Status of Ethiopian support
bernie at codewiz.org
Tue Sep 11 22:13:05 EDT 2007
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Some of the packages I mention below are available from my
To enable the Amharic Ethiopian locale, the /etc/sysconfig/i18n
file needs to contain:
To alleviate boot overhead with UTF-8 locales, we'd like to
move this setting to a later point in the boot process.
olpc-dm would be a good candidate.
AI: I'm going to make some tests and report back.
F7 glibc does not even boot when am_ET is enabled, but it's not
obvious why. Suffice to say that the output of ls comes out
sorted by strlen() when am_ET is enabled!!!
glibc-2.6 from F8 is ok, but I can't find an obvious patch to
backport. The only recent addition to the am_ET locale has
been to discard accents in string comparisons.
Moreover, the glibc-2.6 rpm post-install scriptlet fails silently
on jffs2, corrupting the locale archive. It happens because
the build-locale-archive tool tries to use a shared writable
file map which is not supported.
The glibc-2.6 rpm is available from bernie-olpc.
AI: Of course we don't want to upgrade to 2.6 at this time,
so I'm asking the glibc hackers for insight.
A good candidate that provides high-quality Ethiopian glyphs is the
Abyssinica-SIL.ttf, which is not packaged in Fedora.
I grabbed the TTF file from the Debian package ttf-sil-abyssinica-1.0
and temporarily installed it in /home/olpc/.fonts/
I'm not sure the font license is acceptable for Fedora or even us.
Someone with better understanding should check.
AI: I could easily create an RPM once we decide this is the font
we want to use.
* ET keyboard layout
The updated xkeyboard-config RPM shipped with latest builds
already contains the "et" keyboard layout.
This can set in xorg.conf, or loaded for testing like so:
setxkbmap -v -model olpc et
The "=" key is not working in current builds, but Sergey
has already fixed it upstream and we'll pick it up with
the next update.
AI: I'll send a new olpc patch upstream to resync
AI: I'll update our RPM from a CVS snapshot of xkeyboard-config
Sergey's Compose file for am_ET is already upstream, and it
is required for XIM-baded composition to work in all applications.
I prepared an updated RPM and staged in olpc-bernie.
Even with this new RPM installed, XIM does not appear to
work in Abiword and other utilities I tried.
Furthermore, the Compose works by pressing a vowel, followed
by a consonant, which seems to be a less convenient way
of producing glyphs (see below)
AI: Sergey said he'll check if CONSONANT+VOWEL is possible
* GTK IM
GTK contains an Amharic input method which is currently outdated.
I'm in contact with the author, Daniel Yacob, who'll soon port
his latest patch to the current version of GTK.
This probably means we'll have to fork the gtk2 package too.
I'm unable to tell how important these changes would be for users.
Lidet Tilahun, a professor of Ethiopian at Harvard, tried typing
on the XO with this IM and confirmed that this would be the
preferred method. It's basically CONSONANT+VOWEL, with a way
to switch in a CONSONANT-only mode.
Additionally, it seems this IM requires the "us" keyboard.
I couldn't get it to work with the "et" keyboard loaded.
Daniel says it shouldn't happen.
AI: waiting for a patch. Progress is being tracked here:
We couldn't get glyph composing to give correct visual
feedback on the XO.
On F7, Abiword works fine, but it's an old version that still
used Xft directly. The version we use now switched to pango
and apparently regressed on this.
I asked uwog about it and he suggested me to file a bug
upstream. Without this fix, the IM is still usable, but
AI: I will file the bug upstream.
* Other Gtk applications
I tried installing gedit on an XO, and I couldn't get
neither the Amharic, nor the XIM input methods to work
Works fine on F7.
AI: Needs investigation.
* Other issues
System stability appears to be somewhat compromised when all
the above changes are enabled.
I've seen activities crashing randomly and funny rendering
AI: Before we even start filing bugs on this, I'd prefer to
see some of the above components land in the builds, otherwise
we might be chasing bugs that are even harder to reproduce.
// Bernardo Innocenti - http://www.codewiz.org/
\X/ One Laptop Per Child - http://www.laptop.org/
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