വിക്കിഗ്രന്ഥശാല:Setting up your browser for Indic scripts

വിക്കിഗ്രന്ഥശാല സംരംഭത്തിൽ നിന്ന്
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The Problem[തിരുത്തുക]

Historically, computers weren't designed to display non-English text.

When computers were invented they were used only for calculating numbers, a task for which English was sufficient. As computers are being used more and more by common people for day-to-day stuff a need arose to support scripts from other languages like oriental (Chinese, Japanese, etc.), Middle East (Arabic, etc.), Indic (Malayalam,Hindi, Gujarati, etc.) and others. And people waited for the solution, until one day...

The Solution[തിരുത്തുക]

After many messy intermediate solutions people of the world decided there needed to be a single system to write and render (display or print) all the scripts of world. The current system which is being used world wide and has become the defacto standard is called Unicode. There are many methods (Unicode Transformation Formats) used to store Unicode data and UTF-8 is the most common. This allows Unicode to be backwards compatible with ASCII - the system used to store standard English text on virtually all legacy systems.

Wikipedia is one of the heaviest users of diverse scripts since it has encyclopedias in numerous languages. It has adopted Unicode (UTF-8) as the "Encoding" for its websites... Ok this can go on forever.

The short story is, you need to have your computer setup to see web pages encoded in Unicode Indic scripts, which fortunately is getting easier everyday.

The Setup[തിരുത്തുക]

There are 2 parts of the setup.

  1. Having a Unicode Capable Browser
  2. Having the Fonts

Browser[തിരുത്തുക]

Since Unicode has gained popularity recently, If you use old browsers they might not have the capability to understand Unicode and hence they might display garbage. The developement in the Indic scene is so fast nowadays that its common to see drastic improvements between browser versions released just a couple of months apart. So you are better off getting the latest version of your web browser. The capabilities and version of your operating system might also come into play here.

OS-Specific Instructions[തിരുത്തുക]

Mac OS X[തിരുത്തുക]

<UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS NO MALAYALAM FONT FOR MAC IT SEEMS>

  • Safari: I use Max OS X 10.3 (Panther) and the handling of indian scripts in Safari (the browser that comes with it) is amazingly flawless.
  • Firefox: Unfortunately Indic rendering of firefox on Mac OS X is not up to the mark yet. It does display Indic script but there are many rendering bugs esp. with matras.
  • The Indic fonts are not installed by default. To install Indic fonts you have to start running setup from the installation DVD and choose custom installation mode and select Indic fonts (I only vaguely remember how I did this so use your brain more actvely on this one).
  1. TODO: Write more precise font installation instructions.

In Finder, browse to /Volumes/<Install/Restore Disk>/System/Installation/Packages/ (use the terminal.app to verify the paths on your system since they don't show up in Finder. Install the AdditionalFonts.pkg and AdditionalAsianFonts.pkg and they should work just fine.

MS Windows[തിരുത്തുക]

  • If you are attempting to read Malayalam, Internet Explorer offers the most accurate rendering.
  • Mozilla Firefox, although a highly recommended browser, does not yet offer great support for rendering Malayalam (The chillus are a problem). Firefox redering of Malayalam is currently a little buggy.
  • I dont know whether the Indic fonts are installed by default or not, but similar to Mac OS X you should be able to run Windows setup CD/DVD and add the font package from there. The Devanagari font is called Mangal, the Telugu font is called Gautami, the Bengali font is called Vrinda, the Gujarati font is called Shruti, the Gurumukhi font is called Raavi, the Kannada font is called Tunga, and the Malayalam font is called Kartika (only available from XP-SP2 update).
  • Install ThoolikaTraditionalUnicode Font, rajana font or AnjaliOldLipi.

Linux[തിരുത്തുക]

  • Pango: Pango is the fontrendering library that can be used by browsers like Mozilla and Firefox to render Indic text. Pango is in a state of continuous improvement for Indic text rendering right now. If you are having problems with badly rendered scripts (bugs with Matras for example), you might want to check if you have the latest pango installed or not. The newest version of pango is almost always going to be the best for this purpose.
  • Mozilla/Firefox: Mozilla, Firefox and other Mozilla derived browsers have 2 options for font rendering. Their own renderer and pango. Pango is a better choice for redering Indic scripts but its disabled by default because pango makes the browser slightly slower. To compile Mozilla with pango enabled you have to configure with --enable-pango option.
  • Konqueror: Konqueror is the native browser of KDE environment and I have heard that it has great support for international text. If Mozilla's support is frustrating you then you might want to checkout konqueror.
  • Fonts: I believe all recent versions of Linux distributions come with the necessary fonts installed. You dont want to use any thing released before mid 2003 though. :)
  1. TODO: add links to the referred software (that doesnt come preinstalled with the OS) and other related links. add syamindu's Mozilla page.

If you go to this site: http://www.supersoftweb.com/Unicode.htm you can download the free Malayalam Fonts.

Here is another site that have differnt types of fonts in Malayalam http://www.travelphrases.info/gallery/views/View_ThoolikaTraditionalUnicode.html

More Info[തിരുത്തുക]

To get more information on how to install fonts, go to this page on the Unicode organization's website. http://www.unicode.org/help/display_problems.html

Also Malayalam Wikipedia has a separate article on the same topic... you will find the content there useful too. http://ml.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Welcome%2C_newcomers

Also Kannada Wikipedia has a seperate article on the same topic... you might find the content there useful too.