Indlinux Newsletter Issue 4

  • To: s-asia-it <s-asia-it at apnic dot net>
  • Subject: Indlinux Newsletter Issue 4
  • From: Irfan Khan <khania2 at super dot net dot pk>
  • Date: Fri, 02 Jul 2004 09:39:32 +0500
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    • News Letter Issue 4
      Localization Newsletter Issue 4, Vol 1 (01 July 2004)
      Editor speak

      The Indic Localization Newsletter is now four issues old. One of the enduring themes of this effort has been a greater interaction with the community and an increased amount of collaboration. Collaboration is what we believe is the enduring driving force of Free/Libre Open Source Software. L10n teams collaborate, community and industry collaborate, communities-industry-government talk to get in implementations of work done. The operative word here is 'implementation'.

      The L10n efforts across the country are mature and at a stage where the Project Roadmap is well laid out. We have had a number of LiveCDs being conceived. The next step would be to take it towards a logical conclusion. L10n efforts are citizen-centric and deployment oriented. Thus we should take a good long look at domain-centric implementation. Identify the vertical domains and map out application specific areas where L10n can be immediately put into action. We need to do this perhaps in the form of some loosely structured consortia where the Government and the Industry are also the stakeholders.

      The era of LiveCD is over - long live the LiveCD.
      News Bits
      News from the Unicode consortium
      Common Locale Data Repository moves to Unicode

      The Unicode) Consortium has announced the release of new versions of the Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR 1.1) and the Locale Data Markup Language specification (LDML 1.1), providing key building blocks for software to support the world's languages. This new release contains data for 247 locales, covering 78 languages and 118 countries. There are also 36 draft locales in the process of being developed, covering an additional 17 languages and 7 countries. For more information visit CLDR homepage at
      Unicode Consortium to decide on changes to Bengali encoding proposals

      The Unicode consortium will be meeting this week, and among the long list on the agenda is the issue of allotting a separate code point for the Bengali Khanda-ta.

      Meanwhile, it has been pointed out that even if the proposal is accepted, implementing it will take at least two years, and till then, the computing community needs to arrive at a consensus on how to encode the khanda-ta. The combinations under discussion are :- (ta, virama, zwj) (ta, virama, zwj, zwnj)

      The issue is very sensitive for the Bangla community, who, like all people, hold their dear language close to their hearts. Discussions on the issue has raised much heat and smoke, that Saraswati* (the mailing list administrator for <indic at unicode dot org> mailing list) has put the list on moderation. (*) Before you jump into any conclusion, Saraswati is the name of a machine, and not a person.
      Adding a new Indic Language - Tulu

      There has been some loud thinking by Dr. U. B. Pavanaja in one of the Unicode forums, that Tulu, one of the ancient languages spoken mostly on the South-West coast of the Indian peninsula, should find a place in the Unicode standard. Raghavendra Bhat, a Tulu speaker and free software advocate, has supported the proposal, and moves are afoot to gather more information to put forward a concrete proposal to the Unicode consortium.

      Interested people should get in touch either with Dr. Pavanaja <pavanaja at vishvakannada dot com> or Raghavendra Bhat, <ragu at vsnl dot com>.
      Two new GTK Input Modules for Bangla

      Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu randomink org> has announced ?ImBeng Reloaded - a set of two new GTK input modules for Bangla. One of them follows the Inscript layout, while the other follows the Probhat semi phonetic layout. Details at .
      Volunteers/Beta Testers requested for Product Feedback

      ?NeoLinux Solutions is looking for Volunteers/Beta Testers who are willing to try out the Indic Components released by the Company. Contact Animesh <animesh at>
      Ravikant announces the availability of ?Bolnagri Phonetic layout

      The last newsletter announced a phonetic keyboard. The fact is that the keyboard is now ready for use, improvement and further suggestions. Download it from :
      Team Watch

      The present Kannada team:


      Let's begin with the URL of the project and Screenshots.

      o - Project Home page
      o - Sourceforge Project page

      Screen shots
      o - Screenshots
      o - Gnome Screenshots
      o - Mozilla rendering Kannada
      o - XFCE in Kannada
      o - KDE with QT 3.2.0 screenshots
      2. Why did this L10n start? What was the motive behind this?

      hpnadig: The project started with an aim to help localize free software in Kannada, initially targetting, but not limited to kde and gnome.

      1. What are the visions & objectives of the project?

      pramod: Besides the initial aim of translating Gnome, KDE, XFCE,, Mozilla & other FLOSS applications, our objective includes making sure the rendering, input, sorting, etc., works to user's expectations. Long term vision includes more people use and deploy the work, more applications gets translated and localized. Another long-term objective is to work towards a greater presence of Kannada in the public domain, say having the Kannada equivalents of wikipedia/Gutenberg.

      1. What is the current status of the Project?

      pramod: We have completed nearly 5% of Gnome 2.8, 60-70% of 1.1.2, which except for the OpenOffice bit looks quite bare. But speaking of current status of Kannada on Linux, we do have one font under GPL, two keyboard layouts - one inscript & one semi-phonetic (nudi).(The latter needs IIIMF).

      1. Who would volunteer for the project? What is the desired profile? Does the project need more volunteers?

      pramod: Anyone who is interested in contributing his bit to Kannada, be it translating the software, documentation or any content or hacking on Kannada related stuff is welcome. The project definitely needs volunteers who are committed and are in for the long run.

      1. What are the plans in future with this L10n?

      hpnadig: The future plans include completion of localization for gnome2.6, evolution, KDE 3.2 and many other free software that are on the community work desk.

      pramod: More translations, fixing basic issues with rendering, getting more OpenType fonts, getting a decent phonetic keyboard and hope to see the project stabilize instead of the high & low peak of activities we are seeing now.

      1. How is the funding being managed?

      pramod: Except for the work on, rest of the work did not receive any funding. My personal opinion is funding is needed more for translators rather than developers, since the former are rare and translation is quite a thankless job.

      1. What are the problems faced by the L10n project(Both technical and otherwise eg. Pango, OOo etc)?

      pramod: There still is plenty of work to be done both in translations and we barely would have progressed much if not for the translations which were done by Kannada Ganaka Parishath. We hope to use OO.o's translations for Gnome, KDE & Mozilla. Rendering has improved in both GTK & QT, except for some minor quirks with GTK's deletion handling & some minor font issues.

      1. Indic L10n suffer from common technical problems - are you in touch with other groups that are doing L10n?

      pramod: Yes, We do follow the progress of other language teams and observe their processes.

      Help ..F1
      Debian installer to support bi-directional scripts

      It has been announced in Debian i18n list that the current version of the Debian installer supports bi-directional scripts like Farsi, Hebrew, and Arabic using libfribidi. This means that the support for Indic scripts is possible and somebody has to do the footwork.