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Technological discrimination based on culture?

Hello,

I hope the topic I am about to discuss is appropriate and relevant to people reading this forum. Since it is not something one hears about to often (as far as I can tell) I would appreciate your views and feedback.

The topic which concerns me is the language support offered by leading software used to produce a variety of popular products. The software uses a proprietary format and is developed by a private company. As such, it has no obligation to anyone and can do pretty much what it pleases. That's the feeling anyway and that's just the way things are in the world. Ok.

By not supporting a group of languages (Right-to-Left languages in this case - Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu etc.) which are used in an entire region of the globe, is it fair to say that the company discriminate developers in this region? The reality is that by not providing these developers with the linguistic support to develop products for their own market, the entire region is being excluded from utilizing this growing technology and is left behind.

The first thought that comes to mind is: "Is it economical? If not, then why should they bother?" As much as this is a valid and logical point to make I would rather focus more on what does the lack of language support means in terms of software usability and accessibility. The company which develops the software in question goes to extreme length to ensure that the content created using the software is usable and accessible. The campaign is most often accompanied by moving slogans such as "All websites created equal", but what about the software? Isn't it just a bit absurd, not to say even hypocritical, that a company which advocates accessibility of content isn't making sure the product itself is accessible?

I'll conclude by saying that I am interested in the social, techno-cultural aspects of this matter and not the economical ones. With regard to the economical aspect I'll add that I personally don't understand how a company can starve a region from utilizing its technology and then doesn't understand why it doesn't see a profit. The good old chicken and the egg syndrome. I'm sure there are people here who completely disagree with the points I've made, and would really appreciate hearing your take on things and learn about how you see this whole discussion.

Thank you,

Amir

http://www.the-right-to-flash.com

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

What is the company?  What is the product?

As Joel knows support for right to left is not trivial to implement.

Also bear in mind that there is a lot of piracy in the region, apart and the proportion of computer owners is small.

MS Arabia used to be self-funding. That is to say all the money it made from customization went back to it, and none at all to the host company. So Redmond got nothing for a copy of Arabic-enabled Windows.

With Unicode this may have changed.

Finally remember that most programmers in this area don't speak Arabic anyway. They are Indian or European immigrants.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 01, 2003

"What is the company?  What is the product?"
Macromedia, Flash

Reading his site, his main complaint is that you can't make Flash sites easily in R-to-L languages.

Since my opinion of Flash, and most web sites that use Flash, are low, I don't think this is necessarly a bad thing...

RocketJeff
Friday, August 01, 2003

Ah. From the post I thought it was not about creating R-to-L content in Flash, but about the Flash development environment itself not being available in R-to-L languages.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Stephen,

The company is Macromedia and the software is Flash. I didn't want to mention it because I have noticed in other discussions that that seeing the word "Flash" creates an automatic antagonistic response from some people. They tend to be either SVG evangelists or traumatised by Flash intrusive ad campaigns. I included a link at the bottom of my post to a petition me and a colleague started with a Palestinian Flash developer calling Macromedia to address Flash's lack of support for RTL.

Regarding your comment about developers speaking Arabic, I would like to mention that I was referring to Israeli and Arab developers who can't develop products intended for the Arab and Israeli market because Flash does not support Right to Left languages. In that respect, the language used by the developer himself is irrelevant. I know of a few companies here in London commissioned by Israeli business to develop web applications using Hebrew not knowing what hell awaits them. The projects were a complete mess and demanded much money and time than was expected. It is not just a problem of Middle Eastern developers.

Flash developers in the Middle East can't seem to offer clients anything more than ads and websites when it comes to Flash. While the rest of the development community is moving toward new realms of Flash development (http://www.macromedia.com/software/central/) the rest are excluded from offering the same solutions to the market they serve.

As for you comment about software piracy, if I'm not mistaken the Far East is also a problematic region especially with China not adhering to copyright laws (correct me I'm wrong). Still, Macromedia made sure Flash supports Chinese and Korean. Again, it's all about the money and I don't think there's any dispute about that. The software which is used to create usable content is unusable. The content created is unusable in right-to-left languages. Beyond the money issue, it just doesn't sound right. Perhaps it is just me.

