Nowadays, modern operating systems such as Windows 7 and Ubuntu come pre-installed with Bangla fonts. Do you remember old systems where reading an article written in Bengali Unicode was a big headache (most-likely we see stream of )? I am not a person involved with text processing, but here I am expressing my view only.

As we know computers were built with their own language and keyboard in the old days and slowly it evolved a standard code called ASCII. ASCII was used in old programming languages and was based on English so people wanting to type other language were unable to do so. With the advancement of text processing, there was a need of Universal coding system that would work on many different systems. In 1987, Joe Becker from Xerox and Lee Collins and Mark Davis from Apple started investigating a universal character set which would address the need for a workable, reliable universal text encoding. Later, representatives from companies like RLG, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft and NeXT joined the group. The Unicode consortium published the first volume of the Unicode standard on ‘91 and subsequently the second version on ‘92. Each character or symbol corresponds to a particular code point in the Unicode chart. Unicode encodes the underlying characters in the form of graphemes (2-D graph like representation of the character so that it can be pictured with pixels in the text processors). Usually, an Unicode code point is referred to by writing “U+” followed by its corresponding hexadecimal number. If the characters were represented in pictures, then it would consume much more space compared to representing each character in the form of a code. The advantage of representing characters as graph has the advantage of a smoother viewing experience on zooming in. Unicode defines two mapping methods, among which UTF(Unicode Transformation Format) is the more popular. UTF-8 is backwards compatible with ASCII. Currently Unicode supports more than a hundred scripts. Bengali, Hindi, Gujrati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil , Telegu and many other scripts were included in Unicode’s ‘91 version.

Computers need required font (electronic data file containing a set of glyphs, characters, or symbols) support to render (generate image for the model) proper script. The more popular font families are Adobe’s Type-1-fonts, Apple Computer’s_True Type Font_ (ttf) and Microsoft’s Open Type Face (otf). So, to display Bengali fonts properly, appropriate Bengali Font face should be installed in the system. You can download several Bengali fonts from Omnicron, ekushey, uchicago and wisc etc or search for it in google. Save it in your computer’s hard disk and follow the steps below. For Windows machines go to run > font > open > a directory would open. copy font files in this directory and your installation is complete. For Ubuntu, copy fonts in ‘/usr/share/fonts’ then just open the font file and click on install button. For typing Bengali

html pages contain many type of fonts. If that particular font in your system then its fine, otherwise sometimes it create problem in displaying Bengali script. To fix this we have to fix the browsers default Bengali font to the installed font so that it display contents written in an unknown font with the installed font. In Firefox, go to preference > content > font & colors > advanced > select Bengali in ‘Fonts for’ > specify an installed font.

For typing in Bengali you can either choose to install a software (e.g. Abhro, ekushey etc.) in your machine or type it on some website using English to Bangla Phonetic typing (e.g. google, lexilogos, webdunia etc.). I have installed Abhro on Ubuntu and working fine with following the typing instruction.

Now a big question is why Android system being a ‘self-called’ open-source platform does not provide support for bengali fonts? I don’t have any answer to this. To Install bengali fonts properly in android devices, you need to be a root user. When you ‘root’ your android device your warranty with the vendor is void which might be unacceptable to many.