1. Introduction

1.1. Preface

One of the foremost things on many GNU/Linuxers' wishlist is better support for their vernacular script on their favourite operating system. But Indic scripts are some of the most difficult in the world to add support for, because of inherent complexities like the existence of conjuncts (yuktakshars) and non-standard spellings. However, the Free/Libre/Open Source community is not one that is easily daunted, and this document tries to outline the process of setting up Bangla support in FLOSS applications. Moreover, it also aims to be the "developers' guide" for new developers in the Bangla in GNU/Linux project.

1.2. Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 2002-2003 Taneem Ahmed, Santanu Chatterjee, Progga, Sayamindu Dasgupta. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections , with no Front-Cover Texts , and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is located at http://www.gnu.org/licences/fdl.html .

1.3. Disclaimer

All copyrights are held by their respective owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major installation and backups at regular intervals.

1.4. New Versions

The latest version of this HOWTO will always be made available at the www.Bengalinux.org site in a variety of formats.

1.5. Credits

We are extremely grateful to all the developers/users involved in the Bangla in GNU/Linux project, especially the people at Ankur and at the Free Bangla Fonts project .

The XML-stuff has been done with the help of the template written by Stein Gjoen, Gregory Leblanc and Greg Ferguson.

1.6. Feedback

If you have any comments, criticisms, ideas, additions, corrections, questions then please do mail them to mailing list. We would be happy to help you.

1.7. Conventions used in this document

We have used a number of special formatting to indicate warning messages, commands, filenames, computer outputs etc. They are listed below.

Shell commands

bash$ ls

















Computer Output

no such file or directory



Large Computer Outputs

logfile begins

1.8. Purpose of this HOWTO

This document explains how to setup and develop support for Bangla (or Bengali) in a GNU/Linux systems. Bangla support in GNU/Linux is by no means complete, but, in modern GNU/Linux distributions, you may be able to write in Bangla, send emails in Bangla, chat in Bangla, save with Bangla filenames (UTF-8....), have some of your graphical applications localized in Bangla, etc. Moreover, we have targeted to have the GNOME core translated into Bangla by August 2003, so that it can be included in the 2.4 release of GNOME. (Update- GNOME 2.4 is now out with partial support for Bangla)


However, note that this documents deals with Bangla support in GNU/Linux in GUI based applications only - we have no immediate plans for supporting Bangla on the console.


Also note that the Bangla support that we speak of here is totally Unicode compliant. We do not support any kind of proprietary/non-standard encoding.

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