[IAEP] Still need to know: How do I switch the keyboard to another character set?

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Fri Dec 31 11:21:23 EST 2010

On Sun, Dec 26, 2010 at 14:04, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
> H Gary and alli,
> I am using 852. Changed to Urdu in settings.  Trying to use Write.  Writing
> across the top is in Urdu, but I am unable to enter Urdu text.  It does not
> appear in the list of fonts.  All I get are the regular ABC letters. Urdu
> wasn't listed in texts to choose from.

I am looking at an XO running build 852, Sugar 0.84.16. It has a
Language setting, but none for Keyboard. This means that you can
change keyboard only at the command line. For a Pakistani Urdu keymap,
the command in Terminal is

setxkbmap pk

I recommend that you enter

setxkbmap us

beforehand, so that you can recall it from the terminal history with
up-arrow in order to get out of Urdu.

Or create a script file

setxkbmap us

with some easily-remembered Urdu name.

> Tried Farsi instead since it is listed and shares some of the same
> characters. Same result.  All tabs and instructions are in Farsi, but only
> able to type ABCs.
> I will be seeing a niece who is a Farsi speaker this afternoon.  She also
> knows some Urdu.  I thought she could help me with a little project I have,
> if I can find out how to get the Activity to output Urdu.
> Is there any listing of which Activities support which languages?  Are there
> instructions for accessing these languages anywhere on the OLPC wiki?
> Caryl
>> CC: support-gang at laptop.org; iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> From: garycmartin at googlemail.com
>> Subject: Re: [IAEP] How do I switch the keyboard to another character set?
>> Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2010 08:47:58 +0000
>> To: cbigenho at hotmail.com
>> Hi Caryl,
>> On 26 Dec 2010, at 06:42, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> > Hi...
>> >
>> > If one had a simple overlay with the Urdu keyboard symbols on it, what
>> > would be the exact procedure for switching the keys to Urdu? I tried in My
>> > Settings-> Keyboard-> Urdu -> Urdu Pakistan, but the result was a lot of
>> > little squares with symbols in them... maybe hex code?
>> Not my place of expertise, and I don't know if Urdu is specifically
>> supported or not, but sounds like your keyboard switch went just fine. What
>> you need to be aware of is:
>> 1) The activity you try to type into needs to support an extended range of
>> possible characters, usually this is utf-8. You've probably heard of ASCII,
>> well that defines the small set of roman characters along with a few accents
>> and symbols western users are used to, utf-8 defines a much larger range of
>> characters allowing many more scripts). If utf-8 input is not supported by
>> an activity, when you type you'll likely often see several fairly arbitrary
>> characters being inserted for each single key press.
>> 2) The OS build needs to have a font that actualy has characters defined
>> for the language script you are trying to use, if there are no available
>> fonts to cover a script, little square symbols are usually what are shown
>> instead. If your activity has control over using different fonts you might
>> need to pick a font yourself that has Urdu characters defined (though I
>> think there is a fallback scheme in some cases that picks a character from
>> some other default font if the current font is missing that symbol).
>> So, I guess the questions are, what activities did you try typing text
>> int? What build of Sugar are you using? If testing in the Write activity,
>> did you go through the different fonts. As a slightly different test, have
>> you tried changing the language to Urdu to see if activities/Sugar shows the
>> text localised (if that works you know you at least have a good font
>> somewhere)?
>> One last point is that fonts that include many language scripts can be
>> HUGE files, so it would not surprise me, given the XO storage limitations,
>> that Sugar builds for specific deployments might likely have been specially
>> customised to include certain neede scripts, they may not be included in
>> more generic releases.
>> Regards,
>> --Gary
>> > They look similar to what I have seem from some of my multilingual
>> > acquaintances on Facebook.
>> >
>> > Anybody know how to do this?
>> >
>> > Caryl
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>> > IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> > http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
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Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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