Jitendra, can you send an edited version (found few typos) to
fsf-web(a)gnu.org.in for posting on fsf.in website.
On Sun, 2004-02-15 at 16:55, jitendras(a)vsnl.com wrote:
Implementation of Unicode Porting For Marathi using
in a Maharashtra Govt Department
Over the decade and a half in the past, indian IT industry driven by Central govt
efforts and lead by C-DAC, NCST , IIT kanpur and other instituions, has done a commendable
job of introducing local scripts on DOS and Windows platforms etc. So long as the
computers were confined to typing and printing , and that too largely within the confines
of an office or an enterprise, the ad-hoc i.e. Non-standard approaches followed were
infact an unexpected delight! However now that the demands for indian language working are
for computing ( which includes searching and sorting) , for communication across networks
and across platforms and across applications the non-standard approaches are a problem.
On top of it , due to globalisation , there is need for multilingual documents i,e a
document simultaneously containing many languages including chinese/japanese and european
etc . The need to create webpages with such multilingual content with interactions leaves
very little scope!
f choice other than unicode. Thus the old font-encoded
content will simply not do. However many governement organisations , with progressive
bureacrats wanting to change over to this modern format are blocked in the path by the
huge legacy of documents in older formats. Hence the capability to transform the old
content to unicode is a crucial requrement. Those who want to convert to use of Opensource
software technologies are posed witth this problem even more acutely.There is not even
that little chance of using old font-encoded content as may be available for the
Proporietory software users.
This felt need lead us to the project of porting to unicode in Directorate of IT in
Maharastra Govt. As is well known , the Govt of Maharashtra is not only a leading state in
the field of Finance and industry but also in the field of IT and e-governance.
What is the Significance of this project ?
This project of converting to unicod is , as far as we know, for the first time that a
government body has undertaken to convert to unicode and that too on Free Software.
1.The most important effect of this will be to open the possibility to shift to
OpenSource software by the governments or any other corporate body who have accumulated a
lot of content in old font-encoded formats. This does not prevent anyone to work with
(more recent versions of) proprietory software like Microsoft Windows 2000 onwards. In
fact it is a necessary requirement for many of them.
2.The other significant advantage will be that cost of working in indian languages will
be reduced drastically.
3.Thirdly all the content(information and data) will be available in sortable and
searchable global format which is what unicode enables.
This will fulfill a long-term requirement of many departments of IT in many governemnts
and Publicsector organsiations.
What we have Accomplished
Government of Maharastra , being particular about standards, chose the best option of
standardising on the government organisation like C-DAC and workind with ISM software and
ISFOC fonts. They used the Lotus Word Pro software and Microsoft Word ediors enabled with
marathi by ISM and iPlugin of C-DAC. We have converted this Marathi content originally
created in various ISFOCfonts of C-DAC ( using ISM and I-Plugin in several proprietory
softwares) into unicode based, open type fonts which have been developed and made freely
available by us We had to convert the legacy documents into new encoding , integrate the
same with existing Database of the Govt.(DJMS =Document Journey management Sysytem) . We
worked with one department to start with, i.e. Directorate of IT . We have also installed
opesource software i.e OpenOffice 1.1 in some machines and demonstrated its use and
trained some people so that all fresh work can begin in unicode now. Task of making the
metafiles in unicode has also been completed .
Initially the department estimated about 1000 files to be converted. However , we have
had to deal with about 6700 files , identified and picked out the files that required
convesions and converted about 2000 files. For actual work see the table above for work
File Types and fonts:
We converted files with tables 9real painful) and without tables, from
Lotus Word Processor, MSWord, Power Point, EXCEL etc and using DV-TT, DVB-TT and DVBW
Font Developed :
We have also developed gargi font. Initiated By Dr Nagarjun of Free Software
Foundation(India) , right from the beginning (july 2002 ) our personnel developed and now
we at indictrans maintain the font.During conversion we came across some deficienciesin
the font. See our site for the more complete snapshots of performance of our fonts in
all platforms and applications.
We have also developed a Gujarati font padmaa (Prof Jitendra Shah's mother's
We have translated the GUI messages In Marathi and Gujarati , (while
modified IndLinux) Hindi .
Other Localisations achieved:
As linuxers know , we have come out with a live, bootable CD enabled in 4 languages,
Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati with Debian GNU/Linux operating system and OpenOffice ,
Mozilla and other software. This is known s gnubhaaratii and has tutorials embedded in it.
for more details.
We have translated GUI messsages in marathi, Gujarati for GNOME 2.4 and have modified
some translations for Hindi as coordinated by IndLinux.
We have also localsed DrGeo and other small software to show proof of concept of how to
We maintain a website as a collaboration platform www.indictrans.org