SIL LSDev Linux Development

Language software for Linux and Mac OS X

Status of WorldPad on Linux

Our team’s main focus has been to port the SIL FieldWorks suite of translation and linguistic programs from Windows to Linux.

We’ve ported the core C++ parts which are the foundation of all the FieldWorks applications. A big part of the remaining work is in C# to get Translation Editor and Language Explorer to build and run in Linux.

But tackling Translation Editor would be quite a big step and open up a lot of difficulties all at once. So first we’re working to port WorldPad. Although WorldPad won’t be as widely used as Translation Editor, our work on WorldPad is a stepping stone on the way to completing the Translation Editor because many pieces of WorldPad are shared by Translation Editor. And completing the Translation Editor will be easier if we first work on WorldPad.

Read the rest of this post…

Graphite and OLPC

It may not have been obvious from the last two posts, but we are taking steps towards getting Graphite working on the OLPC. Read the rest of this post…

Our own OLPC

We’ve just received our own OLPC hardware, through the beta programme. It is an XO B2. The hardware is really nifty, although surprisingly heavy. The software is still a little rough in places, but continues to improve at an amazing rate.

We’ll be experimenting with it in all kinds of ways, but the real reason for having it is so that we can try porting various pieces of our software to it and see how well they work on it. In particular, we’d like to see how Graphite performs there.

Complex text input

I’m working on text input methods at the moment. That is, how pressing keys on the keyboard turn into text on the screen.

For English and other languages with a roman alphabet, this is fairly simple. Pressing ‘A’ on the keyboard results in the letter ‘A’ on the screen. But with some languages, this is not so simple. For example:

  • Chinese and other ideographic languages have several thousand characters, one key to one character really doesn’t work (unless you have a lot of desk space and very long arms).
  • Thai doesn’t have so many characters, but there are rules on how they can be used. For example, there are marks to denote rising and falling tones for sounds, but sounds may not rise and fall at the same time. A good computer program will respect these rules.

There are facilities in both Linux and Windows that deal with these issues. We have made a demonstration program to learn how to integrate the Linux methods of input into our own program. Read the rest of this post…