Read Malayalam on your computer

Malayalam computer

Malayalam Blogging

Welcome to the first guest post on this blog. This post was written by pR@tz , from “ A World of My Own” . He has a Malayalam blog too. pR@tz is a MS Scholar at IIT Madras. Welcome and thanks pR@tz !!

Update

If you want to use Google Chrome to type in Malayalam, to any website, here is an easy solution. It helps you install a bookmarklet, and start typing in Malayalam

How to read Malayalam on your computer

The Malayalam computing gained popularity with the evolution of UNICODE. Swathanthra Malayalam Computing is one of the independent organizations, actively working for the development of softwares and fonts for Malayalam computing. Before the UNICODE, it was the ASCII fonts, which were used to display Malayalam characters and is still (unfortunately) used by websites like Malayala Manorama, Kerala Kaumudi, Deshabhimani, and puzha.com.

The disadvantages of ASCII font

(1) You need to install separate fonts for different sites.

(2) Its not PURE Malayalam font, but like putting Malayalam mask over Latin characters.

(3) Searching, indexing and other Malayalam computing options are not possible with ASCII fonts.

Try copy pasting Malayalam text from the above mentioned ASCII sites and try the same from Mathrubhumi site (which is using UNICODE ) and you will understand the difference. Also try Googling with the text you copied from Mathrubhumi.

Now, let see how to make your computer Malayalam-literate,

Step 1 – Assuming that you are using windows, download a decent Malayalam UNICODE font. I suggest you Anjali Old Lipi. The best Malayalam UNICODE font I have ever seen is Meera, but unfortunately, the size of Meera font is much smaller in Windows users, but renders perfectly in GNU/Linux.

If you are using GNU/Linux, download this font package.

Step 2 - You have downloaded the fonts, which will usually be in ZIP format. Uncompress it.

For Windows users, copy it to x:/windows/fonts , if x:/ is the drive where Windows is installed .

For GNU/Linux users refer this if you are using GNOME and this if you are using KDE to install fonts.

A restart of system or xserver is recommended in Windows and GNU/Linux respectively.

Step 3 – If you are using Windows XP, goto Control Panel —> Regional Settings –> Support for complex scripts (enable it and click apply). Keep Windows XP Service Pack 2 in handy, you NEED it.

Windows Vista doesn’t require this.

GNU/Linux users download and apply this patch (Please report if the link is broken, they are very active in development).

If you are using a Debain based distro you can download and install the deb package without going through all these steps.

With the support for complex scripts in Windows you can create filenames in Malayalam, really kewl, isn’t it? You can even chat (in gtalk), mail in Malayalam. We will go into those section later, right now we will fine tune your browser to read Malayalam.

If you are using Internet Explorer, goto Internet Options –> Fonts, select Malayalam from drop down menu, select AnjaliOldLipi or the font you have downloaded.

Malayalam rendering was poor in Firefox versions prior to version 3, hence I recommend you to use version 3 or later. In Firefox 3, goto preferences –> Select the contents tab –> Fonts (Advanced) –> Select Malayalam in “Fonts for” drop down menu –> Set “Serif” for the first option and {your favorite font} for the remaining options. Click OK and apply.

If you are able to read the following without any trouble, then “YOU DID IT”

“എന്റെ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടറില്‍ കാര്‍ക്കോടകനോ മരമാക്രിയോ ഇല്ല”

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Read more about Malayalam blogging here

34 comments

  1. dinu · June 18, 2008

    I was not able to read Malayalam proper on Firefox on XP .. so we need Firefox 3 .. ok, will download it :) after all its firefox download day today

    update : downloaded … and you are right .. Malayalam displays better now

  2. xylene · June 18, 2008

    I am unhappy with the malayala manorama site. its pathetic. its takes longer time to load and its cluttered.

  3. dinu · June 18, 2008

    @ Xylene

    I have never seen Malayalam Manorama website in Malayalam !!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. pR@tz · June 18, 2008

    @xylene

    Its better you don’t open it, the print version is even useless as a toilet paper!!!

    Use Firefox with adblock plus add-on, it will block all those ads and help in easy loading… :)

  5. Joel · June 18, 2008

    That’s really a great feature. But lol.. It would have been useful for me if I knew Malayalam… :P

  6. dinu · June 18, 2008

    @ Joel

    Come on man, We’ll teach you !!!

