ones & zeros, waheds & sifrs
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 23, 2009
A friend of mine works as a technology journalist, and she just gave a big thumbs up to the newly launched Windows 7. I’m happy that the new system seems to be such a hit, although I doubt that I will personally get to try it out anytime soon. I use a Mac at home, and my work PC snidely reminds me that I “do not have Administrator privileges!” every time I try to approve even the most innocuous update.
However, I’m not writing this post simply for the chance to whine about my dis-empowerment. I’m writing because I’m happy to report that Windows 7 is also launching in Arabic – not a year from now, not six months from now, not whenever the programmers remember that there are indeed people in the world who do not use Roman script, but in two weeks. (You can see the news on PC Mag‘s website, here.) Nor is this a last-minute line extension, either: I remember seeing news about the availability of a beta version last winter.
I think this reflects a very healthy evolution in computing culture. After all, computers think in 0s and 1s. They don’t care whether programs use script that reads left to right or right to left – but historically, programs have been biased towards the former, meaning that Arabic script often looks buggy.
Actually, Arabic still usually looks buggy on my Mac – not that I plan to go back to a home PC anytime soon. But for those of you who enjoy living in the PC world, you might check out Microsoft’s dedicated Arabic product and support site, here.