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Re: Wine, Bidi, and Arabic

Isam Bayazidi wrote:

The current status is that Wine should display Arabic more or less
(well, more less than more, but quite readable anyways) in the right
order. There is no joining or glyphing support as of yet. There is not
likely to be either unless Behdad puts it into FriBiDi, or you get me
someone to do it in Wine (or at least QA it). In any case, I'm talking
about somewhat long-term, as there are bigger problems to handle than
even the proper reordering. There is also some chance the IBM will
(finally) release their patch (partial though it is).

So IBM is doing (has done) a patch for Wine to fix Bidi and maybe shaping.

Yes, but they ran out of budget pretty early on. Now there are some people inside IBM that are trying to say "ok, don't develop it, just release what you have already done". As this is against a pretty old Wine, it will require quite some work to get in, and is probably better left out. It should provide a very good reference code, however, and that should speed up my efforts.

There is one thing that does need doing to get Arabic to work, though.
You absolutely need to define an Arabic keyboard in Wine. This
essentially involves editing dlls/x11drv/keyboard.c to include an Arabic
keyboard layout. Without this change you will not be able to type Arabic

OK< I grabbed this file from the CVS, I will do the patch, it seems that it is not a hard one. Now I noticed that the encoding for characters in the keyboard definition is not UTF-8, am I mistaken ? if it is UTF-8, I will have a patch for Arabic keyboard within an hour, to whom should I send the patch ?

No, it is not. Each keyboard layout defines its own encoding. Use either Windows 1256 or ISO-8859-6 (I don't think there is going to be a difference between the two for this particular case).

Send the patch either to me or to wine-patches at winehq dot org dot If the later, it needs to be against the CVS in uniform format (cvs diff -u...). You can also send it to me and I'll submit it (with your name, don't worry :-).

I have talked to Jeremy White, CEO of Code Weavers. Someone called
"Hetz" is actively pushing them to add support for Hebrew Office 2K to
CrossOver office. I find it very hard to believe that Arabic is too far
behind, but the whole deal will only go through if he feels there is
enough market there to justify the extra work. We could sure use your
help in creating demand for this.

Well I asked about Arabic support in CrossOver Office some time back to the CrossOver Support, without a reply.. There is a need for CrossOver Office with Arabic support, as until now Office Suits in Linux come short when it comes to Arabic spellchecking..

While I am, in no way, representative of CrossOver, experience has shown that they will not go too much over the border in fixing things inside XOO, and they don't seem to have the man power to fix things inside Wine (their answer will probably be that "Shachar is working on BiDi"). I would suggest you get the arabic keyboard working, and then install XOO (they give 30 days trial to pretty much everyone), replace the wine in there with the version you compile, and try running "LANG=ar_JO crossoversetup", and install Office 2000 or Office 97 Arabic. Use the proper phrase instead of ar_JO, of course.

while MS-Office do it real fine.. I was about to recommend CrossOver Office to a company migrating all it's desktops and servers to Linux, now that I know that CrossOver Office does not support Arabic I am not sure how to answer their instant need for Arabic Spell Checker in Linux.

There is a not altogether bad chance that it will work with the keyboard change (without joining for the menus, though. The text themselves ought to be fine, however, as Word does its own BiDi rendering, and does not rely on Window's engine).

Also of note (though probably not very useful to you) is the hspell project on the ivrix site. They have created an engine for Hebrew dictionary which may prove somewhat useful for Arabic as well (the idea is that trivial modification do not require an extra entry. This concept is also necessary for Arabic, if I remember correctly. This means that a word is considered valid even if it adds "el" in the begining of a dictionary word). They also have a tool for scanning web sites and adding word semi-automatically. This may prove useful to you too (with modifications, hopefully minor).

I'm hoping to be able to cooperate in order to bring the open source
solutions to as many people as possible.

I sure hope that cooperation will continue in open source projects.

Isam Bayazidi

I think your best course of action (besides getting the Arabic keyboard in) is to contact Hetz, hetz at witch dot dyndns dot org, and try to coordinate with him a way to make the market for XOO seem larger. This may prove the critical point for CodeWeavers.