KDE/Qt Gain Increased Support for Indic Languages

With the release of Trolltech's Qt 3.2.0 beta1, the upcoming KDE 3.2 has gained increased support for Indic languages both in terms of rendering and text input. Currently, Devanagari (screenshot), Bengali (bn-2, bn-3, bn-1) and Tamil have been tested but Syriac, Tibetan, Khmer and others are expected to work as well. Dirk Mueller writes: "The KDE Project encourages interested people who understand these languages
to submit feedback and help the i18n teams (Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Tibetan, etc) with contributing a fully localized
KDE 3.2." These languages require Open Type fonts and a working Xft installation.

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by :) (not verified)

It is called Plautdietsch you tards!

Hey this is good stuff! If we are luckey this will give us a long term edge.
More users == more developers.. evenutally :P


With people arguing against the addition of new languages like Tim Jansen did above I sadly tend to doubt this will be the case.

It apears that its just plattdeutch that he has a problem with.. and if i understand it right plattdeutch is a very local dialect.

Im from Denmark, and we have a few of these local dialects too (I speak northern-juthlandish myself). These dialects sounds like total rubbish to the rest of the population. However *all* of us understand regular Danish, so i would too consider it a total waste of time to i18n my own dialect (however it would be enormously amusing to show off with) .

However the people who live in the alot bigger India might not speak anything but their local dialect. So this addition will give KDE a head-start when it comes to education - which is probably the most important use of computers in India both now and in the future.


PS.: *Anything* that can make KDE a strong competitor in the market of free educational software is Plain Good(TM)... as we all recall what happened to the kids who grew up with M$ in school ;-P

Well, the very point is that Plattdeutsch is not a "very local dialect", it's not even really "only" a dialect anymore since it has way more similarities with the German language spoken and written ~500 years ago (the resulting historic value is one of the main reasons why the Institut für Niederdeutsche Sprache Bremen is working on such a translation for Gnome) and is mostly spoken outside Germany nowadays (see Phantom's links above). For comparisation most local dialects in Germany are in the end just variations of pronunciation and grammar "tweaks" usual to any everyday speech.

But this all shouldn't really matter anyway, I think every language, regardless if spoken by one billion or just one thousand people, should be supported by "the KDE project" as soon as someone is willing to contribute and maintain it. That Klingon got rejected as being "only a toy" (while it actually is a working language) is kind of understandable. I however really can't see what caused Tim Jansen's repeated asocial knee-jerk reaction above. From what I can find on the net he's not involved with any documentation or translation stuff within KDE what would force him to have to care about Plattdeutsch as soon as it's started.

He might be concerned that many of the i18n packages will be unmaintained when a lot of them get added. But that's more a reason to improve organization and publicity for getting more contributions, not a reason to discourage the addition of any further language and thus making further contributions less likely.

Clearly, since he's known for being involved with KDE development and thus people expect him to be able to speak for KDE, I'm expecting to hear an explanation from him for this kind of motivation-killing rampage.

by Frerich Raabe (not verified)

FYI, Plattdüütsch is not a dialect at all (like swabian or bavarian, but an independant) language, and has been included in the european charta of regional and minority languages (http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/148.htm) for years now.

by Ralf Nolden (not verified)

Come on guys, don't bash at each other. If someone volunteers to do Platttütsch then go ahead and *DO* it instead of complaining !

Go take a plattdütsch dictionary and try to be accurate on your orthography :-)


1. I only speak for myself, and definitely not for KDE.

2. Actually the original posting referred to Gnome and their actions, not to KDE.

3. I am not going to tell anyone what to do with his time, but I do have an opinion how helpful something is for the success of KDE and how big the chances are to complete this work.

4. As I said, I would not consider support for "Plattdeutsch" very valuable for the success of Gnome or the KDE project. Other people are entitled to different opinions. The historic value, that you mention, does not make it more important for KDE unless you consider embracing historic languages a goal for KDE. The fact that an institute for language research did the translation, and not a speaker who wants to have Gnome in her native language, also tells about the practical importance IMHO.

5. I definately think that other things, like more documentation, are more helpful for the success of KDE than having support for 20 different languages and dialects that are spoken in and around Germany. At least as long as it is reasonable that all speakers of those languages are comfortable reading one of the already supported languages as well, and I think that this is the case.