We want to use Flash but we can't. Macromedia argues it doesn't see as many people in the Middle East buying Flash as it would like to. Would you buy software which you couldn't use to a satisfactory level? It doesn't make much sense to me. How do they expect us to buy something that doesn't meet our needs and doesn't work? So much for economical sense I guess.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

Chicken and egg. They don't see sales, and they won't get them till their software works right, but they won't put the development into getting it to work right until they see sales.

I wouldn't bother petitioning them. Just inform them their software is hopelessly buggy and you have to inform every client not to use it.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 01, 2003

Amir,
these are harsh words you use. "the entire region is being excluded from utilizing this growing technology and is left behind.", "starving", etc. pp. So you really want to make us believe that it's a single western company, Macromedia, who's to blame for the current economic disaster in those regions you mentioned? Of course, that's not what you are trying to say, are you?
Point is: you don't need to have right-to-left support inside Flash to be able to conduct banners etc. for those regions. Just use any layout software which does support it, and import the vector graphics in Flash. That won't make the animation bigger. Of course you know that, so what's your point then?
Maybe your point can be derived from your choice of topic: "discrimination", "culture". Ahh, there you go, the long tradition of superstition and blaming of foreign powers for one's suffering in the near and midle east. Right?

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003

You haven't found "discrimination". Rather you have found a chink in some very large armor. A chink that a smart company could use build a product around.

Marc
Friday, August 01, 2003


Macromedia know full well about the RTL defects in Flash and for reason mentioned chose not to prioritize it for the reason mentioned above. I see this petition as an educative means to alert people (developers, designers, clients) about the defects. Till about two weeks ago this was some sort of a secret restricted to the Middle East and since then the topic has been raised in sites all over the world. People had no idea and now they do, even you. I don't dismiss the importance of notifying people and make them think twice before they buy, use or commission a Flash product. I think it is very important. As much as I appreciate Flash technology in a lot of ways, portraying it to be shining bullet proof software is borderline false advertising.

After four years of battling with Hebrew in Flash and not being able to even display a single line of dynamic text correctly I just felt I had to do something. Even if it doesn't bring to a solution at least I know that thousands of people all over the world now know and will make their own decisions in the future. If we don't constitute as economical justification, perhaps some of them will. 

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

"either SVG evangelists or traumatised by Flash intrusive ad campaigns"

Or just thnk it is a waste of bandwidth.


Friday, August 01, 2003

"After four years of battling with Hebrew in Flash and not being able to even display a single line of dynamic text correctly I just felt I had to do something"

Strange. Four years and no success? I know people who've built their own Regular Expressions parsers in Flash/ActionScript in just two weeks.

I begin to believe you're either an untalented, overpriced wannabe who has to justify why he's been working on it for 4 years without success, or you're just been paid by Adobe. Whatever.

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Jonny,

My intention was not to make any anti-globalization statement and as an Israeli I feel I'm much more close to the West culturally in terms of mentality and have no "Middle Eastern grudges" against Uncle Sam. If any, the US is one of the main reasons why my country has been able to sustain itself for the past 55 years. Please let us not take this path. Trust me when I say it has nothing to do with it.

It happens to be that Macromedia is an American company and that the region they exclude is the Middle East. If it's ok with you, I don't mind regarding this is as shear coincidence. If you find my choice of words harsh than perhaps it describes our feelings about not being able to use something like everyone else. Some might consider this statement to be wimpy (Ok, what da hell) but for someone from the "inside" it just feels wrong. That's it.

Amir   

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Jonny again,

I don't know how familiar you are with Flash internal architecture to say if the solution can be cooked up in less than four years or more than 2 minutes. If you have any insight into the matter I'll be very happy to hear them and perhaps they might help us somehow in the future. Attempts are being made all the time (http://www.quasimondo.com/archives/000275.php) but fail to reach the desired outcome.

" I begin to believe you're either an untalented, overpriced wannabe who has to justify why he's been working on it for 4 years without success, or you're just been paid by Adobe. Whatever." If you chose to use this tone then I guess there is not much point in trying to have a dialogue here. Thanks for your comments anyway.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

"I'll conclude by saying that I am interested in the social, techno-cultural aspects of this matter and not the economical ones"


Well, beyond economic issues is there really anything left to discuss? As you've already pointed out, this is a for-profit company. They aren't doing this to make a social statement. There are doing it to make money. For whatever reasons, they don't view adding support for those languages to be profitable.

