Category Archives: Multilingual

My Selection of Linux Utilities that should make a standard-Utilities for Visually Handicapped-03

One of the features I always look for in a distribution is whether it supports blind and the visually handicapped persons.

Ubuntu is well known for supporting blind users with Orcas which is a Debian based utility for keyboards and Linux support for braille is unsurpassed by proprietary operating systems. Most of the stable version Debian support visually handicapped users.

Along with this facility multi-language support is essential and many Linux distributions are only in English and some are only in French or Spanish.
But lately many distributions are supporting several languages. Debian is the leader in this and it now supports Sinhala too.

Third utility should go with this is virtual keyboard.

Often with the frequent use keys of the keyboard some of them get stuck and if this happens when entering a password one may not be able to get started which is a little embarrassment to say the least.

Virtual keyboard is value added utility.

All these must be bundled out in the accessibility corner.
I am not sure where the sweeper, the cleaning utility should be placed and I prefer it with the accessibility option. The sweeper removes unnecessary and temporary files and  the history tree which tend to accumulate and get bigger and bigger in almost every Linux distribution.

Only in PCLinux I find the utility that removes temporary files at boot time which one can select at the time f installation.

Unlike servers where every data and every little movement are necessary for recovery purposes when a servers fails but all these details of history tree are not necessary even though very valuable when break into a system is suspected for a desktop.

Archiving utilities are universal in Linux distributions and if one uses them judiciously may be able to save disk space.
In my case it is not the hard disk (which I format once a year) that I use but CD and DVDs and burner utility either K3B or Brasso is essential for this purpose.

So I have lumped all the good housekeeping utilities in one category which are useful if one is using one computer for all the day to day activities.

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What to look for in a Standard Linux Distribution-Introduction

I have talked about practically all the possible combinations of Live and Standard Linux it is time for me to wind up with a guide for selection of a distribution without giving a particular distribution.I will not go into hardware compatibility even though it is a major issue since what innovation are round the corner is difficult to predict after this iPod and mobile utility craze is over and done with it.

But before that I must tell you my favorites without any order of merits.

I go for several light weight distributions and for one Gorilla Edition.

The Gorilla Edition is PCLinuxFullMonty which is almost comprehensive and lacks only XBMC but that also can be downloaded.

For Sinhala Linux Lovers (SLL) it is Debian 6.0.0

They are as follows

1. Puppy Linux and its various editions. you can simply carry in your front pocket (carry when I go abroad-an use it as an Acid Test of the computer, laptop or netbook I may buy-not that I want any more with all the assortments i have at home an office.
If I cannot boot it it with Puppy, I won’t consider buying the stuff, whatever the vendors gimmick may be.

2. Knoppix the 10th anniversary edition to show off its graphic capabilities including compiz and cheese the web camera. Now it has found a permanent place in my computers in spite of its finicky requirements for hardware configuration.

3. Gparted (Debian’s), the best companion to partition my computers when I reformat. Mind you it is light weight and does not say no to any complicated partition composition within the framework of the standard laid down principles.

4. KDE base nothing to choose between Mepis and PCLinux but I prefer PCLinux since I got a good hang of its versatile performance which SuSe lacks.

5. SuSe for my long association with it after Fedora in spite of craving for RAM (the new with Venation blind appearance but in vertical orientation of strips)I. It has the the best configuration utility called YAST (I call it Yet Another System configuration and teaching Tool) but the partitioning is limited to 15 which is a handicap when I want several distributions installed in the same computer.

6. Debian for its versatility and the ability to recognize all the hard disks of various make (SATA, SCSI, IDE) and the ability to write the partition table without getting confused when a fellow like me install assortment of operating systems in my own finicky ways.

It has taken a special place now with Sinhala capability of its installation.

7. Fedora for its ability to take on board changes which commercial operating systems resit and for my yesteryear long association with it and the Hanthana Sinhala Linux which is a derivative of it.

It was the first Linux distribution that I have used which could accommodate Sinhala fonts way back when other Linux distributions were learning the tricks of the trade.

8. GoBO Linux for its innovative approach but no new version for a long time.

9. YOPER for trimming, shedding dropping extra fringes to get it running fast but it has a big problem with its GRUB file.

10. Pure KDE without a brand name since it is the one made Linux desktop eye candy and a market force of its own and still introducing new innovation but one need at least 1 GiB of RAM and still more RAM for it’s better performance.

11. LXDE is my favorite even though I am hooked to KDE and its plane and bird like logo.

12. Cloud Linux

13. MeeGo

14. Pendrive Linux

15. PureOS, Saline OS, Peppermint, LinuxMint, Console Linux, Morphix, MYAH, ADIOS and the lot I forgot because of my bad memory.

16. Scientific Linux of course is my ultimate goal and that is where I belong to as a professional and where my personal biases are rooted, which I am trying to wean off and become an ordinary man again with taste and flair.

If I have left any other distribution, it is all because of my finicky behaviour and lack of space.

It is a fact that any one of them do the day to day work for me.

Please excuse for my bias since I am an ordinary human being with lot of personal deficiencies and lapses in my memory with geriatric age approaching fast.

