Reading and Writing in Hindi on Ubuntu Linux

Now-a-days most linux distributions support reading and writing in any unicode language easily. Following are the instructions for enabling hindi support in Ubuntu (it's based on Ubuntu Edgy, but I think it's same for Dapper).

Reading Hindi Websites

By default, Firefox will show unicode hindi font based websites, but font is all garbled - especially 'choti e ki matra' is rendered incorrectly after the letter. (i.e you will see दलि instead of दिल ).

To fix that, you just need to install 'Hindi' language pack.

Go to System->Administration->Language Support
Find Hindi in Language List, and check mark it in support column 
Click on OK (It should install the language pack)

Now you are all set. Close firefox, and open it again and go to a hindi website - it should render correctly.

Writing in Hindi

If you have installed Hindi language pack as mentioned above, you are mostly ready for writing in Hindi. You can type in hindi in any editor that supports unicode (e.g. Applications->Accessories->Text Editor .. or using firefox if you are submitting something on web). But first we need to add the Hindi (India) Keyboard layout using following steps:

Go to System->Administration->Keyboard
Select Layouts Tab
click on the 'Add' button
From the list select 'India' and click Ok. 
click on Close

(don't expand the 'India' list because for some reason Hindi is not there. Though selecting India automatically selects the Hindi keyboard layout).

Next, you need a way to switch keyboard layout dynamically from English to Hindi Keyboard layout. You can add a button in panel to do this.

Right Click on Panel -> Add to Panel
Go to Utilities section in the list 
and select Keyboard Indicator, and click on Add
Click on close

You should now see a small indicator on panel showing your keyboard layout (it typically will show 'USA' if you have selected US English as your keyboard layout while installing).

Now open a unicode text editor - e.g. Applications->Accessories->Text Editor. Once in editor, click on 'keyboard indicator' on panel - clicking it once will change the layout to 'India' (clicking it again will change in back to English), and start typing -- you should see beautiful hindi words now :)

(Of course you need to learn hindi keyboard layout for any meaningful writing - check out BhasaIndia's Hindi keyboard layout page , and you should be all set).

अब आप भी हिन्दी में लिखने का लुत्फ उठायें । Have fun typing in Hindi.