Unicode Language Products

Snow Leopard, what have you done?!

As just about anybody working with fonts and languages already knows, Snow Leopard is having lots of trouble with fonts. Everything from awkward text reflows in some applications to the bizarre substitution of certain Unicode characters for other Unicode characters (e.g., Arabic waw mysteriously appearing in Syriac text).

There is also some confusion about which font file formats are and are not recognized by Snow Leopard. To our knowledge, all font file formats are still accepted including the dfont format. It does however seem that Apple may be getting ready to abandon this format but this will not affect the Unicode rendering of the scripts we support.

As for language kits and Unicode in general, not much seems to have changed here and our products continue to work as expected. The only known issue is with our Syriac support which now has the odd occurrence of an Arabic waw intermittently.

What can you do about the problems?

Apparently very little. That's not very helpful, we know, but Apple has been largely silent on all of the font issues that have cropped up with Snow Leopard and has yet to offer a solution. The only Internet post that smacks of an Apple engineering origin seems to indicate that the way fonts are handled has changed under the hood, so to speak, but those changes were supposed to be invisible to the user — that's clearly not the case.

There also doesn't appear to be much that we can do either...but wait for Apple to address the larger problem of font handling in Snow Leopard.


Obviously, if you work in a font intensive environment, you should consider downgrading until these issues are resolved.


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