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Fwd: Integrating BIDI and shaping in Newt

I am forwarding this message here cause it will decide about whether Arab will 
go Debian or Mandrake. The first who does it will accept our hearts and 
money. I, myself, wish Mandrake will do it first because I get used to it and 
don't want to convert. I will also renew my club member for sure if 10.0 
comes with the Arabic installation support and solved the other related 
issues. Otherwise, I hope Mandrake every good on earth but need to convert. 
Sorry to say this but it remains I appreciate your help, especially Pablo 

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: Integrating BIDI and shaping in Newt
Date: Thursday 15 January 2004 22:13
From: Anmar Oueja <anmar at canada dot com>
To: jad at saklawi dot info
Cc: Development Discussions <developer at arabeyes dot org>

Hello Jad:

Sorry about the delay. I was suppose to send you something before Jan.
9th. 2004. Bicon, the project I was thinking of getting your guys to
work on, is still in a state of flux so it took me a while to find the
perfect project for you guys.

Debian/GNU Linux is in the process of creating a brand new text-based
installer with hardware detection, better international support, and the
ability to directly install sid, sarge or wooody. There is one problem
with respect to i18n. BIDI is not part of the text-based installer and
we must have it for proper Arabic display.

Debian Installer relies on Newt and Libtextwrap to display messages. To
properly display Arabic, we need to hack Newt to put bidi and shaping
support in it. Now I talked to the Debian people and they said Newt is
UTF-8 friendly so all we have to do is pipe the text through bidi and
shaping code.

What do you think? This is a simple project that should not take longer
that 2 weeks at the most and it benefits all Arabs since Debian
installer will be the first arabic installer in the world. Oh and btw,
we did get the entire installer translated to Arabic . Currently we are
at 97% complete (took us 2 weeks thanks to Ossama Khayat and Arafat Medini).

Here is a simple break down of what we need:

1. Hack Newt to pipe all displayed text through fribidi.
2. add the shaping code (must be written separately.Please see links below)
3. Write a simple Newt App that displays Arabic and start testing
4. Create a patch and submit it to arabeyes.org. I will take care of
making it part of the newt standard distribution quickly
5. Enjoy the first ever Arabic installer. plus enjoy any new or old Newt
App in Arabic.

Here are the necessary links to start the process:

1. Fribidi library is at http://fribidi.sf.net Please get the latest
0.10.4 version. If you are a debian user simply do "apt-get install fribidi"

2. Newt library is no where to be downloaded so you can get it at:
"http://anmar.homelinux.org/~anmar/newt/";. This is the tar of the source
package from debian.

3. the shaping code sample at

I would like to get a firm and serious commitment to this project as it
is essential that we get it done ASAP. Please let me know soon so we can
arrang  some cvs space for this.

I prefer to keep this matter out in the open so I am CCing this email to
developer at arabeyes dot org and would like to have all future correspondence
posted there as well. I think you are already subscribed to this mailing

Kind Regards,

Anmar Oueja

Developer mailing list
Developer at arabeyes dot org


Munzir Taha
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Telecommunications and Electronics Engineer
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Maintainer of Mandrake Arabization Project Status (MAPS)
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