Localizing *BSD for Indian Languages
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I am looking at adapting FreeBSD for the languages and cultural conventions used in the Indian subcontinent.
The rationale for such a project is as follows:
Open Source OSes like *BSD or Linux have definite advantages over conventional closed source OSes like Win*. However, to be able to effectively use them, the average person needs to be able to interact with the computer using their native language. This interaction needs to follow the local conventions developed for sorting strings, accounting conventions, formats for dates etc.
The BSD code base is well developed, and mature. Further, the BSD license is friendly towards commercial use while remaining ``open-source''.
Create an Indianized distribution of FreeBSD. The list of languages to be initially supported is yet to finalized.
The project sources will be distributed under a BSD style license.
The basic problem for indian language computing seems to be the lack of working standards in a number of areas, ranging from character encodings to input methods. The problem has been compounded by the fact that there is very little information for developers on Indian languages available on the Internet or otherwise.
I've founded a project on SourceForge to address these issues. This is the Indic Computing project. If you are interested in seeing indian languages supported pervasively, please do consider joining our effort.
Of course, *BSD will be one of the sample implementation platforms :) .
A short list of Indian language tools that are readily available on your favorite OS.
[Nov 2001] First cut attempt at creating a tutorial on I18N issues, containing some of the stuff I learnt while examining the issue of localization (not yet on the web). [This is now to be part of the Indic Computing project.]
[sometime in 2000] Buckled down and purchased a copy of the Unicode standard v3.0.