Young ones are the live blood of Linux, you need to keep on innovating and also have a pause and listen to ordinary uses too.

Next few editions will be based on the packages one should have in a distribution that may vary from person to person.

I will start with K-Torrent and gParted.

I am afraid I may have to group them since there are over 60,000 of them, if one takes Debian as a base.
With that exercise I may finish my engagement with the wider world and go back to my normal life of gardening, fish keeping and looking after my dog.

Linux in Sinhala and Installation of Debian 6.0 in Sinhala

I can now report to you that Debian DVD 1 (one of many) has Sinhala capability and is available at LinuxTracker with many seeders and one can download it in less than 24 hours.

Please do not go for point to pint download or slt.net.

The good news is that I have now installed Debain in Sinhala with Sinhala dropdown menu  (mixture of Sinhala and English) and it is amazingly good.

It is Gnome but I will miss K3B but  the Debian Sinhala is going to stay in my main computer from now onwards and I will be reporting bugs if I detect any.

I hope, in its next edition, it drops Openoffice and go for LibreOffice.

In any case, it is going to improve my Sinhala leaps and bounds.

Thank you Debian and the Translator Team.

I have no hesitation in recommending it’s use but with one or two advices and some warning is in order.

Please get a proficient Linux guy / girl to install it and do not copy the DVD with Nero.

For best use one must have an internet connection when  one installs it and Debian configures the card automatically (better have a router instead of telephone connection) in its initial install and please have patience, it takes a fairly long time to install (do it in the night when internet is not busy).

With those provisos HAPPY SINHALA LINUX for all.

Mind you this was edited with Sinhala Linux activated and Debian’s Iceweasel on the web track.

Old Note on the CD

Now I have tried installing Debian 6 in Sinhala, I can report back and say it can be done but prior understanding of Linux and how Debian does things is essential.

I also have to report that the 4 CD / DVD that I downloaded is not available in Linuxtracker due to unfortunate incidents there.

It is up and running but it will be sometime before all Debian CD/DVDs are restored for download.
Moment I have good news I will be posting it here and elsewhere.
I  have to tell you that I had  to format my hard disks and redo all the installations new.

It is all fun and game in Linux but took lot of my spare time and not having interesting cricket matches to watch was a bonus.

Everything went on smoothly and I was expecting to work in Sinhala after the installation but sadly it was not to be.

I could not select Sinhala at boot time and none of the Linux distributions let  you do that currently  and even though many of the Linux distributions have the multilingual capacity, Sinhala has not been promoted in the web world outside Sri-lanka.

I am afraid lot of translation work has to be done  in legible and lexicographical world of Sinhala and enough Sinhala fonts have to be installed in the usr/src folders.

Coding for fonts and character map is now available but translation of computer terminology is extremely difficult and many thanks for the guys and girls for trying it.

I enjoyed installing it in Sinhala with my limited ability in Sinhala but lot of guess work, in doing so but having known Debian for a long time and had sweated a lot learning Linux, a little over decade ago, the guess work (Sinhala terms) did work.

This gives an opportunity to learn how Linux works especially Debian for one who has difficulty in English language.

But my advice for all is one should be proficient in both Sinhala and English to be a successful translator and Learning Linux in that process is an added bonus.

I am not at all good in Sinhala to be of any help to you but I am there to test the capability of Sinhala in Linux and report to the wider web.

Thanks again guys and girls for trying a very difficult task.

With good team work and perseverance it can be accomplished and good luck with your future efforts.

Debian is the best Linux distribution to learn nuts and bolts of Linux, even though it is bit difficult to master it and the learning curve is steep at the beginning but it invariably drops quickly after the first year of trying.

Do not give up your efforts of Learning Linux in Sinhala and English too.

Grand Finale

I am almost completing 18 months come end of March of downloading and testing Linux Live CDs and lately few of the DVDs.
All good things have to come to an end and with Sinhala Linux coming to the scene without fanfare or funfair after a long delay, I will be concentrating on that instead of the Live CDs but with occasional reference to them (not full time as it used to be for nearly 18 months).
Real reason for this venture was the boring one year election campaign and as a diversion tactics of an intellectual nature.
The things I learned was enormous.
Sinhala Linux coming at the tail end was quite a surprise.
It looks as some of my critical comments are taken with serious attention and lot of my audience is not Sri-Lankans but Americans and far way web browsers.

I believe my comments were only academic and may be some times constructive but lot of things not intended by me has / have happened.
In the Grand Finale, I would like to list few.

1. Multilingual Distributions are coming from EU and South America which is pretty good.

2. French is also becoming a leading language of distributions.

3. Light weight and multiple editions are hitting the bench.,emulating PCLimux. Sabayon (Gentoo), Salix(Slackware), Aptosid (Debain), Fedora (Redhat) and Zenwalk are examples.

4. Some dormant like Korora coming out of the attic.

5. Distributions are looking at others to emulate or improve the Linux image.

6. Dominance of Ubuntu is diminishing and Ubuntu also looking for an image lift.

7. Redhat has come out of hibernation.

8. Debian is showing its prowess and slowly and rightly embracing the changes. Lot of live editions including Sinhala Linux edition.