6. Yes, language maintainance is a lot of work and will (hopefully!) be much larger part of the work in the future than it is now. Not only because of added features and applications, but also because many KDE applications have a poor standard for online documentation like tooltips and especially WhatsThis texts. It would be desirable that KDE's word count will increase _a_lot_ in the next years (a factor of 2 or even higher). This makes it even more important to have at least a few languages that are fully supported, and not a huge number of incomplete languages. I do know that you can not add up these efforts though (e.g. someone who wants to translate to Plattdeutsch is probably not interested in translating to any other language). But it would be, well, courageous to start a new i18n effort when so many other langauges do not even have 95% completeness.

My only point is that by the way you are writing you are actively discouraging people from contributing at all. You are talking about unnecessary stuff like "value" and "success" while missing the point that the fact alone that someone starts and uses a particular project is already value and success enough for it to exist. When you start judging every project by whether outside people think it has "value" or "success" you can scratch 99%+ of all voluntary projects. It's usually hard to get any steady ecouragement when people intend to start a project, we really don't need to add deathly discouragement to the mix.

Even now you take the incompleteness of existing language efforts for an implication that new language efforts shouldn't even be started and supported at all, ignoring that a (pseudo) language with a fanatic following like Klingon could possibly lead the way becoming one of the more active language teams, something which then again would encourage all other teams to be more active. =P

That being said I absolutely agree that the support for WhatThis text is really lackluster atm, something I attribute to its poor support even in the basic package with the standard language. WhatThis support should be made obligatory in every KDE program (only then we can expect l10n/i18n teams to pick them up as well).

I guess that depends on why you are contributing. You can either contribute for yourself (for fun, or to learn something etc), or you can contribute because you want to ensure that the project of your choice succeeds, and possibly the rest of the free software world as well. I contribute for the latter reason.

Everybody is free to create new as many i18n projects as she wants, but unless it increases the number of potential users noticeably (like the support for Indic languagesdoes ), my reaction is as enthusiastic as when you, say, announce to write another text editor. Every new text editor helps the project, no doubt, because there will be a few people who prefer it over all the other text editors. Still there are few people who would enthusiastically welcome them. Especially when there are 50 other half-finished text editors....

I don't like your idea of languages competing against each others like text editors. =P

Me neither.. eventhoug i would for provocative reasons like KDE to switch to en_GB as the default.. (only joking... well sort of)


actually he only said that the gnome developers are wasting their time but did not argue against the languages (e.g. kde people are free to waste their time as well).

Saying "everyone is wasting their time" neither does encourage more people to contribute whatever they could contribute nor does it motivate people already contributing to keep contributing. So what's the point saying this when at the same time he knows that KDE is clearly not suffering on a too large amount of contributions, rather the opposite of that?

by capit. igloo (not verified)

What about that increased support for text input ?

by Navindra Umanee (not verified)

According to Lars, the support should now be on par with whatever Windows 2000/XP offer.

by Datschge (not verified)

Support for standardized text input for QT and GTK apps is there in form of XIM for years already, see http://www.suse.de/~mfabian/suse-cjk/xim.html

Do a search for >> XIM "X Input Method" << in google and you'll be able to find controls for the respective languages. If you are using a commercial distri bug them to include those controls in the future.

by iamagod (not verified)

That's very nice, but what's there that GTK+ hasn't been able to do for over a year now?

by Datschge (not verified)

I don't know, I'm not using GTK+ and also don't see any point making combative comparisations. A more of flexibility regarding internationalizations is always good anywhere.

by deepayan (not verified)

For one thing, there's no decent web browser that can handle indic languages with GTK (or any other way), but now with Qt 3.2 Konqueror can. That's something, wouldn't you say ?

by ac (not verified)

GTK+ isn't very usable for the developer like Qt is, so it really doesn't count. KDE/Qt is much more developer-friendly.

by Thomas (not verified)

so what...?
For KDE/QT this is good news. Is it bad news for the GTK camp? I doubt it, so sh..up.

by tilt (not verified)

Sigh... what has this new story got to do with Gtk or GNOME anyways?

Of course, on the other hand, there were tons of "Oh, Qt has supported this and that for over two years" posts when Pango came out.

by Ventura (not verified)

A people become poor and enslaved when they are robbed of the tongue left then by their ancestors; they are lost forever (Ignazio Buttira, sicilian poet)

Two per cent of the world's languages are becoming extinct every year and four european languages comprise more than 80 per cent of all book translations. (english among then)

KDE team is great !!

by kidcat (not verified)

Good Post(TM) - that link was interesting! :-)


by prabu (not verified)

Lars and other KDE team,

Thank you very much for supporting Indic languages.

by Gerd (not verified)


- 10/02 - Die Idee, das freie Computer-Betriebssystem Linux ins Niederdeutsche zu übersetzen, wird konkret: Inzwischen gibt es eine erste Fassung des Linux-Desktops op Platt. Und eine eigene Web-Adresse haben die Entwickler mittlerweile auch: http://platt.gnome-de.org. Der Bremer Informatiker Jürgen Lüters, der Vater der Idee, sucht nach wie vor Mitstreiter für sein kleines Team, um weitere Programmteile in die norddeutsche Regionalsprache zu übertragen.

