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Installing and Setting up Malayalam (swanalekha) on Ubuntu

January 13, 2009 - 14:04

Setting up Malayalam on Ubuntu or for that matter any other GNU/Linux distribution like Fedora, Mandriva has been progressively getting easier thanks to the wonderful effort of the free software community going by the name "Swathanthra Malayalam Computing" or SMC in short. Most of the patches and tweaks have gone upstream to the OS trunks and most distros are already Malayalam capable. A few minor tweaks are required to set up reading and writing in Malayalam in the latest version of Ubuntu 8.10 - Intrepid Ibex

The steps required are as follows: -
1) Enable Malayalam in the Language Settings
2) Enable SCIM
3) Install Swanalekha - scim-ml-phonetic
4) Install Malayalam Fonts

We have compiled the complete process into a ready to use script. All you have to do is open a terminal and then run
sudo bash
to start another shell as the root user. Now copy and paste the following code into a text file and save the text file as install-ml.sh on your Desktop.


apt-get install language-support-ml language-pack-ml language-pack-gnome-ml language-pack-gnome-ml-base language-pack-kde-ml language-pack-kde-ml-base

apt-get install scim scim-gtk2-immodule m17n-contrib scim-m17n

wget http://download.savannah.gnu.org/releases/smc/Swanalekha/scim-ml-phonetic_0.1.3-2_all.deb
dpkg -i scim-ml-phonetic_0.1.3-2_all.deb

wget http://ftp.jp.debian.org/debian/pool/main/t/ttf-indic-fonts/ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb
dpkg -i ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb

touch /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
chmod 646 /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export XMODIFIERS="@im=SCIM"' >> /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export GTK_IM_MODULE="scim"' >> /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export XIM_PROGRAM="scim -d"' >> /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export QT_IM_MODULE="scim"' >> /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
chmod 644 /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup

In the terminal that you had opened type source ~/Desktop/install-ml.sh Make sure that you don't see any errors or warnings. Answer any questions in the affirmative and that is it. Your Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex box is ready for Malayalam. Restart X (Ctrl + Alt + Backspace) or reboot and make sure that SCIM icon (a keyboard) comes in your notification area.

Once you login back click on the SCIM icon and you should see a menu with the list of languages. Go to Malayalam and select Phonetic. This corresponds to swanalekha transliteration scheme for Malayalam. You can switch back to English by pressing Ctrl + Space keys. Open any text editor and you should be able to switch between the schemes and type Malayalam or English

You can get more information about SMC and its activities at Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (SMC) website

References:
http://libregeek.blogspot.com/2008/04/ubuntu-804-review-by-malayalam-user.html
Swanalekha on FCI Wiki

Post your comments / questions

Thanks for the article and shell script...!
Swanalekha is committed in the scim and m17n upstreams and will be available in the upcoming versions of GNU/Linux distributions.

Santhosh,
Had it not been for your hard work there would not have been a Swanalekha to write a script to install for. Thank YOU for your commitment to promote free software and Malayalam.
Cheers
Anoop John
Team Zyxware

The following will get a 404 error as the file is no longer on the server

wget http://ftp.jp.debian.org/debian/pool/main/t/ttf-indic-fonts/ttf-malayala...
dpkg -i ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.3_all.deb

please change it above in the script to

wget http://ftp.jp.debian.org/debian/pool/main/t/ttf-indic-fonts/ttf-malayala...
dpkg -i ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb

A Good illustration that helped me to setup malayalam in ubuntu. Until now using varamozhi on winxp.

~/Desktop/install-ml.sh

when i type this command on terminal am getting an error message like permission denied.

i created the corresponding file in the desktop then also i am getting this error message.

i changed properties of that file as read and write permission for user,owner and others.

then also getting the same permission denied message.

The error is probably because you are not logged in as root user. Simply type in sudo before the command. ie
sudo ~/Desktop/install-ml.sh
Hope it helps and do read the article carefully, don't miss out on anything. :)

I have installed the fonts as u have specified on my jaunty jackalope. And i got that SCIM icon as u said. But i didnt reset my language to malayalam.