This isn't an issue of a corporation being a good citizen. Just because a company doesn't want to support a particular set of languages doesn't mean they are being discriminatory. It just means they probably don't want to bother with it.

Mark Hoffman
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Mark,

I agree and I am not trying to appeal to Macromedia executives conscious and ask them to do "the right thing" that is socially correct or whatever. As was stated before, there is a problem by concluding that the region is not profitable enough while the product isn't working according to people's needs.

In their campaigns advocating for accessible design Macromedia asks developers to consider blind people because "they also have a right to use the Web". All I'm saying is that it's not good lecturing people about people's right to use an interface when the software used to create the interface can not be used by a particular group. Exclusion is the apposite of including. If one chooses not to include someone based on his language, country of origin or any other characteristics it's discriminatory. "You can not use X because you are Y". Whether or not the use of Y by X is profitable or not does not make it any less discriminatory. What you are saying, please correct me I'm wrong, is that there is an economical justification to withheld something from a group of people. That may be the case. I don't have to like it and it appears I'm not the only one. I guess you have to be there to understand why it is so frustrating.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

"If one chooses not to include someone based on his language, country of origin or any other characteristics it's discriminatory"

There is more to it than that. Macromedia probably doesn't have a version that supports the native language of North American's Eskimos either. Is that discriminatory?

When we say "discriminatory" in this sense, it conjures up images of racists people that are making decisions because they have hatred or strong dislike for another group of people.

Are you honestly suggesting that Macromedia doesn't have full support for languages in the Middle East because they have a racial issue with Israelis or Arabs?

Money is normally a larger motivator than any pre-conceived stereotypes or racist feelings. I firmly believe that if it were profitable for Macromedia to do as you want, then they would do it.

Mark Hoffman
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Mark,

This is NOT about race and no one was accusing Macromedia of being racist. The fact of the matter is that Hebrew and Arabic people can't use the product. That's just the way it is. I was not saying or inferring that there is conscious policy to racially exclude anyone, so please don't make it sound like I have. There's no need to fuel the atmosphere with dramatic insinuations of that kind.

With all due respect to the North American's Eskimos, how many of them are connected to the Web and how many of them produce Flash content? I doubt if it matches the numbers you will find in the Middle East. If an Eskimo Flash developer decides he wants Flash to support his language he can lobby the company like we are doing. No harm in that.

The situation is quiet simple people:
1. Flash doesn't support Right-to-left Languages. That's a fact.
2. Right-to-left languages are spoken in the Middle East. That's a fact.
3. Flash developers and web users would like to enjoy the same advantages Flash has to offer the rest of the world. That's a fact.

It has nothing to do with race or geo-political protest. Just a bunch of us folks wantin' to you a product. Plain and simple. Concluding that we are not worth the effort while the product is not working seems foolish. "Buy our product (which we know you can't utilize) so we can see if there's any justification to make it so you can use it". Makes sense to anyone?

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

Amir,

Perhaps it's a culture thing, but over here in the States when you throw down words like "discrimination" it's usually tied to racism. Maybe it's different in your part of the world, but over here accusing someone of discrimination is a pretty serious thing.

I'm sure it's frustrating that you can't have the products you want, but there is no bogey man here. It's a economic issue and to take it beyond that is foolish.

I think we've exhausted this discussion.

