Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Sychronize Gmail Contacts and Thunderbird Address Book

I was googling to find a solution to an issue with Thunderbird and Dovecot IMAP server and accidentally hit with an interesting Thunderbird extension viz Google Contacts. For a long time, I was searching for a solution to synchronize my Gmail address book and Thunderbird address book. Some of them have uni-directional syncing, while some other need weird configuration and just provided only auto-complete of email address. Eg. the Zindus extension has too much problems in syncing the contacts and Gcaldaemon, which requires Java, was very difficult to configure.

Google Contacts is a very simple add-on which can synchronize between the contacts on Gmail and Thunderbird. The add-on is very easy to install and configure. It's marked as experimental in the Thunderbird website and you may have to login to the website before downloading the extension. I tried this extension in Thunderbird- on a Fedora 7 box and so far there were no issues. It's being developed by H Ogi and he has maintained a good knowledge base in his blog. The only disadvantage is that it's not possible to sync the contacts created while Thunderbird is in off-line.

You can download the extension from here:
(Don't forget to login to the add-on website before downloading. If you don't have an account, create one, it takes less than 5 minutes ).
To install the add-on , open Tools --> Add-ons --> Install and then select the downloaded file. You may have to restart Thunderbird to enable the add-on.

I am sure that Google Contacts is a very useful extension for Gmail and Thunderbird users. Thanks to Google for releasing the Contacts Data API and also to H Ogi who developed this wonderful extension.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Tired of searching for Malayalam Unicode fonts

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing(SMC) has come up with a list of beautiful Malayalam fonts licensed under GNU GPL (excluding AnjaliOldLipi which is in Public Domain). All the latest versions of Rachana, Meera, Dyuthi, RaghuMalayalam, Suruma and AnjaliOldLipi can be previewed and downloaded from this page.

All the fonts except RaghuMalayalam are traditional fonts. RaghuMalayalam font was designed for the Typewriter script. Meera font is being used by two popular Malayalam dailies, viz Mathrubhumi and Mangalam. Rachana font released by Richard Stallman, is the default font in UbuntuLinux and Debian GNU/Linux. Currently these fonts are maintained and packaged by SMC and available for popular distributions such as Debian and Fedora. Thanks to Santhosh for setting up the page.

P.S: In addition to the fonts, you can also read the beautiful nostalgic poem by O N V Kurup.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Why do we need this font?

Recently I upgraded my Fedora desktop to the latest Fedora 9(Sulphur). There are several features which are worth mentioning, but I was more concerned about the Malayalam rendering issues. I have been an ardent fan of GNOME for 7 years, but this time also it disappointed me in Malayalam rendering. As an alternative I tried Konqueror(KDE-4.0.4) but still it had problems. Here is the screenshot:

But I was amazed when I removed the lohit-malayalam-fonts-2.2.1-2.fc9 which is the default Malayalam font in Fedora. See the difference here:
Even some of the Karkkodakan problem is resolved in konqueror:
I was wondering why the Fedora community is repeatedly including the buggy fonts as default, when there are better alternatives. I think, for every Malayalam user who uses Fedora 9 desktop, the first command he should learn is :

# yum remove lohit-fonts-malayalam

I think, until the pango issues are resolved, it's better to use Konqueror as the default browser.

P.S: To install Konqueror alone, just run the following command:
# yum install kdebase

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Padma extension for Firefox 3

Padma is a Mozilla Firefox extension for transforming indic between public and proprietary formats. This extension is a great boon for users of Indian languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, etc.. However, this extension doesn't work in beta version of FireFox 3. Thanks to Mr. Anil Kumar who has hacked this extension to make it work in Firefox 3. Please see this post. The modified extension is tested only in Malayalam websites and works fine.

Update : Padma development team has released an update for padma. You can download it from here :