I think I’ve had fairly reasonable exposure to different computer operating systems in my daily life. My home computer has the Windows OS. I’ve used Mac OS in the past and now use a version of it in the form of the iOS on my iPod Touch. I’ve used various flavors of Unix and Linux in school and work. I wonder which of the operating systems provide better support for reading and entering multiple languages? Are some easier to use for reading websites in different languages? Does one have a particularly good input method for Asian languages? I’d really like some suggestions for a multilingual computer.
The Windows OS has gotten better throughout the years in terms of language accessibility. At this point, I am able to change the language settings using the “Language bar.” It seems a little clunky at times, especially when I have to use my mouse to write Chinese characters. Sometimes I have to write it twice because the computer doesn’t recognize my writing – it’s hard using a computer mouse!
There is an alternate keyboard for Chinese input that shows up. It can be rather small and difficult to read. There are other keyboards for other Asian languages. However, the keys may not correspond to actual keyboard keys, so the mouse is needed to click on the so-called keyboard. The only other keyboard that seems to correspond to an actual keyboard is the one for Korean. However, it can be hard to type because one needs to make sure the corresponding keys are used for typing. This then results in a lot of looking up and down from the screen to the keyboard.
My use of Unix and Linux has never given me administrator privileges, and I’m not able to change settings. I really don’t know what goes on “behind the scenes,” but based on what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure Linux is able to handle different languages and fonts.
If the full version of Mac OS is anywhere close to my experience with the iOS on the iPod Touch, then it might be the best for a multilingual computer. I am able to read websites on Safari without having to change the encoding. The iPod Touch is not necessarily ideal for all websites because the screen is small. I am quite impressed with the input method. I can directly use my fingers to press the screen and not an external keyboard. Entering Chinese characters by writing with my fingers seems to work well. I wonder how these properties translate to a full Mac OS system, using a full size keyboard and mouse. I’d like your thoughts!