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Re: BIDI support in Debian Installer : help needed

Christian Perrier wrote:
This is not restricted to Arabic/Hebrew people. Others probably may
help on this hot topic. Please read if you happen to have some skills
in debconf/slang/programming and just try to imagine if you can help....

Quoting Steve Langasek (vorlon@debian.org):

Please see http://people.debian.org/~vorlon/slang/ for a
fribidi-enabled slang udeb.  Because fribidi is *not* enabled in the
regular .deb, testing this library on a fully installed system requires
unpacking the udeb by hand and loading the library (probably with

This udeb can't be uploaded to unstable until there is also a udeb
available for libfribidi0.

... it also can't be uploaded until it actually works.

Testing with
LC_ALL=he_IL LD_LIBRARY_PATH=./debian/slang1a-utf8-udeb/lib apt-get install geneweb

I see that the debconf backend is crashing.  Actually, it crashes
without the LC_ALL, too.

Without the LD_LIBRARY_PATH, or pointing to the non-fribidi enabled lib,
package configuration proceeds as normal.

The packaging at that site should be reasonably correct now for
providing a fribidi-enabled udeb with a fribidiless deb, but it looks
like the fribidi patch to the slang source still needs some attention.

Writing enough thank you's with my limited english won't be easy,

Consider your account for free beers at Debconf opened, anyway...

I will grab the thing as soon as possible and try to poke around it,
for instance by building a mini ISO with libfribidi and
slang1a-utf8-udeb in it.

Even though your preliminary tests weren't successful with geneweb, I
think that now having a working build for patched slang is a big push
to BIDI work.

So, now the next steps are:

-get the latest fribidi, with shaping support, in Debian as soon as it
is released upstream. Anmar, is a beta version already available. If
so, we should pre-build it. I can try to handle that part if I'm
pointed to the upstream sources
I am trying to get an early build out of the developer's hands so he I can get you guys to do a ubuild. :)

 (for those reading this, see at the end of this mail for details
about what shaping is)

-re-work Shlomi's BIDI patches and check what is crashing. Shlomi,
this is your part. (Shlomi had exams these days but mentioned he would
be more available now...)


-introduce shaping where it has to be put (slang also?). Anmar, we
need a Arabic coding wizard for this.

Worst case scenario, We will append the shaping code to Shlomi's patches and hope all is well. I will keep you posted as to what happens with the new release of fribidi.

Details about shaping, from #debian-boot channel:

anmar	bubulle: Arabic is an RTL language that requires shaping to properly show the text.
anmar	bubulle: Every letter in Arabic has 4 shapes depending on its location in the word
anmar	bubulle: BIDI does not handle shaping yet. a New relese will soon.
anmar	bubulle: currently, shaping code is added seperately. for example, VIM needed shaping code as it has some bidi support.
vorlon-work	anmar: I think there's some limited shaping required for Hebrew as well, isn't there?
anmar	vorlon-work: to my little understanding, no. Hebrew has no shaping. although I could be wrong.
vorlon-work	I'm pretty sure there are a few letters in Hebrew that would require shaping.
vorlon-work	maybe only one letter. I don't remember. :)
anmar	vorlon-work: could be :)

(conclusion : Arabic without shaping is useless....Hebrew is probably
OK but some doubt remains.....Hebrew translators, please elaborate)

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