Non-standard 8-bit fonts still in use

Andrew Cunningham at
Sat Apr 30 17:21:09 CDT 2016


Most African communities I work with within diaspora are using Unicode.
Although 8 bit legacy content is still in use.

Probably the most use I see of legacy encodings is among the Karen
languages. Sgaw Karen uses seem to still be using 8-bit fonts. There is a
psuedo-Unicode solution but 8-bit fonts dominate still.

The problem for Karen is that the default rendering for Unicode fonts isn't
suitable. And locl support in applications has been lagging.

The ideal Unicode font for Myanmar script would have somewhere between 8-10
language systems. Cross platform support is lacking. Currently best
approach is a separate font for each language system.


On Friday, 16 October 2015, Don Osborn <dzo at> wrote:
> I was surprised to learn of continued reference to and presumably use of
8-bit fonts modified two decades ago for the extended Latin alphabets of
Malian languages, and wondered if anyone has similar observations in other
countries. Or if there have been any recent studies of adoption of Unicode
fonts in the place of local 8-bit fonts for extended Latin (or non-Latin)
in local language computing.
> At various times in the past I have encountered the idea that local
languages with extended alphabets in Africa require special fonts (that
region being my main geographic area of experience with multilingual
computing), but assumed that this notion was fading away.
> See my recent blog post for a quick and by no means complete discussion
about this topic, which of course has to do with more than just the fonts
> TIA for any feedback.
> Don Osborn

Andrew Cunningham at
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