Friday, May 02, 2008

Lohit, Fedora and Community

First: _Some updates on Lohit Malayalam fonts_
Recently, there has been a huge agitation by Malayalam community about the bugs in the f9 final version of lohit fonts. You can get a glimpse of it here. Most of these were either last minute hickups or not reported at all until then. But whatever it was, the final product could not be buggy. So, within a short span of time, all these bugs (#444559, #444561, #444563) were fixed for Lohit and tagged into for the f9 final. So the version in fedora and latest upstream, lohit-2.2.1 is free of all these bugs. Malayalam users would be able to find the fixes in the following screenshot.
Second: _Some comments on the events going around_
After working for so many years on so many languages for so many different tools and applications, sometimes for some organizations, sometimes just out of passion, I (or should I say we, the language computing guys) have developed this immense love for all the languages of India. They are all rich in their heritage, tradition, beauty and dynamics and science. It really does not matter if you fluent with them or not. Most of them belong to the same family and those like tamil who are not are not the most complex of all. The only thing that matters is the dedication and the information about them. If you really had to be fluent in all the languages to develop technologies for them, I think no foriegn developer would have ever been come close to making the rendering technologies that we are using currently. It was not Indian developers alone to write Indic modules everywhere, it was not the Chinese developer alone to create technology for that language. We have to work as a global team when we work with i18n. There can be bugs but there may not be issues. But after reading comments on this post:

http://pravin-s.blogspot.com/2008/04/difference-between-malayalam-fonts.html

it felt really sad, disappointing and linguistically discriminating to hear the "malyalee vs non-malyalee" sort of language. I would request guys from SMC to review, rethink and re-evaluate their comments on logical, philosophical, and most importantly technical basis. After all the efforts put in by Fedora guys to include smc-fonts in f9 even after the schedule slippage, we are being blamed for not accepting a non-tested and a questionable feature long time after the development freeze has happened. At least there is a brighter side that all the bugs in Lohit have been fixed now. So even if people say Lohit is ugly, it is still a bug-free and most importantly a "readable" font in most general circumstances.

[PS. I believe that fedora values the freedom more than anything else. All the things happening around fedora are done openly through the processes accepted in fedora by the community. Any prominent developer, whoever might be his employer, can do things that are important for his fedora. My friend Dimitris would be an ideal example that comes to my mind that contribution is the only criteria to get the steering positions in fedora(and may be any real open source project), not the titles.]