[Scribus] Khmer and other Southeast Asian scripts

Roger Sperberg rsperberg
Wed Jun 27 23:10:25 CEST 2007

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: avox <avox at arcor.de>
> Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 10:06:28 -0700 (PDT)
> Subject: Re: [Scribus] Khmer and other Southeast Asian scripts
> Andreas wrote:
> Scribus supports fonts with ZWSP since late 1.3.3, and ZWSP independently
> of
> any font
> since 1.3.4. It should be possible to show ZWSP as control character in
> 1.3.5 - that's just
> a small extension.

I was unaware of this and I'm very glad to hear it.

> Is there a standard mark for this? Otherwise I'd use something similar to
> the
> control character used for a smart hyphen in 1.3.4.
> Note that on canvas we can't move characters to provide space for
> zero-space
> control glyphs.

Nothing standard that I know of.

MS Word uses a box within a box to display the zero width space, so every
ZWSP pushes the text to the right and changes what fits on each line as you
edit in that view. For someone accustomed to seeing spaces between words (as
I am), this is easier to work with than the OOo Writer approach.

OpenOffice.org Writer displays a slanted gray bar between the preceding and
following characters to indicate the location of a ZWSP. (Maybe I should say
preceding and following words.) It has the advantage of keeping characters
in place, not shifting them or changing line breaks, which sounds like what
you are describing as well.

The gray bars are distracting because of how tall and dark they are -- I
have wished a light color could be used instead of gray, thinking the letter
shapes would be less affected that way and I could keep the invisibles
displayed. Instead, I usually go to Word to see ZWSP and enter and edit text
in a different program, and I don't use OOo Writer because of how it feels
reading the text. (That's very much my own personal experience. I don't
presume to speak for native Khmer readers.)

> You'll notice that the Scribus team really treasures the bug reports and
> requests
> submitted to http://bugs.scribus.net.

That's what I can contribute and I recognize this as essential to
progressing a program. I'll do my share here. I'll also contribute by
working with a Khmer translation* of Scribus if I can.

> Please make this a critical feature for 1.3.6.
> >
> The ability to display south east asian scripts depends on the ability to
> handle
> advanced features from OpenType fonts. The old text engine in Scribus was
> not able to support that, so it has to be rewritten in 1.3.4 - 1.3.6.
> Unfortunately
> that beast takes a lot of time to fix.
> I can't promise what features will make it into 1.3.6, but OTF handling is
> on the
> top of my list.

>From all that's been written, I understand how the rewriting of the engine
has to come first. And that that has a lot of consequences and that any
problems arising out of the rewrite have to be dealt with too.

If dealing with Open Type Font matters has the side effect of activating
complex script support, then I'm glad to hear that my wishes and needs fall
naturally in line with your plans! :-)

And as long as it's understood what the true consequences are of not
handling complex scripts, then I'll be able to feel comfortable with the
process that sets priorities.


Roger Sperberg
Using Scribus since June 2007

* I hope that a Khmer translation can be completed by the time Scribus can
handle Khmer (and other complex scripts). That would put me and others
interested in Khmer under the same expectations of delivery as the
developers, which seems only fair. :-)

firstinitial lastname at gmail
Cambodian Language Exercises -- cambodian.tiddlyspot.com
Beginning Cambodian Reader -- cambodian-reader.tiddlyspot.com
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