Report on Kannada Workshop held at Dept of CSE Bangalore University
As part of the ongoing 56th Kannada Rajyotsava Celebrations FSMK along with Dept of Computer Science, Bangalore University had organised a workshop on Kannada Localisation. There was a festive mood surrounding the venue with the students decorating the place with red and yellow along with welcoming Rangolis. The students were themselves dressed in dark hues of red and yellow signifying the karnataka flag.
The program started at 10.30 am with welcoming the guests and audience and was inaugurated by the dignitaries by lighting the lamp. The program witnessed about 150 participants. The Chief guest of the day Dr. K. Chidananda Gowda, former VC Kuvempu Uniersity and also head of the Kannada Software Committee delivered the key note lecture on "Kannada and Software". He first spoke about the rich heritage of the Kannada Language and its historical importance. He reminded the audience of the 2000 old years' history of the language and its unique features. Unlike English or Hindi Kannada has its own script and also has more alphabets which makes it more expressive than the former. He opined it is best suited for adoption in Computers. He also brought out the specialty of the language with some witty and crisp examples that kept the audience attracted.
Later on he
charted the developments in the language in the post independence era.
He noted that there was a similar crisis to Kannada what exists today
in the software era long when the typewriters and print media technology
was introduced here, when people thought these would result in the language
becoming extinct but however timely improvements in technology has allayed
any such fears. He said the same is required today in the era of computers
where computers are accessible by the masses through a native language
interface and here software localisation plays a major role in achieving
this goal. He also talked about the report submitted by his committee to
the government and the government response to it. The government is
currently carrying out a project to come up with a Kannada Unicode font
and will release it to the public once completed. He later spoke on
the role of the community in keeping Kannada alive and in today's world
that will happen only when it enters the IT space and software. To ensure
this he underlined the important role played by Free Software which
organizes a community to undertake such an effort.
Later, Jaykumar, General Secretary FSMK, addressed the audience and reminded that it was not the caste, creed or religion that resulted in the formation of Karnataka state but the language Kannada as a commonality among the people which acted as the binding means among people with a dream to get quality jobs, health, education and better quality of life. These are yet to be realized by the people of Karnataka for which knowledge needs to be owned, controlled and developed by community and not by the monopoly companies. He emphasized the role of Free Software in nurturing and spreading Kannada in the IT space. He said that such a huge task of localisation of software can never be done by any commercial enterprise but by a huge community of spirited volunteers. He said that the Free Software Movement is a testimony to this fact which continuously delivers quality software to the masses.Bengaluru University, Computer Science dept Chairman Dr. Hanumantappa, Dr. Muralidhara and Shri. Somashekhar were present during this occasion and gave message on self reliance, importance of mother tongue,etc. to the students.
This was followed by a quick presentation about the localisation process by Prabodh C P, volunteer FSMK. It included the description of the localisation process, things to take care of during localisation and various avenues for localisation.
Post lunch there was a hands-on localisation workshop in one of the labs, about 40 students were present. They were shown as to how to setup necessary software and also various projects available for localisation. The participants worked on the Gnome project translations. The program ended by around 4:30 pm.