WEITERE INFORMATIONEN gibt Jürgen Lüters, Bremen, Tel. (0421) 49 39 90.


- 08/02 - Was Computernutzern in zwei Dutzend Ländern Recht ist, soll demnächst auch den Plattdeutschen billig sein – und das im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes: Der Bremer Informatiker Jürgen Lüters möchte das freie Computer-Betriebssystem Linux ins Niederdeutsche übersetzen. Er sucht für seine Idee eine Handvoll Mitstreiter, die Plattdeutsch können und was von Computern verstehen. Weil Linux frei, also gratis zur Verfügung gestellt wird, winkt den freiwilligen Plattdeutsch-Helfern kein Geld, sondern nur die Ehre.

Das Betriebssystem entstand vor zehn Jahren als Hobbyprojekt an der Universität von Helsinki – eine zunächst milde belächelte kostenlose Software auf Basis des Industriestandards Unix. Inzwischen hat sich die Freeware-Idee so erfolgreich entwickelt, dass sie von "Goliath" Microsoft als unangenehme Konkurrenz empfunden und bekämpft wird. Denn nicht nur "David" Linux gibt's umsonst, sondern auch dutzende von Software-Entwicklungen, die dafür geschrieben wurden. Zum Beispiel ein Office-Paket mit Textverarbeitung und Tabellenkalkulation. Jetzt entdecken auch deutsche Behörden, von der Bundestagsverwaltung bis zur niedersächsischen Polizei, diese Vorzüge und die Möglichkeit, mit Linux Geld zu sparen.

Die plattdeutsche Variante des Betriebssystems würde zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen: Linux, das es hochdeutsch längst gibt, könnte auf Schulcomputern installiert werden und das Interesse an Niederdeutsch wecken. Und das, ohne dafür auch nur einen Euro Lizenzgebühr zu berappen.

Das in Aussehen und Bedienung dem MS Windows-Vorbild weitgehend entsprechende Linux soll auch in der Platt-Variante nicht für Computer-Freaks oder Programmierer gedacht sein, sondern für "Jan und alle Mann", die mit Computern Briefe schreiben, Hausaufgaben erledigen oder im Internet surfen wollen. Es sollen nur die Teile des Programms ins Plattdeutsche übersetzt werden, die für den Endanwender von Bedeutung sind.

Im ersten Schritt will Lüters mit anderen Platt-Linux-Helfern die etwa 11.000 "Strings" wie "Datei öffnen", "Drucken", "Speichern", "Löschen" usw. übersetzen, die die Linux-"Oberfläche" Gnome bilden. Nach Vorstellungen des plattbegeisterten Informatikers sollte möglichst von der Originalsprache Englisch ins Niederdeutsche übertragen werden. Wenn das Betriebssystem mit seiner Bedienoberfläche (Desktop) übersetzt ist, könnte das Linux StarOffice-Paket, vor allem dessen ausgefeilte Textverarbeitung, in Angriff genommen werden. Die Idee: Möglichst gleich mit plattdeutschem Rechtschreib- und Silbentrennprogramm, damit die Plattschnacker auch zu Plattschrievers werden. Ob und wie dabei plattdeutsche Dialekte erhalten werden können – schließlich wird im Münsterland ein anderes Platt geschnackt als an der Nordseeküste –, ist noch zu klären.

WEITERE INFORMATIONEN gibt Jürgen Lüters, Bremen, Tel. (0421) 49 39 90, eMail: [email protected].

by Sajith VK (not verified)


I have tested QT3.2 beta for malayalam language(Spoken in kerala, one of states in India, Language code ml). It had some errors, I have fixed some. To whom should I send my patches? If anybody knows it please inform me so that we can add malayalam too to kde.


by SarathLakshman (not verified)


Iam a linux developer.
Can u please send malayalam support thinks to me?

by pen sokha (not verified)

that greet that my language (khmer ) can work with kDE , and I want to test it can you tell me what should I do? I all so want to join khmer language project in kde but I can not find it,Is there anybody working with khmer kde?