Sampada Developers Meet
Sunday, 06 May 2007
I volunteer at Sampada.net, an online kannada community. Sampada has grown from an one man's dream to a vibrant community of writers, journalists, bloggers and literary enthusiasts. At the last count sampada had crossed 1-million hits/month mark.
One of the benefits of having such a thriving community is the opportunity to contribute to development of Kannada computing (localisation, translation, standardisation, software development). dev.sampada.net is the forum which facilitates developers to get a start on contributing to kannada computing.
Five of us (Me, Hari Prasad, Naveevn, Om and Shashi) met yesterday (5th May) at Ravindra kalakhetra/Kannada Bhavana to discuss the list of tasks to be done on a priority basis. This list is available here.
Some of the major areas where work needs to be done is (from what I gathered from the discussion):
- Fixing Unicode rendering issues
- Getting Kannada desktop to work out of the box on Ubuntu/Debian. Currently, it is possible to get kannada working quite decently on Linux Systems. But, it requires digging through configuration files.
- Improving Keyboard Input methods. Currently, there are two approaches.
- XIM, which is the default input method used by ubuntu. AFAIK, only Ka-ga-pa input method is available
- SCIM, method pioneered by Chinese. Currently has only INSCRIPT and Phoenetic input methods available
- We need Typewriter, INSCRIPT, Ka-ga-pa, Nudi and Phonetic methods available in both XIM and SCIM. This will allow people from any prior knowledge of using kannada computers/typewriters to be able to use Linux to input text.
- A complete, working, *good looking* F/OSS OpenType font. This requires professional help from artists who can draw Glyphs and a FontForge savvy person to convert them into font
- Dictionary: Having a huge corpus of kannada words (something like Dict.org) from various sources can make a huge difference to kannada computing. Having this will allow us to build ASPELL, ISPELL dictionaries for kannada which in turn will allow users to access the dictionaries from inside their applications(eg:OpenOffice.org).
To make this happen, existing public domain dictionaries need to be digitized. We have petitioned Mysore university vice-chancellor to allow us the use of Kannada dictionary built by them. (I'll update with the petition form details shortly).
Another source is Kittel kosha, a seminal work by Rev. F. Kittel. This dictionary is available only in print format. Even this needs to be digitized.
There are a lot of interesting, important things to be done for kannada computing. Please log on to dev.sampada.net to know more. Please leave a comment below if you need a clarification/additional information.