Open Source Plugin helps bridge the gap between proprietary formats and Unicode.

A week or so ago, I got a mail from the author of a open source plugin for the Firefox browser, called Padma. What I believe it does is tries to bridge the gap between content developed using proprietary and public formats and Unicode - on Firefox.

Take the example of a regional newspaper - Sakal, which also publishes an online edition at esakal.com. A problem for a firefox enthusiast like me is that, it uses dynamic fonts. While, this is alright in Internet Explorer, its a problem in Firefox (see forum thread: Firefox does not support Dynamic fonts). In simple terms, I need to download and install one or more fonts specifically from the site, in order to see its contents.

Sounds familiar? I am sure it does. There are many such sites and content like that. This is the very purpose why some smart people came together and came up with Unicode (Universal/ Uniform Code?) This is exactly where Padma comes in. Until such time that these sites move on to Unicode, it will let you see these sites without having to download the font. Currently, this plugin has support for a small number of proprietary fonts and formats, but its growing. The Devanagari implementation for the above mentioned site is under works, but its looking good - see screenshot.

Do give it a try! And yes, the author is looking for all the help he can get to map more and more fonts. Do provide him with all that you can. Interested, do join the Padma mailing list and let him know you are. He will take it from there.

Tip: Padma = Lotus (in Sanskrit and its derivative languages).