Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web
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Unicode Polytonic Greek
for the World Wide Web

Version 0.9.7


Macintosh OS8.6, OS9

For Macintosh's OS8.6 and OS9, Unicode support is provided by the ATSUI libraries. Unfortunately, the two major browsers (Internet Explorer 5 and Mozilla/Netscape 6.x, as well as Netscape 4.x) do not provide full ATSUI support, and so are limited in the Unicode character blocks which they support. Alas, Greek extended is not one of those character blocks (indeed, it seems that even monotonic Greek is not supported, but only the bare Greek letters).

Note that there is no Unicode support on versions of the Macintosh operating system older than Mac OS 8.6. For example, System 7 has no Unicode support at all.

What this means is that while Apple has provided a mechanism for Macintosh OS 9 to support Greek and extended (i.e., precomposed polytonic) Greek characters through Unicode, most applications developers have failed to take advantage of that capability. BBEdit 6.1, Internet Explorer 4.x and 5, Mozilla, Netscape 4.x, iCab, Netscape 6.x, Microsoft Office 98 and 2001, and Outlook Express 5 for Mac OS9 all were tested on Mac OS 9, and all lack support for Unicode polytonic Greek. Indeed, as far as I have been able to determine, only the WorldText text editor does provide display support for Unicode polytonic Greek.

In effect, this means that through no fault of Apple's, Macintosh OS9 users are limited to using either WorldText only with Unicode, betacode in anything, SGreek in anything, or GreekKeys for Mac (which is not compatible with the Windows equivalent because of differences in the MacRoman and Windows CP1250 character sets).

If you have a G3 or G4 Mac with at least 128 MB of RAM, you might want to consider upgrading to Mac OS X version 10.3, creating a partitionless dual boot system with OS9.2.1 and OS X, and booting into OS X and using OmniWeb, OS X Mail, and TextEdit whenever you want to work with Unicode polytonic Greek. (Though you should be warned: OS X is a very different platform from OS9: OSX is a Unix-based derivative of NeXTStep, not a direct descendent of OS9. Of course, many Mac users prefer the new operating system, including the author.) Or you might want to consider getting on BareBones', Microsoft's, and the Mozilla organization's case and pushing them into upgrading their products. (It is very unlikely that applications for Mac OS 9 or earlier will ever be upgraded; all effort is now focusing on OS X.


Thus far there is only one way to input Unicode polytonic Greek in OS9 or OS X: using the so-called Unicode Hex Input Method: select the Hex Input method from the Keyboards menu and hold down the option key and type out the 4-digit hexadecimal Unicode code point number!

Web Browsers

The Mac OS 9 versions of Netscape 4, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla (including Netscape 6) all lack support for Unicode. When last tested, iCab also lacked support for Unicode. Opera for Mac OS 9 has not been tested on Macintosh operating systems since the release of version 6 (the first Unicode enabled version for Windows).

Netscape and the Mozilla Organization are making definite progress toward providing full Unicode support in Netscape for OS X. And the OS X-only OmniWeb browser has excellent support for Unicode!

Text Editors

BBEdit has Unicode support in OS X, though it does not display polytonic Greek. Tests of Unicode in BBEdit for OS 9 were not encouraging, but cannot be described as exhaustive.


Microsoft Office (both Office 98 and Office 2001) for Mac OS 9 lacks Unicode support. So, too, does Outlook Express, AppleWorks, and every other application tested.

Installing the ATSUI Libraries, Unicode Hex Input, and WorldText in OS9

Coming soon

 Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web Version 0.9.7
 Copyright © 1998-2002 Patrick Rourke. All rights reserved.
D R A F T - Under Development
 Please do not treat this as a published work until it is finished!
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