June 13, 2006

Inspiration for the day

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Cibu C J, Chalissery House
Thalore P.O.
Thrissur 680306 http:// cibucj. googlepages.com/

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In many fields of human endeavour, first come pioneering individuals who forage unchartered paths.  Later come integrators who will interconnect these paths.  Such has been the case of font development in Malayalam.  A plethora of fonts and different keyboard layouts had made inter-operability a userís nightmare.  Thus the stage had been set for an effort to make the different fonts Ďspeak to each otherí.

In comes Varamozhi, a Unicode based word processor in Malayalam that does this and much more.  Typing in different Malayalm fonts with the same keyboard layout, Find and Replace, sorting, adding English letters in Malayalam content etc can be done using this program that has been developed in Pearl language.  Varamozhi keyboard layout is based on the sound of the Malayalam letters and their corresponding English letter equivalent. There is even scope for saving the text in html or UTF8 formats.

The spirit behind the unifying effort has been Cibu C J, a software engineer from Thrissur, now in USA.  Cibu, who completed his B.Tech in Computer Science from REC, Calicut in 1994, did his M.Tech from IIT, Mumbai during 1995-97.  He worked for sometime at Motorola India in Bangalore before moving over to the US.  He has harnessed his technical understanding of the Unicode standard for the development of communication in Malayalam language.

And true to the unifying concept, Varamozhi is a Open Source effort that draws on the goodwill of group-effort in refining the program further and further.

By using Varamozhi, one is relieved of the tedium of having to download and install different fonts while browsing popular Malayalam sites.  Also, Varamozhi users are spared the hassle of getting a jumble of characters on changing fonts.

Truly, Cibuís effort is a bridge across the digital divide that was handicapping Malayalam language users stranded on different font platforms.


Courtesy: Sivakumar & M.K.Paul, IT Lokam, July 2005
Contributed by: Viswanathan Prabhakaran


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