Beth Mardutho News: Microsoft Releases Windows XP (RC1) with Native Syriac Support
Beth Mardutho News
Microsoft Releases Windows XP Professional (RC1) with Native Syriac Support
Piscataway, NJ, July 5, 2001 (Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute) Microsoft Inc. made available today its latest operating system Windows XP Professional Release Candidate 1 (RC1). This is the first operating system to have native Syriac support. Users can simply click on the language control (located on the task toolbar), choose Syriac, and type away using numerous applications, including Office XP (for word processing, desktop publishing, databases, spreadsheets, presentations, web design), Internet Explorer (for web browsing), Outlook Express (for writing emails), as well as many of the Microsoft accessories (Notepad, Paint, etc.). Any application that uses Uniscribe's functionality for text input and output will automatically have Syriac support, paving the way for developers to write Syriac applications. Windows XP Professional RC1 is available now from the Microsoft Web Site [www.microsoft.com].
Click on Syriac on the task toolbar and type Syriac in many applications.
Name your folders and file in Syriac!
Native Syriac support means that the language is implemented at the operating system level. This allows the user, for instance, to name files and folders in Syriac (see image on right). The operating system also knows about Syriac dates and time. For example, when the user inserts an automatic date in Word XP, it will write the name of the day and the month in Syriac.
Having a hard time locating keys? The On-Screen Keyboard helps you find any letter, vowel or diacritic mark; you can also type using this tool. Because of the lack of a 'standard' Syriac keyboard layout, the user has the option of using two different keyboards, one modeled after the Arabic keyboard and the other is phonetic. The image below shows the On-Screen Keyboard used in conjunction with Notepad.
The On-Screen Keyboard helps you find Syriac keys.
Windows XP ships with one Syriac font, Estrangelo Edessa, which Windows uses as a default font. Designed for Beth Mardutho's Meltho Fonts, Estrangelo Edessa was provided to Microsoft to be included in the Windows XP distributions. The Meltho fonts package includes over 20 other fonts, available free of charge from Beth Mardutho [www.bethmardutho.org]. These fonts can be used now in Windows 2000/XP-RC1 and Office XP.
Beth Mardutho worked with Microsoft for the past four years to make this happen. Central to the success of this story is Paul Nelson of Microsoft's Complex Scripts Group. Nelson was the communication link between Beth Mardutho and Microsoft and developed much of the Syriac features inside Windows. Back in 1998, Beth Mardutho took part in a meeting with the Unicode Consortium and the International Standard Organization (ISO) when a proposal to add Syriac to the coding standard Unicode was presented. Subsequently, due to the generous contributions of Beth Mardutho's benefactors and the hard work the Meltho team, the Meltho fonts became available to the public free of charge in 2000.
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Beth Mardutho is an academic institute whose goal is to globalize the Syriac language. The Institute is currently working on creating the largest digital eLibrary of Syriac books and journals on the Internet, among other projects. These projects are made possible by our generous benefactors.
Become a part of bringing the Syriac language into the Third Millennium by supporting Beth Mardutho through membership. Members are entitled to a number of privileges outlined on the Institute's web site. Go to www.bethmardutho.org and click on Gifts Online. Become a member today!