Common applications like e-mail, browsing, word processing, presentations, accounting and instant messaging are arguably non-existent when it comes to Indian languages. TCS is now trying to change that. "TCS is working on making available some of the common applications for everyday use, using existing open source/GPL software and modifying it to suit Indian language requirements," says Sitaram Chamarty, Senior Consultant at TCS, who is heading this initiative out of Hyderabad. Over the past 18 months, it has been releasing products and solutions in this space and has "more in the pipeline." One of the early ones in this series has been the "Swecha" Telugu gnu/Linux distribution that has some of these applications, as well as the desktop, in Telugu. This was first released in July 2005.
This is meant to help solve many of the technical issues, including providing keyboard input for most common layouts, better fonts, text rendering etc. Apparently, many copies (some 100s) of the Telugu gnu/Linux distribution have been downloaded so far. The underlying point, says Chamarty, is leveraging the low cost of the open source systems, which are an ideal fit for the information technology needs of rural India. TCS, from a corporate social responsibility perspective, he says, is working to bring in Indian language support to these systems.
Take web content in Indian languages, for instance. Today, arguably it is represented in ways that do not obey standards. As a result, Indian language web sites are not searchable using major search engines like Google. Here, TCS has produced software to automatically convert legacy content to standardised content for several popular character representations.
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