My problem is that i am not able to read malayalam sites such as www.malayalamanorama.com. Is it that i will b able to read it only after setting my language to malayalam. I actually accidentally removed that icon from my notification area. So i cant set my language to malayalam now. Any advice??

Malayala Manorama's web site is not running in unicode. To see it, you have two options.

1) install Manorama's ISCII font in your system
2) install padma firefox extension in your firefox browser

I have set up the Malayalam fonts on my computer, and it seems to be working fine. But, everyone in my office who types for me has been using Windows ISM Malyalam software. They are not used to using the phonetic keyboard. Is there a way to switch to a different method of using the keyboard similar to the ISM method?
Thanks
Alexi

You could also use Inscript Malayalam keyboard layout. I however don't think it matches the ISM keystrokes for all characters. You would be better off contacting the Swathanthra Malayalam Computing Community for technical help regarding this.

hi sir i am jishnu, i am new to Linux and i am using Ubuntu 9.04. i would like to get a starter level how to install Malayalam keyboard in Ubuntu. my installation extension will be .dub

i would be happy if you sent it through mail or link it the required post!

dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of scim-ml-phonetic:
scim-ml-phonetic depends on scim-modules-table (>= 0.5.6); however:
Package scim-modules-table is not installed.
dpkg: error processing scim-ml-phonetic (--install):
dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
Errors were encountered while processing:
scim-ml-phonetic
--2011-05-03 12:45:55-- http://ftp.jp.debian.org/debian/pool/main/t/ttf-indic-fonts/ttf-malayala...
Resolving ftp.jp.debian.org... failed: Name or service not known.
wget: unable to resolve host address `ftp.jp.debian.org'
dpkg: error processing ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb (--install):
cannot access archive: No such file or directory
Errors were encountered while processing:
ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb

Can you please tell me what might be causing the issue? I am using JoliOS 1.2 in a Lenovo s-10 netbook.

Would the script work for Telugu (I don't have any phonetic transliteration keyboard layout like RTS with the current input method) if I do:

100%[======================================>] 1,41,246 59.8K/s in 2.3s

2012-04-28 19:41:45 (59.8 KB/s) - `scim-ml-phonetic_0.1.3-2_all.deb' saved [141246/141246]

Selecting previously deselected package scim-ml-phonetic.
(Reading database ... 133384 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking scim-ml-phonetic (from scim-ml-phonetic_0.1.3-2_all.deb) ...
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of scim-ml-phonetic:
scim-ml-phonetic depends on scim-modules-table (>= 0.5.6); however:
Package scim-modules-table is not installed.
dpkg: error processing scim-ml-phonetic (--install):
dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
Errors were encountered while processing:
scim-ml-phonetic
--2012-04-28 19:41:47-- http://ftp.jp.debian.org/debian/pool/main/t/ttf-indic-fonts/ttf-malayala...
Resolving ftp.jp.debian.org... 150.65.7.130
Connecting to ftp.jp.debian.org|150.65.7.130|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 404 Not Found
2012-04-28 19:41:48 ERROR 404: Not Found.

dpkg: error processing ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb (--install):
cannot access archive: No such file or directory
Errors were encountered while processing:
ttf-malayalam-fonts_0.5.4_all.deb

i have done wat is said above.But when I run it on terminal a message permission denied is got
wat to do next

You have to run as root

i dont know how to do
2) Enable SCIM
3) Install Swanalekha - scim-ml-phonetic
4) Install Malayalam Fonts
still i tried to do balance

bash: /home/satheesh/Desktop/install-ml.sh: No such file or directory

i tried to post one bye one in to terminal
root@sa2:~# apt-get install language-support-ml language-pack-ml language-pack-gnome-ml language-pack-gnome-ml-base language-pack-kde-ml language-pack-kde-ml-base
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
E: Unable to locate package language-support-ml
can you help me to do further
my knowledge in computing is zero

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