Linux at the end of the world (our 2012 predictions)
Posted Jan 9, 2012 18:46 UTC (Mon) by lambda
In reply to: Linux at the end of the world (our 2012 predictions)
Parent article: Linux at the end of the world (our 2012 predictions)
The Mayan alphabet isn't yet well enough understood to be standardized in Unicode. They can read most inscriptions by now, but don't yet have a good handle on what are separate characters and what are different ways of writing the same character to do a good proposal for a Unicode encoding. There is a tentative reservation of space for Mayan hieroglyph in the SMP, but there isn't even yet a tentative proposal to fill it out.
Beyond that, rendering Mayan will be a royal pain in the ass, and would require either special rendering support or an advanced font technology like AAT or Graphite, neither of which is widely available. Mayan hieroglyphs are written in blocks of two to four glyphs, with particular layout rules, and sometimes two glyphs were merged into one. These blocks were arranged in pairs of two side by side reading right to left, and those pairs laid out in vertical columns from top to bottom, which were themselves laid out left to right.
Given that Mayan hieroglyphs were either carved in stone for ceremonial purposes, or written as calligraphy, there are many artistic flourishes and a lack of standardization that a printing press brings. So, while it will probably eventually be encoded in Unicode, it will take a lot of research to decode all of the glyphs and become certain enough of the structure to agree on a standardized encoding.
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