Mark Hoffman
Friday, August 01, 2003


Well Mark, then perhaps calling it indirect-discrimination will be better suited becasue whether they like it or not, that's what they are doing.  Thanks you all for your views and comments.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

The reality is though that projects do prioritize features on the basis of marginal cost/benefit analysis. These cost and benefits go beyond the pure financial, and could be related to image, karma, liability wathever.
Clearly Macromedia has for now decided that putting their development efforts on different other things than the R-L issue will be a better investment.
Amir's efforts of trying to raise a public stink about this may change the cost/benefit perception. It could up the benefit side of the equation by raising the cost of not giving in to the request.
The reason probably some people do not feel to happy about these type of strategies is that they prefer to see the balance being tilted by either a reduction in cost (a new feature in the toolchain Macromedia uses to develop Flash makes it far cheaper to support R-L), or an projected increase in benefit (Macromedia's estimates on the number of extra copies sold on the basis of the inclusion of this feature are revised upwards).
Changing the equasion by upping the cost of not implementing does not change the implementation cost, and does not change the net benefit. It is more like having to man the pumps to stay level, because someone is drilling holes in the hull.
All is fair in love and war I guess.
Personally I think R-L support in broad horizontal applications, especially for a tool that focusses on being a content platform with full client application virtual machine ambitions is a feature one would expect in 2003. As others have mentioned, this is an opportunity for a competitor to gain a stong foothold in the R-L market.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, August 01, 2003

Sorry for my ignorance. I dont know anything about R-to-L languages, and also not much about Flash.
But can't you just write a function that reverse a string and use it everytime before displaying?
And use right alignment to replace the normally left alignment?

Jack
Friday, August 01, 2003

That's one of the directions I was trying to head Amir to. Without success. Obviously, he expects Macromedia either to implement it the correct way in the next version, or declare in public that they have been indirectly-discriminating against.

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Jack,

As you can appreciate from this example (http://www.quasimondo.com/archives/000275.php) the problems are much more fundamental and cannot be solved with a mere function. It takes more than a reversing function to compensate for the lack of support for the Bidirectional Algorithm (http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr9)in Flash. If it was as simple as that we would just get an ActionScript guru to spend a weekend and get it over with. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. You are more than welcome to browse the examples we've assembled (http://www.the-right-to-flash.com/about.php) and see that in the case of Arabic for examples, Flash doesn't display the text at all. It will take more than a reverse function to fix that. As the product's users our job it to use it - not fix it. That's how we see it. A person who puts out $500 on a software expects it to work. He should not spend countless hours trying to make it work.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

Johnny,

So let me get this straight for a second.. hmmmm.. so Macromedia doesn't implement the support and doesn't have to face the fact they indirectly discriminate an entire region of the world from using their product. Lucky Macromedia, it's their lucky day. There's a saying "
You can't get away with trying to hold the two ends of a stick." But I guess it's ok to try.

You seem to be forgetting over and over again that we are devoted Flash users and in some cases borderline fanatics about it. All we are trying to do is call Macromedia's attention to this problem since it's obvious they don't rate it as being an important one. That's all. Silly us, trying to help make THEIR technology ubiquitous and popular. How dare we??

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

I do believe you that you are fanatics.

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003

:)

At last we agree on something.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

Amir, every non-latin language has its difficulties when it comes to computer.  I use Chinese all the time and there are lots of technologies that do not support it until recently, such as Java, Flash, Javascript, PHP (still not supporting now). Also there are lots of programs that cannot handle it correctly: Photoshop, PageMaker, Quark, Premiere, lots more. (However most of these support Chinese now in their most recent versions)
So what did we do?  We patch them, hack them, modify them, to create workarounds so that they will handle the language.  There are dedicated volunteer groups in Taiwan and China that translates and patch software so they support Chinese. (Let's not focus on the legalities of making these patches)
Yes it would be great that if the original software can handle the language.  But if it doesn't and you want to use it (by putting these extra efforts you will get more business), then you don't have a choice.  Maybe after you make these patches and many people use them, then you can have strong evidence to show Macromedia that it's worth their effort to support more languages.

Jack
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Jack,


The solutions I've came across over the years were mostly client side operations which not only slowed down the over all performance of the interface but were never quite there. I don't know what sort of problems you have encountered with your language but compensating for all 5 examples we are protesting about (6 in Arabic) isn't that simple and require more that just a hack. Some companies have invested in solutions and had their developer work overtime but these solutions are in the hands of very few people. They are not distributed amongst the community, since as you can imagine they are regarded as a competitive edge. Most will simple turn to HTML instead of banging their head against the wall.

