Month: October 2008

Padma: A Transformer for Indic Scripts

When ever I recommend  Ubuntu as an alternate desktop to my students and colleagues, they say that it is not possible to read Malayalam news papers on internet with it. Most of the (silly) Malayalam news papers use Indic scripts with proprietary encoding. They will render only if you install the fonts properly. This post explains how to do it in Ubuntu/Debian.  Alternately, you can install Padma , a firefox  add on,  and read all the papers with out any hassle.

Padma is a system for transforming Indic text between various public and proprietary formats. At present, it supports Unicode and RTS (Rice transliteration scheme)  as output  formats. RTS is available for telugu only. Padama supports these input methods.   RTS ,Unicode, ISCII ITRANS TSCII, TAB and TAM. It also supports most  of the dynamic fonts used by popular Indian Language news papers.

You can read the following papers with ease if you have padma installed on your Firefox.

Internet via BSNL WLL phone on Ubuntu

One of my students brought a BSNL WLL phone saying that it is not getting recognized on Ubuntu 8.04. The model of the phone was HTL Clarity ( I suspect it to be some Chinese phone). I plugged it into my ubuntu system and fonund out the usb id via the lsusb command. The id was 0x15eb:0x0001. This is what I did to get it working on Ubuntu 8.04.

a) Load the usb serial driver wiith the usb id parameters.

# /sbin/modprobe usbserial vendor=0x15eb product=0x0001

b) Load the ppp drive

# /sbin/modprobe ppp_generic

c) Check the dmesg output

#dmesg |tail

[  227.271459] /build/buildd/linux-2.6.24/drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial support registered for generic
[  227.271485] usbserial_generic 2-1:1.0: generic converter detected
[  227.271616] usb 2-1: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[  227.271627] usbserial_generic 2-1:1.1: generic converter detected
[  227.271687] usb 2-1: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB1
[  227.271697] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
[  227.271700] /build/buildd/linux-2.6.24/drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial Driver core
[  276.412779] PPP generic driver version 2.4.2

d) run wvdialconf

#wvdialconf

This  will create a skeleton of /etc/wvdial.conf.

e) Edit the /etc/wvidal.conf so that it looks like the following
[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Init3 = at+crm=1;+cmux=1;+cps=33;+cta=0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
ISDN = 0
Phone = #777
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Username = #######
Password =  ####
Baud = 460800
Stupid Mode = 1
Auto DNS
Check Def Route

I have put # in the place of username and password inthe listing above. Generally, the username will be the phone number. If your phone no is 0471223344 putusername as 471223344 and the password as 3344  ( the last four digits of phone number).

f) Run wvdial  to connect  to Internet. Use Ctrl+C to colse the connection.