The Penguin and Unicode:
The State of Unicode and Internationalization in Linux
Edward Trager - Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Medical Center

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, Systems Analysts, Technical Writers, Web Administrators

Session Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Quick! What operating system has translation teams actively localizing desktop interfaces in over 70 languages and has already delivered to market localizations in such diverse languages as Azerbaijani, Catalan, and Gujarati? Microsoft Windows? Apple OS X? Try again. The answer is Linux.

In this talk, I will discuss how Unicode is being implemented in key Linux technologies from "glibc" to "X". The open and free nature of these technologies is spurring a rapid global movement to make Linux fully accessible in numerous languages and emerging markets.

The talk will include two parts: (1) a discussion of core Unicode infrastructure technologies, and (2) an introduction to software used in the globalization of Linux.

Part one will describe message translation via GNU gettext() and show how X11, Xft, FreeType, and Fontconfig are wired together to provide font services. An increasingly important area in today's global market is complex text layout (CTL) needed for scripts like Arabic and Devanagari. A comparative look at Pango, Trolltech's QT, ICU's LayoutEngine, and SIL Graphite will help attendees understand the CTL landscape.

Part two will introduce three open source productivity applications: Yudit, a Unicode editor, KBabel, a translation assistant, and Fontforge, a font editor.

Businesses and organizations who understand that Linux is becoming the backbone of a global Digital Commons stand poised to benefit from the technical opportunities and cost savings of this open source platform. Anyone wishing to understand Unicode's central role in the globalization of Linux should attend. Prior knowledge of Linux is not required.