Adobe has Middle East versions for software such as Photoshop and InDesign so someone out there doesn't think the Middle East is a complete desert. I'm not trying to compare the two markets but I think it does show in a way that there a users base wanting to use the products and willing to pay for them (not everyone, I know). The Flash authoring tool as far as I know is a closed environment and adding a BiDi functionality to the compiler sounds to me like something that should be done in the Macromedia's labs and not in someone's living room. I doubt if it can be done and if someone think it can I'd love to hear how. I think you need to realize that Flash does support Hebrew characters and the heart of the problem is supporting the direction of the text and multilingual text. I don't know if that was your problem with Flash and Chinese or not.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

Most of the time the problem with Chinese is that the characters are not recognized and are displayed as "?" or blank.
Traditionally, Chinese is supposed to be vertically aligned from top to bottom.  I think this is even harder to do than right-to-left, so far there's no generic support for this kind of text alignment except in a few word processing and publishing software.  On top of that, we are too used to left to right already due to the compromise in computer text display. (lucky that no matter what direction the text is printed, Chinese can still be read easily)

I of course agree with you that BiDi suppport is better implemented by Macromedia.  What I'm saying is that since there's no existing solution provided by them at this moment, and Flash is a product that you want to use, then it's probably worth the effort to do some workaround, even that's not the best solution.

Jack
Friday, August 01, 2003

Jack,

Like I said, if we felt there was a way of working around ALL the problems I guess we would have. The fact of the matter is that the end result is not something clients will put money in since it's never 100% what users would expect. I'm all for taking an initiative and try to make things work for you, but in this case the solutions people have been coming up with just didn't cut it. I refer you again to http://www.quasimondo.com/archives/000275.php which pretty much sums up where things stand in many cases. At the end of the day there are two options: Try and do it yourself like you have said, or lobby the company. We are doing both.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

What about making a set of Hebrew font by pure graphics and don't use the built-in text?
Then you can re-arrange the graphics anyway you like in the custom text box control.
I hope the Hebrew character set is not too large...this will not be possible in Chinese since each .ttf file is a few mb.

Jack
Friday, August 01, 2003

Jack,

Displaying the characters correctly is only part of the problem. When you use a dynamic text from a database for examples, the positioning of the punctuations and English entries changes, making the text unreadable. The Arabic text won't display at all. When trying to write in an input text field you get the same result. Apart from all that, using a text which is made of graphics will have serious effects on the file size and overall performance of the interface due to the fact that build-in text is rendered differently. It will restrict any text manipulation of any kind and limits you to a restricted set of fonts. I really appreciate your suggestions and we did use a flipped font for certain things, but again it did not meet all our needs. Faking the BiDi algorithm takes more than a special font. It's a matter of internal logic. 

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

I proposed it already, but he seems to insist that Macromedia fixes it. Point is that if you write some text in Flash, only the outlines of the subset of the font are included in the .swf. If you export your used characters as graphics from e.g. Illustrator or Freehand, and import into your Flash project, it's basically the same. Should be no problem for .swf banners. OTOH if you want to render vast text pieces, you better stick with standard HTML. Support for Hebrew and Arabic are already satisfactory in both MSIE and Mozilla, as illustrated by Amir's "lobbying campaign" website.

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003

"Faking the BiDi algorithm takes more than a special font. It's a matter of internal logic."

So basically you're admitting that you're not capable of implementing that algorithm? Come on, it's already there. Take a look at the source code of Mozilla. You can use it and reimplement it with ActionScript. It's not that "magic" that you're trying to sell us here.

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003


Johnny,

What you describe may or may not work for static design oriented small projects such as banners. If Flash's impact and use in the world was limited to that we wouldn't be having this discussion. The use of such "McGyver techniques" in applications is not feasible not to mention realistic. As a developer would you "export your used characters as graphics from e.g. Illustrator or Freehand, and import into your Flash project?" I'm sure you wouldn't if that Flash project was an eCommerce web application. Like I've mentioned before, the problems are related towards dynamic text, whether it is input or output. DIY solutions won't cut when lots of $$$ are at stake.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

"Take a look at the source code of Mozilla. You can use it and reimplement it with ActionScript. It's not that "magic" that you're trying to sell us here."

