Monday, January 1, 2007

Comparing MS Windows Internationalization

Info on the current relatively good state of OS X localization can be found here. MS Win XP has, by contrast, only been available to consumers in one language at a time. But Win Vista, which should be out at the end of January, 2007, promises a new Multilingual User Interface (MUI) which is likely to equal OS X capabilities and also go further by adding Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Turkish, Greek, and possibly more. On the other hand, the new MUI will apparently only be provided with Vista Ultimate (retail price $400) and not with the cheaper Home Basic, Home Premium, and Business editions.

A list of various types of Vista language packs and input keyboards can be found here.

As for the Zune, I understand that its current software only does Latin script, which makes the device very limited indeed compared to the iPod.


Magnus Lewan said...

Very interesting. Do you have more information or links? I tried searching but did not find much on the subject. Considering that the vast majority of the world's population speaks at least two languages, this would seem vital.

Tom Gewecke said...

Some more info on the MUI stuff
is here.

Magnus Lewan said...

Thanks. It seems their base language is deeper engraved into the system than in MacOS X. If you change language in MacOS X, directories like "Library" and "System" change their names, and so do the names of many applications. With the Windows MUI, you choose one language, and after that "Program files" will always be called "Program files". I have a feeling MacOS X of 2001 in many respects has a better multi-language solution than MS Vista will offer in their exclusive Ultimate edition of 2007.

Tom Gewecke said...

I agree that the OS X approach is much better. Also I understand Win custom keyboards are buried more deeply in the OS and cannot be done for individual user accounts only. The only advantage Win has is in the number of languages offered.