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Philippe Caquant wrote at 2004-05-07 12:14:52 (-0700)
 > OK, I got it. It's all awfully complicated and it
 > would be a huge waste of time and energy, and even
 > maybe money, since it seems that fonts are not really
 > free. So I'll better just give up, I don't want to
 > lose time on such tech puzzles. Just call me back when
 > a proper solution will be at hand. In the meantime,
 > I'll draw my own characters with a goose feather, and
 > send them by ordinary mail :-(


This really isn't true - all you have to do is find free fonts that
support the characters you're interested in, and install them*.  Some
fonts are free, others aren't... but you can find free TrueType fonts
for nearly all Unicode characters (in Plane 0, at least)**.  Try the
resources here:

 http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/fonts.html

(See the font utilities page, to work out what's in what font, and
what you've got...
http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/utilities_fonts.html)

It's unreasonable to expect all fonts to support the entire standard,
even ideally.  A font is basically a way of displaying a particular
script in a particular style.  If you're a typographer creating a
latin font in, say, civilité style, there's really no point in
expecting you to also have to design glyphs for all the other
characters.  You probably know nothing about most of them, most of
your customers will have no use for them, and there's really no such
thing as civilité type with respect to Chinese characters.

*  After that, well, it's a question of how well your software supports
   them.  Recent Windows versions are supposed to be pretty good at
   this, though... you can see whether they work in your web browser
   by looking at test pages on that same site above.  Some scripts -
   particularly Indic ones - are difficult to render correctly and may
   not show up right.

** (Where "free" means "you don't have to pay for it, at least for
   personal use".  You can get fonts that are free in a more
   comprehensive sense for a lot of it, but your choices will be more
   limited.)