Thanks Johnny. I'll be sure to mention this to Macromedia in my next email to them. If I can do it I'm sure they can do it in a wink. Cheers.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

This is BS. I'm sure you understand what I wrote, but whatever solutions one comes up, you insist Macromedia has to fix it. Ok, one last attempt:

(1) Yes, no one in here disagrees with you that Macromedia eventually advertises or implements broken, perhaps not even working code to render dynamic, bi-directional text.

(2) Yes, we are aware that code for bi-directional text layout is not trivial.

(3) No, writing to Macromedia and waiting for them to fix it is not the only way to go.

Here's a possible solution (again):

(step 1) You identify all possible characters you need for proper display of your texts.
(step 2) You convert those characters into a vector format Flash recognizes and is able to import.
(step 3) You actually import those characters in your Flash project.
(step 4) You download the bidi-renderer from the Mozilla project.
(step 5) You observe the algorithms.
(step 6) You reimplement the algorithms in ActionScript.
(step 7) With placeholders in your Flash files you can happily render anything you want - Arabic, Hebrew, whatever!

Actually, algorithms much more complex have been already developed with ActionScript. Just take a look at:

http://www.robertpenner.com/

Sidenote: You claim that as one of Macromedia's customers you are legitimately demanding a feature. So as a die-hard-flash-adept you should be able to code that renderer in ActionScript.

Eventually, if you came up with such a solution, your fancy website would be obsolete. You seem to like the attention and the noise your complaints generate, so I do suspect you'll still insist that "No, there's no other solution Macromedia has to fix it!".

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 01, 2003

Before IE and other browsers start to have decent support for Chinese, I've seen many Chinese website whose every single Chinese character is a .gif!  Even Yahoo! Chinese did this.  Seems to me you are experiencing just what we have gone though few years ago.

If you can create a custom textbox control in Flash, and a custom text display area, which automatically re-arrange each character's position, then maybe you can work with Hebrew?

Jack
Friday, August 01, 2003

Hi Amir, I'm sorta surprised to see this conversation pop up over here now.... ;-)

As noted previously, implementing RTL or vertical text (Japan, eg) is non-trivial, and often has system dependencies (eg, won't work on a default French box).

Some standalone software does come in special RTL versions, such as Macromedia FreeHand, Hebrew edition.

Something like Flash is a harder case, because you've got the authoring application which lives on your machine, and then the distributed Macromedia Flash Player which goes out worldwide. Making a RTL version of the authoring tool would not suffice; you'd need to make an RTL Player too.

There's a strategic question for an RTL Player: Should all Players include RTL (which in a size-sensitive distribution would affect universal deployment rates), or should you try to direct audiences to different Players, and then include confirming code to make sure their systems can actually support such abilities? This problem with distributed clients is harder than it is with standalone applications alone.

It would be great to be able to do it all. We just haven't been able to do it all yet, that's all. :(

Regards,
John Dowdell
Macromedia Support

John Dowdell
Friday, August 01, 2003

First of all thank you. I've written everything down and see what I and other people can do with it. If it's that simple as you described (7 steps to solve BiDi problem in Flash) one would only imagine that good old Macromedia will take a day or two and get it over with instead of making loudmouths like myself come here and grab your attention, wouldn't you? This leads me to the conclusion that perhaps there's more here than you think and it may take more than 7 steps and a lot of motivation to get it working properly. However, I do appreciate the time and effort you've made (I'm being totally serious here) and can only hope it is not a "magic" and is can be solved. If we do get it to work I promise we'll call it the Johnny algorithm :)

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003



Hi John,

Thanks for stopping by. I fully understand what you say and never claimed there was no problem and that everything can be solved over night, that is until I read Johnny's 7 steps to BiDi in Flash :) If there was an RTL version of the player I think that people viewing Arabic and Hebrew content would download it, though I can't back it up statistically (You caught me off guard :) )... With browsers now days being able to distinguish the geographical location of the computer they are installed on do you think perhaps there will be a way to auto install the RTL player on computers located in the Middle East? Or at least prompt a message giving the option to install a localized version?

I do hope you and the rest of the people at MM understand that the reason we are perusing this is because we would also like to develop RIA for Central and have Flash mobile screen supporting Hebrew and Arabic. The driving force behind this petition is shear enthusiasm and passion for Flash and what it has to offer and nothing else. Some people here insinuated otherwise and I would just to clarify that. 

