Bangla in GNU/Linux : making the Penguin speak in Bengali.2

On GNU/Linux, the Free type library has implemented Open Type Layout features, and the rapidly developing Pango project is trying to deal with other internationalization issues. Although the Pango rendering engine which handles all text rendering in the GTk2/Gnome2 environment) has a module for rendering bangla, open source browsers like Mozilla still do not possess support for Bangla rendering. This combination is already in working condition on recent distributions, though none of the more popular browsers use this technology yet. A completely independent implementation is in the Unicode Text editor Yudit, available for both Linux and Windows. Even with a layout engine that implements open type layout features, an open type Bengali font is required before one can view Bengali text. Several efforts have started recently with the aim of creating free Bengali open type fonts, and are available from the Free Bangla Fonts project The Free Bangla Fonts Project

The Free Bangla Fonts Project - a volunteer run collaborative model based project dedicated towards creating Free, high quality, completely Unicode compliant Open Type Bengali fonts. The project positions itself as the central resource for getting and developing Free Bangla fonts. The initial aim of this project is to release a full set of Bangla fonts that supports all the major Bangla Yuktakshars conjuncts). The Akaash set of fonts (with more than 650 glyphs) aims to be such a set. The project also plans for a conversion of other existing Free Bangla (non Unicode compliant) fonts into Unicode compliant Bengali Open Type fonts.Currently the team is working on four sets of fonts. Sayamindu Dasgupta is developing the Akaash set. This set will be having three OTFs, AkaashNormal.ttf, AkaashWide.ttf and AkaashSlanted.ttf. Dr. Anirban Mitra is developing the Ani set. It has two fonts, Ani.ttf and Mitra.ttf. The Mitra font is a monospaced font, which is useful in certain specialized applications. Dr. Mitra is also developing the Mukti set of fonts (which uses the glyphs donated by Cyberscape Multimedia Limited, Mumbai). This set has four fonts, MuktiRegular.ttf, MuktiBold.ttf, MuktiNarrow.ttf, and MuktiNarrowBold.ttf. Deepayan Sarkar is developing the Likhan set of fonts. Taneem Ahmed has packaged all the fonts under development in the project into a RPM file for RedHat 8.0. Bangla Innovative Open Source(BIOS)

BIOS is the brainchild of a band of programmers and students with the aim of utilizing the open source aspect of GNU/Linux to take computing to the masses. Based on a distributed collaborative model of project management, BIOS aims to create:

1. Bengali Open Office - full featured, open source Bengali office suite
2. Bengali database - Bengali Unicode based implementation of database
3. Bengali Speech application - Open Source speech recognition and text-to-speech application

BIOS believes that the prevalent standard interfaces in English form a barrier to taking computing power to all levels of society. The licensing format under which GNU/Linux is available makes it an ideal content delivery medium for grassroots level social programs as well as educational content delivery platform. Thus it aims to create a ‘Bangla’ interface for both the graphical (or X) and text modes. Such an effort will make it economically feasible to install computers at village levels, thus ushering in a knowledge-based economy built on community-based knowledge sharing platform. Bangla Gnome Translation Project - Ankur

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