Sunday, October 30, 2005

First Tamil, next Hindi and now Telugu

Couple of days back Dayanidhi Maran launched free Telugu software, fonts etc., developed by C-DAC. Having seen the Tamil pack, I can guess what will be there in the software pack - to be given away free to public:
  • Fonts (Unicode and perhaps non-Unicode as well)
  • Open office, localised for Telugu
  • Optical Character Recognition
  • Localised Columba e-mail client
  • Few other utilities
The Hindu report indicated that there is a "Speech Interface" for systems. I do not know what this means.

When this software pack was launched in April 2005 for Tamil, it was out and out, a political affair. There were plenty of people from the media - and they had no bloody clue about the product. I had gone through the product in detail when I could get my hands on to it. I found the assemblage of software pieces quite random, not always well-chosen. It appeared as though C-DAC was pressured into creating something in a hurry, to target the Tamil New Year Day. There were talks of improper deals involving certain members of Kanithamiz Sangam (The site is not functional now) - a body of Tamil software developers. I have some posts on this in my Tamil blog -- One | Two | Three | Four.

In July, the Hindi pack was launched. Subsequently, I noticed a review of the pack by Vinay Jain in his blog (in Hindi). I had a bit of this translated to Tamil in my Tamil blog entry.

I would be keen to look at whether there has been any improvements for this Telugu launch.

In my view, the OCR was fairly good for Tamil. However Vinay Jain pointed out that the Hindi version OCR didn't work. I believe Kannada/Telugu script as well as Devanagari script are more complex to deal with, when it comes to OCR. Tamil is relatively simpler. Of course, Roman script is the simplest. I am looking forward to the review of the Telugu pack. Do send me any pointers in the blog space of any such review.

A fair amount of public money is being spent on this development and I hope people benefit from it. To my knowledge, after the initial euphoria, the Tamil world has forgotten about this package. I would like to know the statistics of number of requests for this free software, and the fulfillments C-DAC is making per month for the Tamil and Hindi packs.


  1. where can I get these tamil fonts/softwares ? I searched in cdac website I am not able to find anything.

    Also i recommend you to try out firefox extension Padma ( )

  2. Saravan: If you are in India, I can send you a copy of the CD. Email me your postal address and I will send you a copy of what I have. C-DAC had a page - if you searched around - where one could apply with one's address and had the CD shipped to you for free.

    Downloads are also possible, but I think C-DAC is hosted behind a dialup connection or something worse than that. It will take you several hours to download the contents, as a few people found out.

    I will check out the firefox extension you point out.