Monday, May 07, 2007

Java Japanese font troubles

I am trying to get Netbeans working correctly on my PC.

As you already know, I'm in Japan, so my OS is WinXP Japanese language edition. In default mode, the locale is set to Japanese. Java takes that information and passes it along to Java apps. If an app, like Netbeans, has an internationalized config file, it will load the appropriate language strings and fonts.

If, on the other hand, a user does not want Japanese menus, the default system locale must be changed to English. This causes Java to interpret the environment as an English system, and all English strings and fonts are loaded. However, this has the side-effect of making Japanese fonts unreadable. Little boxes are displayed where Japanese characters should be. In Netbeans, this is first obvious in the File->Open->Browse dialog where "マイコンピュータ" should be displayed, but instead "□□□□□□□□" is.

On top of that, the editor itself ceases to be able to display Japanese fonts as well.

I was able to work around the editor problem by setting the editor font to MS Mincho, but I would much rather have the fixed-size fonts available for coding. Unfortunately, this still doesn't fix the problem of broken fonts in the system dialog boxes, but I can probably live with that.

I know I'm not the first person to run into this problem. The Sun support boards have the same problem repeated several times. It looks like "won't fix" is Sun's plan for this bug.

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