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003



Yeah yeah.. I know this is my 3rd consecutive post and I guess the discussion is over anyway. After reading the thread I would like to apologize for anyone who found my use of the term "discrimination" disturbing in any way. Like one person has mentioned, I guess it bares a different connotation across cultures. That's all. Thanks again for everyone who participated in the discussion. Good night.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Friday, August 01, 2003

I think that you've got a good case Amir.  You ought to continue pushing it (and continue sending mail to Macromedia representatives).  The fundamental fact in all of this is that the product is not usable for you, and you shouldn't be expected to implement dirty hacks to get it to work.  That fact alone is reason enough for you to petition Macromedia.  I can't imagine why anyone would honestly believe that there was anything wrong with that attitude.

Also, your use of the word "discrimination" was correct.  I'm not sure what part of the USA Johnny is from, but nobody confused "discrimination" and "racial bias" where I grew up (Northern Arizona).  That business about your supposedly blaming the US for your problems seemed incredibly bogus to me, and I think that you demonstrated admirable patience (much more than I would in your place) in responding to it.

K
Sunday, August 03, 2003

Hi K,

Thanks for your positive feedback and outlook on things. It is quite refreshing to read after all the other posts which I do value to some extent none the less :). We're going to do what it takes to make MM listen and realize that "with great power comes great responsibility" (sorry but the cheesy quote but I believe it sticks). One can not try and push towards a new standard in web presentation and exclude certain languages. They just can't. If they truly want to ever see Flash becoming a de-facto standard they should aim to more than mouse wheel support.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Monday, August 04, 2003

"I think that you demonstrated admirable patience (much more than I would in your place) in responding to it."

I have to agree Amir, reading this thread I couldn't believe how much ignorance you had to wade through.
MM response was reasonably (although that does not mean you shouldn't continue to petition them of course) but many of hte other responses were rather missing the point by a surprisingly long way.

<g> I actually laughed out loud when Johnny accused you of trying to blame MM for the poverty in the middle east, although it must have been rather frustrating from your POV.

FullNameRequired
Monday, August 04, 2003

:)

At first I thought he was taking the piss as they say here, but with everything that's been going on in the world over the last two years perhaps some people can't help but link everything they encounter to what they hear on CNN. I never intended this to become a geo-political debate and I guess part of participating in a discussion is clarifying issues that perhaps got misinterpreted by some of the participants. I have no problem with that and obviously perception is subjective by its very definition. 

From the very beginning this has been a simple (yes, simple) question of usability and accessibility policy of a product. Not any product, but a format which expresses aspirations to become a de-facto standard for creating online content presentations amongst many other implementations in the future. We can not afford to be left. We shouldn't be. I hope this petition will help not only to generate awareness in the world, but also some real solutions on Macromedia's part. Thanks for your support.

Amir

Amir Dotan
Monday, August 04, 2003

Is it so hard t understand that only money move a corporation? If Microsoft acknowledged that there is a need for BiDi in order to keep away the Middle East from Linux, they did it, and assured themselves that they will have a continuity there until the economic situation will get better.
But Macromedia's Flash has no real competition (so they have no danger to loose market share, where in fact there is not a market) and the costs will not be covered only be the today's sales. So what reason should have Macromedia to waste money, only to sell like 1000 R-to-L Flash and less than 300 Studio's?
I am living in a poor country, Romania, Our neighbours, Hungary, had translation (MUI) for Windows 2000 and Office 97, we had it on Windows XP and Office 2000. Romania has a population 2,5 times bigger. Did we boycott? Did we stop using computers? No, lots of our programmers fled to US, because using an English application is, for sure, using its best version.

Luci Sandor
Saturday, November 01, 2003

I forgot to mention that SWF is a public standard and there are independent, open source, compilers. If the standard is wrong (which I didn'y understood well), the "large" community of eastern Flashers can build another IDE. One version woulb de enough, because Macromedia will feel the heat.
If SWF standards are wrong, then...choose DHTML, Java, SVG, WinForms and so on. They will lose either way.

Luci Sandor
Saturday, November 01, 2003

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