Special Letters?

Gora Mohanty gora at sarai.net
Mon Jul 21 22:21:09 CEST 2008

On Tue, 22 Jul 2008 06:01:24 +1000
Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) <raster at openmoko.org> wrote:
> this is why EFL doesn't have support. i'd have to write it all, OR use pango...
> and pango, last i looked, was not light on overhead,

Agreed there. Have not actually benchmarked Pango myself, but by all
accounts it is resource-hungry, though that is probably not inappropriate
for a library aiming to handle all of Unicode.

>                                                            so as a matter of
> performance doing it the simple way its done now handles things for most people
> (who buy/use devices or linux systems as most people tend to speak a
> left-to-right friendly language). i have seen remarkably little interest in
> things like left-to-right languages over the years, and as there isn't a lot of
> demand and i don't actually speak any of these (i just speak european languages
> - a few of them, and east-asian languages), i just have never had it come up
> high enough on the list of things to do.. to ever do it. at least all the text
> internals are utf8 so... it's possible to do this without breakages...

I would disagree here, though I can quite see why you might not want to
take this up. Having OpenMoko hardware handle Indic text would be a big
plus for its adoption here in India. An ability to send SMS in local
languages would be even more of a plus, though that will also have to
contend with service provider gateways that have no clue about UTF-8 or

Given the current hardware limitations, the best approach for Indic
languages is probably to make a special font that includes all possible
glyph combinations, and a light-weight, custom rendering engine that
works with the font. This would also have the benefit of allowing the
rendering of Indic content on text-based terminals, such as the Linux
console. This is not really *that* hard a task, and from what I hear
various phone companies are sniffing around in India for someone able
to put this together.


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