanks for the info.
At various times over the past few years I've tried to understand the
Microsoft internationalization stuff. Mostly it just hurts my brain. I've
often wondered how much of the Windows bloat everyone talks about is due to
Windows internationalization, and how much that effort affects the world.

-Paul Randall
 
S

Stephan Rose

Thanks for the info.
At various times over the past few years I've tried to understand the
Microsoft internationalization stuff. Mostly it just hurts my brain.
I've often wondered how much of the Windows bloat everyone talks about
is due to Windows internationalization, and how much that effort affects
the world.

Honestly I find Microsoft multi-language support to be pathetic...

I mean seriously, the ability to choose my OS language is an Ultimate
Extra???

That alone shows that multi-language support was added as an
afterthought, not as an integral part of the OS.

The same shows in how XP assumes the user has a US Layout keyboard when
using a Japanese IME with no way to change it other than messing around
with the keyboard driver files.

--
Stephan
2003 Yamaha R6

å›ã®ã“ã¨æ€ã„出ã™æ—¥ãªã‚“ã¦ãªã„ã®ã¯
å›ã®ã“ã¨å¿˜ã‚ŒãŸã¨ããŒãªã„ã‹ã‚‰
 
S

Stanley

I am going to purchase a vista English version because of its
English-style operating menu,
would there be any problem handling Chinese characters?

Best regards
 
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A

Andrew McLaren

Stephan Rose said:
Honestly I find Microsoft multi-language support to be pathetic...
I mean seriously, the ability to choose my OS language is an Ultimate
Extra???

I tend to agree. I've argued about language matters with program managers at
Microsoft till I'm almost in tears of frustration, because they don't get
it. Windows isn't just a commercial "product" - for better or worse, it's a
major cultural artifact: the tool which billions of people around the world
use every day to record their thoughts and ideas, communicate with others,
conduct business, run countries, make laws, fall in love, teach their
children, practice their religion, and so on. Windows is the clay tablet and
stylus of the modern age; it's our quill and parchment, our pencil and
paper. And yet ... often, we are forced to communicate in a bizarre dialect
of American English, because that's the only language available. For those
Microsoft guys, the only concern is to maximize returns for Microsoft
shareholders*, not to provide cultural resources for the world. Unlike the
clay tablet, or pen ink and paper, Windows is controlled by a single
commercial company, focused solely on profit. So we have reached a unique
inflexion point in human history.

Because of its malleability, software could be a wonderful tool for
preserving and enhancing linguistic diversity, and fostering cross-lingual
communication. But for the sake of a few lousy bucks, modern software has
become the opposite: a tool for language death. If I, as an English-speaking
Australian, feel linguistically alienated from Windows, how must non-English
speakers feel??

So, I'm reluctant to defend Microsoft on this matter. But I must point out a
couple of considerations:

- very few other major software vendors are any better; and many are worse.
I'm thinking of IBM, Oracle, Sun, Adobe, and even Apple. They have pluses
and minuses, but none are startlingly, significantly better at international
and multilingual stuff than Microsoft. Only open source provides a
significant boost in Internationalisation abilities (but, then there are
other considerations there). And, Microsoft has made considerable
improvements in internationalisation, especially in the last 10 years (ie,
they've gone from execrably appalling, to merely bad :).

- Vista made a big leap over XP, Server 2003 etc. In previous versions of
Windows, the basic product was compiled in English; then other languages
were installed on top of the English stuff to create foreign language
versions of Windows. In Vista, the base Windows is built using a kind of
nonsense, neutral language, with strings that don't mean anything to anyone.
Then they apply an MUI on top of that, to give it a language. So in Vista,
English is an equal partner alongside Japanese, German, Greek etc; made by
installing an English MUI onto the neutral base. During the Vista Beta there
was a class of bugs where you'd suddenly find a string of Klingon-looking
text in a menu or dialogue box; this was a place where the MUI overlay had
not replaced the underlying text. Among other problems, this helped solve
those bugs where message box text would be cut off, because dialogue boxes
where scaled to suit English text; and the like.


Microsoft's LIP program is an excellent step forward in adding linguistic
diversity to Windows. But unfortunately, it is still too tightly controlled
and overly bureaucratic. I wanted to develop a Scottish Gaelic LIP for
Vista - a language which is recognised as an official national language by
the Scottish Government, and is actively taught at primary, secondary and
tertiary levels in Scotland and other countries. But, short of an official
request from the UK Government with funding etc, Microsoft did not wish to
open up the programme to a community group or individual. So, no Gaelic for
Windows. (Gnome, Firefox etc are of course available in Gaelic editions, and
anyone can translate an open source app).

Paul Randall wrote ...
I've often wondered how much of the Windows bloat everyone
talks about is due to Windows internationalization, and how
much that effort affects the world.

Well, as you can tell by now, I am an advocate for greater
Internationalisation, not less :) I don't believe the bloat in Vista comes
from better support for multiple languages. But to the extent that
multilingual abilities adds "bloat", it is a necessary tax, which should
have been paid from day one. In fairness I don't believe American software
companies are uniquely narrow-minded in this regard. I've heard a senior
Australian IT manager, who I otherwise respect, complain long and loud about
Unicode, and that "all of us" (who, exactly?) are being held ransom by a
"minority" of double-byte character set users. I'm not a great or prolific
programmer; but in my own experience, developing Unicode applications is a
joy, compared to developing an application which needs to be codepage-aware.

Cheers,

* to declare my interest, I do own shares in Microsoft, as well as several
other tech companies. But I'd happily forego a few dividends, for better
multilingual support in Microsoft products.
 

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