So, this is my turn to test the infamous Windows8 developer preview. I felt it was quite unattractive until I found out about Myanmar Language support in it. Mg Pyone said there was a Myanmar font in Win8 and I knew it was Unicode once I saw character points and dotted circle. It has all the character for Myanmar and ethnic character points.
The install startup has Myanmar keyboard in it’s option, and strangely not in the system. I guess it’s because it’s still the dev preview. You need to choose it while installing to be able to use later. The switch for Burmese and English layout is the familiar Ctrl+Shift shortcut.
For the die-hard Zawgyi fans, you need to look no further. Just delete this font and install Zawgyi. Ta da… Win8 is all yours.
The font family is “Myanmar Text”, quite boring name for Microsoft. But it does the work. Most of the programs recognize it as fallback font while IE doesn’t. (Well you can set manually though.)
After installing firefox, the viewing of Burmese seems fine. Well, yes, it has a lot of mistakes and positioning errors. What the hell, they can be fixed once we submit the detailed bug report. The thing is that “Microsoft supports Burmese”. Windows 8 intends for not only desktop platform but also for the tablet and mobiles. So anything related with Windows 8 will come with Burmese support.
Funny thing is that some people used to say that they don’t use Unicode standard because Windows doesn’t support Unicode. The fact is that only Burmese Unicode fonts developed by Burmese people is the most bug-free of all time while OS vendors release Burmese fonts with full of bugs upon not fully understanding of the language. Please keep in mind that latest Unicode model for Myanmar is 200% based on Myanmar3 font. Myanmar3 was made as a proposal model to Unicode consortium. So any Unicode font developer has full responsibility to follow Myanmar3 encoding or so we call the Unicode standard.
Sorting is just fine but not everywhere. Calculation is also fine in command prompt. But all Burmese texts are shown as question marks. Yes, any characters other than ASCII is shown as question mark in cmd. So, basically, Windows supports ICU for Burmese which enable Burmese texts to be calculable. So it’s supposed to be most likely fine in spreadsheet applications too. (#Note: Sorting is not using ICU engine, Ko Ngwe Tun pointed out in below comment and I agreed.)
So I see Windows 8 as a new page for Myanmar Unicode revolution which is even bigger than OSX Lion supporting Burmese considering Windows has majority of userbase. But, hell no, I don’t believe people will change using Unicode any time soon. Most users are still not that smart or ready to accept the change yet I dare say. It’s not the main point that you are able type Unicode texts, but the most important thing is to have the guts to use Unicode no matter what against all odds of people around you not practicing standard. At least, as some of my friends say, “No more square boxes”.