9. Flame wars are becoming less intense but critical and constructive.

10. With all these I am becoming rejuvenated at my twilight years and old and young are coming together for a Grand Finale.

11. Puppy (front pocket) and Knoppix (piggyback) remain my favorites.

12. Pendrives are ubiquitous.

Only criticism I have is the children programs (except gCompris and few others) and games have been neglected.
Morphix, Myah and Adios are slow to wake up from hibernation or slumber.
Young chaps take them out of the attic and put some the grandpa influence on the map and make some really grandiose games and creative activities (for children and grandpa like me) and reinvigorate the Linux spirit of the yesteryear.

Freedom, Friendship and Sinhala Capability of Linux

I am happy to report that Debian 6 is available with Sinhala graphical installer.

Well. well I am happy to tell you that I downloaded KDE version (currently downloading Gnome version) of Debian 6 and it can be installed in Sinhala but I prefer installing it in English and then using Sinhala capability by changing the language after installation. 

It is install only but not a live CD.

Now I can update you to say that Live DVD is available which is Live as well as install. Ir comes in both 32 bit and 64 bit with Sinhala Capability.

I am going to make them available locally in Kandy and you are free to copy it,  install  it and send me a comment below if there are any difficulties in using it in Sinhala.

The Sinhala terminology in there was like Greek to me but when I have the free time I will install it in one of my spare computers in my office and see its virtues.

In the mean time, I get a few of my university students who are versed in Linux to try it and give me a feedback.

It is advised that one downloads it as K-Torrent and not as normal web browser download (point to point).

Thanks you Guys and Girls at Debian for doing the honours for Sinhala Language.

I have to thank Anuradha (who comes from Kandy) profusely for his initiation.

Please do not worry him he is a busy person and doing some other important work. It is time for you to make local Linux Groups and spread the message of wisdom in Sinhala.

It was long time waiting for me but I am now at a different level and carry Linux in a Pendrive and enjoying it as  pastime. and promoting Live CDs.

Visit my blog at http://www.wordpress.org  (Linux for Computing and updates at asokaplus).
There over 200 hundred versions but many of them are not in Sinhala and many do not have multilanguage capability.

I am now more interested in promoting Linux globally and activating K-torrent Groups who are posting and seeding Linux distributions globally for every nation on this planet to use without copyright laws.

For me this as an achievement of a few dedicated Sinhala (not the race but the Language) loving IT Guys and Girls who had devoted their free time to make Sinhala available in Linux.

It was our own Anuradha who tried to Make Sinhala Linux.

Unfortunately he was drawn into Presidential Forces after tsunami and he could not persevere with this project due to his workload and lack of support of dedicated Linux guys.

Our own Rev. Mettavihari (foreign) of course added Pali and Sinhala font and the unicode version of Sinhala some years ago but nobody took active interest in prompting Sinhala Linux.

Please note http://www.worpress.org has Sinhala capability and it is open source and I have seen a few using it in Sinhala.
One reason (now there are many) I felt out Microsoft is when it introduced XP there was NO Sinhala in its 40 odd languages.

Please note the note below.
Due to the lack of translation updates two languages were dropped in this release: Wolof and Welsh.

If we do not persevere it will (Sinhala) be dropped from Linux like Welsh.

Asturian, Estonian, Icelandic, Kazakh and Persian have been added to the graphical and text-based installer.

Kannada, Lao, Sinhala and Telugu have been added to the graphical installer.

Spread the message of Linux in Sinhala and Tamil.

Linux100-Quelitu-109

Another fantastic effect light weight based on Lubuntu.
It is in English. French and Garcian (hope I got the spelling right).
I give special points to light weight and multilingual capability.
Well done.
Good one.

Updates on ALT Linux- English Version

With much trouble I finally found a Live CD in English.

Currently I am downloading it and I’ll be with you soon.

This is a distribution that Russian Guys and Girls are using in schools.

I want to promote this in SriLanka and in our schools.

I have been in touch with the Russian Webmaster too.

 

I am not an Old Communist Guard but I love Russia for the leadership it gave some decades ago

Our old communists (Sri-Lankan politicians) are bum sucking here and impotent I may have to do it alone.

Only way the Russians can catch the old prestige is to master English and develop this distribution with scientific inputs and promote it in the third world.

I know Russian politicians with money are corrupt and I also know average Russian consumes a lot of Vodka but 99% of Russians are nice guys unlike Americans with or without money.


You still have lot responsibility to contribute to this world like protecting us from Hitler and Stalin.


We do not want leaders Like them in the third world emerging and eating the social fabric what we we proud of.


It is nice to see the English edition is coming from United Kingdom.

Well done Guys and Girls.
Desktop 4 is a good one and I will have a separate entry.

This CD iso I found in biblio.org.

Thanks Guys and Girls at biblio.og for keeping an Archive Copy.
I had trouble finding old copies of PCLinux.
Luckily a web Linux friend found me an alternative site.

I am a collector of old versions for posterity!

I saw some instructions coming from PCLinux not to download from biblio.org its packages.

Where else can we find an old copy to download from?

You are doing a great service.