[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] Asian language support?

From: Aaron Kavlie akavlie at fusemail.com
Date: Fri May 27 12:29:21 EEST 2005
I am not a developer personally, but I would like to see if anyone  
has plans to do some work in this area.  I am specifically interested  
in Japanese.

This is a complicated problem of course, and Linux has traditionally  
been weak in this area unfortunately, compared to Windows & Mac OS.   
My concerns fall into the following two categories:

1. Display - I would hope the proper fonts would be included for  
display of any language in web pages and other areas.  If not, then I  
imagine this would be easy to fix by downloading the appropriate  
fonts.  Most any modern desktop operating system has good support  
here, though some programs and protocols (for example, AOL Instant  
Messenger) still suffer.

2. Input - This is where it gets tricky.  For Japanese, the commonly  
used method on a desktop computer is to input roman characters, which  
are automatically converted to the appropriate hiragana as a first  
step (i.e. "ka" is a single character), then as a second step, to the  
appropriate katakana/kanji through some sophisticated context  
analysis.  The only user-friendly solution to this that I know of on  
Linux is im-ja (http://im-ja.sourceforge.net).  Being gtk-2 based,  
this may be easy to port.
Of course, this is not so ideal for a handheld such as the Nokia,  
which is optimized for handwriting recognition.  The best (and  
really, only) solution I have used here is Decuma Japanese, which  
comes installed on Japanese Sony Clies.  It recognizes handwritten  
kana & kanji, and does a fantastic job of it.  But this is also a  
closed-source Palm-only solution.  There is also a similar input  
method for the Sharp Zaurus, which is Linux-based, but I am not  
familiar with the details of it; the best I could find in a quick  
Google search is here: http://zaurus.biojapan.de/crim/ 
SL5500_CRIM.html.  It is open-source, but would not be very port- 
friendly I imagine.

There is also the issue of interface localization, but this is not  
important for my purposes, and even for native speakers it would fall  
behind the above mentioned concerns in order of importance.

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