Why isn't Unicode functional yet?

What is everyone waiting for?

For someone like me who does a lot of multilingual work online, full Unicode implementation looks like the Holy Grail of character sets. Yet I can’t find anyone who’s really using it. I keep seeing “Yeah, man, it’s gonna be really great once it’s working.” What’s taking so long?

Unicode will allow all characters from languages around the world to be displayed with a single unified system of coding. So far it’s frustrating trying to exchange text in other languages beyond plain ASCII because different systems interpret the codes as different characters. Unicode is supposed to be the same for everyone. What has to be done before everyone can use it?

Unicode works just fine. It’s up to the manufacturers to decide to impliment it. There are many technologies with Unicode support already, like Perl.

I believe Windows CE is Unicode. And our company (GE) is heavily into unicode. I’ve just gone through a debugging cycle of a unicode conversion of our legacy software. So it’s out there.

The reason it’s not universal is because a lot of old software breaks when you try to convert it. Fixing all that legacy code costs a lot of money. So all modern compilers and OS’s still support the legacy stuff.

Unicode has been at the core of MacOS since version 9 shipped, and has been well established on Unix for a long time. The question is not why Unicode isn’t functional, the question is why isn’t Microsoft interested in making it functional. And the answer is, Unicode is an open standard beyond Microsoft’s control and it does not serve to enhance Microsoft’s OS monopoly, therefore it is useless to Microsoft.

I twiddled my Internet Explorer to make Unicode functional (I forget how), and it’s worked like a charm ever since. I use it on my Esperanto site, as do a fairly hefty proportion of Esperantist netizens.

You can set the Windows '98 keyboard to type International English, but that wouldn’t be the same as enabling it on IE, would it? Or would it? (Internet Explorer and International English having the same initials is a little confusing.)