  7. | Balu | · June 18, 2008

    Oy even I had probs with malayalam display figured it finally! =D
    So now thinking of starting a mallu blog :-D

    • Anish P Elias · June 18, 2008

      Good yaar do it fast

  8. dinu · June 18, 2008

    @ Balu

    Cool.. be sure to drop a comment with the new blog !!

  9. Pingback: Malayalam Fonts and Google Chrome Malayalam Font Issues with Manoramaonline.com Manorama | Blog of Small Things
  10. sajith · June 18, 2008

    how can i type malayalam in an front page in normal format without having problems while lookin at perview?

  11. dinu · June 18, 2008

    @ Sajith

    I dint understand the question ..

  12. ars · June 18, 2008

    how can i read malayalam in google chrome

  13. dinu · June 18, 2008

    @ ars

    if you have malayalam working on fireofx, it should work on chrome too.. which website are you referring to ?

  14. Manjoor · June 18, 2008

    On firefox anyone can read the malayalam websites using ‘padma extension’ for firefox. Google for ‘padma extension’. Try updating the websites in options of ‘padma extension’. You can add the new websites manually in options ->update.

    • dinu · June 18, 2008

      thanks .. I will try that !

  15. arun · June 18, 2008

    thanx dude it worked..

    • dinu · June 18, 2008

      you are welcome arun !!

  16. എന്‍റെ കഥകള്‍

    ഇത് എന്‍റെ കാഴ്ചകള്‍ ആണ് . അനുഭവങ്ങള്‍ സ്വന്തം ആകുമ്പോള്‍ പലപ്പോഴും കണ്ണുകള്‍ നിറയും..ഒരാളോടു പറയുമ്പോള്‍ ഒരല്പം ആശ്വാസം.അത്രമാത്രം…

    • dinu · June 18, 2008

      thanks for sharing the link …

  17. PHILO · June 18, 2008

    I am not able to read malayalamanorama online as it comes somes chinese square type blocks. i dont no anything about computer. what to do please let me no.

    • dinu · June 18, 2008

      I will email you :)

  18. PHILO · June 18, 2008

    Thanks dino for ur reply. i will try to read malayalam

    • dinu · June 18, 2008

      you are welcome ! and I am not dino lol :D

  19. kenza · June 18, 2008

    please help me!!
    what is malayalam computing??
    what’s the purposes of it???
    mail me.

  20. Roshan · June 18, 2008

    I am using Mac and not able to see any malayalam messages on orkut. i can’t read manorama online either even after downloading their font from the website. it won’t just install. can you help me solve this ? thanks in advance

    • Sebin · June 18, 2008

      Hi Roshan,

      Malayala Manorama is using the soon to be deprecated ascii fonts. With Padma firefox extension, it should have been easier to convert it to unicode format and read. But that doesn’t help in Mac. Firefox doesn’t even recognize the font.

      The problem is with the fonts, not with the browser. It doesn’t have the rules to be recognized on Mac OS. (And Mac OS doesn’t recognize the TrueType fonts written according to the Microsoft/Adobe standard.)

      Safari can render unicode, but it does it in the exact order of the characters appearing in the text. Malayalam needs complex rendering, like putting puLLi on the left, combining consonant into kooTTaksharam etc. Those rules are in the font, but that is in a table not recognized by Mac OS. We need to write tables recognized by Mac OS and provide it as a free (as in freedom) implementation.

      But if you are ready to spill some money, you can get a proprietery solution for this. A private enterprise is providing free/open fonts with the necessary tables. You can try it at: http://www.xenotypetech.com/malayalam_fonts.html

  21. Arky · June 18, 2008

    Thanks :)

    Arky’s last blog post..Documenting a Human Tragedy :: Documentary Review

    • dinu · June 18, 2008

      you are welcome

  22. Dileep · June 18, 2008

    koottaksharam “nda” ( like in “Chenda”, “kandu” )
    not displayed as a single letter. what is the problem?

  23. Nichus · June 18, 2008

    I can read malayalam now …………
    thankyou

  24. ajith · June 18, 2008

    i want to know how to c movies on net.plse help me

  25. Renju · June 18, 2008

    thanks my dear friend..

  26. kg · June 18, 2008

    for more fonts and to know how to read and write in malayalam easily (explained in malayalam), visit these links

    keralagang.com/node/116

    keralagang.com/node/91

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