Superscript and Subscript Characters in General Use

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Fri Jan 20 00:59:39 CST 2017

On Fri, 20 Jan 2017 01:36:07 +0200, Khaled Hosny wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 14, 2017 at 02:18:01AM +0100, Marcel Schneider wrote: 
> > On Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:01:41 +0200, Khaled Hosny wrote: 
> > > 
> > > LibreOffice indeed did not use HarfBuzz on Windows before 5.3, which is 
> > > not released yet. 
> > 
> > Is the integration of HarfBuzz limited to free software? 
> HarfBuzz has a fairly liberal license, so in theory it can be used in 
> anywhere. 
> > And what might be the reason of the delayed integration of HarfBuzz in the 
> > Windows version of LibreOffice? 
> Nothing specific, LibreOffice and before it and most like 
> StarOffice before them just used what API the platform provides to do 
> text layout, which is not an uncommon practice, it even seemed to be the 
> best practice back in time. The reasons it finally switched to HarfBuzz 
> are outlined in: 

Thank you for the great job you are doing for cross-platform text layout and 
Unicode implementation!

Now weʼre just missing a good reason to bring to the users why Edge still doesnʼt 
support the Unicode fraction slash specific text rendering. Doubtlessly if it did, 
users would expect Word to do the same. Then if Word did, continuing this way would 
make it a clone of Publisher. Is that what we shall tell people when they wonder 
why the fraction slash—that may be in a prominent position on the keyboard, such as 
on Shift + AltGr/Option/0x10 + 7—doesnʼt work for them when theyʼre on Word? 
Thus weʼll end up recommending to use LibreOffice throughout. IMO thatʼs fair.
(Though weʼll have to get the NNBSP displayed. Quite easy, but deliberately discarded.)

On the other hand, Microsoftʼs way of writing good-looking vulgar fractions seems to be 
with super/sub scripts. That could expand to use superscripts for ordinals and 
abbreviations, too. Is that what weʼre supposed to do? The answer has been “no!” 
But in a user-centered approach, weʼve to provide both and let the user choose 
whatʼs the most appropriate for the actual task. I think that not doing so is 
to overstate the separation between text encoding and typography, that has been 
questioned anyway. [1]



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