Global config for fonts depending on language

Gerrit Sangel z0idberg at
Fri Oct 5 07:27:54 PDT 2007

Hello list,

due to some Unicode restrictions (Han Unification for example), one single 
Unicode font (like Code2000) is not sufficient. You need many fonts, because 
one font may have good font quality for a certain type of script, but bad for 
another one. For CJK languages, this is always necessary.

Because Unicode specifies that the fonts should be selected according to 
language which are specified in a higher languages (like xhtml), one font 
cannot be enough for all scripts.

Some applications, for example Firefox, have a font config utility where you 
can select fonts depending on language, for example a specific font for 
Korean and another one for Japanese. The problem is that this then only works 
in Firefox. Some other applications do not even have a font selection 
utility, so this is not very convenient. 

I think it would be nice to have a global font config, where you can specify 
the font according to ISO-639 and which would then work in _all_ 
applications. You wouldn’t be so restricted to some languages the menu would 
offer (e.g. Firefox only offers Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, 
Japanese and Korean), but you could also specify the sub tags (e.g. roman 
spelling of Chinese, where you would like to have the characters from a 
western font, not from a Chinese font). 

I guess, a xml file would be quite convenient for it, maybe something like 

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <font lang="de">DejaVu Sans</font>
  <font lang="ja">IPAGothic</font>
  <font lang="zh">文鼎PL細上海宋Uni</font>
  <font lang="zh-TW" lang="zh-HK">Ming(for ISO10646)</font>
  <font lang="de">DejaVu Serif</font>
  <font lang="ja">IPAMincho</font>
  <font lang="zh">文鼎PL中楷Uni</font>

You would not be restricted to serif and sans serif that way, because these 
concepts may not work in other scripts.


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