7. KDE

Historically, the K Desktop Environment (KDE) was the first full Tamil user interface. Though far from complete, KDE was there for Tamil, and Tamil among the Indic languages, for the first time. Under KDE, with your localization properly set to Tamil, you may be able to do almost everything (from editing files, to browsing the web and e-mail, to administrative tasks such as user management and task scheduling) with a Tamil user interface.

7.1. Getting Localization Files

For the newbie, it is very easy to search the web for Tamil KDE localizations RPMs. They are usually labelled something like kde-i18n-Tamil-2.0-1mdk.i586.rpm. i18n is just that: i(nternationalizatio)n, 18(18letters). Tamil is the localization setting corresponding to the Tamil language. mdk signifies the package for Mandrake distribution. Then comes the most important part; 2.0-1, the KDE version number. Your base KDE version and this should be the same, so when downloading, make sure that you get the proper localized menus for the proper KDE version. i586 signifies the precompiled binaries for the intel 586 platforms. Make sure that you get the proper binary (there are usually source rpms and rpms for other platforms such as alpha). If you are a newbie you are better off using GUI based rpm installer such as GNORPM or KPackage. First do a test install and check if your system has all the needed packages. If not go to the same source from where you downloaded the Tamil localization and get them. After making sure that you installed all dependencies, install the kde-i18n-tamil package as well.

If you are not a newbie, you know it. Get KDE Tamil i18n files, and if you have time, get the sources and compile them!

KDE localization uses TSCII 1.6 encoding. This means that you will need at least one TSCII font. Read the section on fonts as to how to get it.

7.2. Choosing a Tamil locale

This section assumes that have installed at least one TSCII font (preferably several, to jazz up your GUI) and the KDE Tamil localization package.

From Start, go to configuration > KDE > Personalization and choose default (c) location.


Tamil/India is yet to be made available under countries/languages.

Choose language >other >Tamil. Accept this. All changes will be activated, and will work on all windows opened subsequently.

Your user interface is now set in Tamil. If you see some garbage on the window header etc., pat yourself on the back. You are ready to see Tamil; move on!

7.3. Choosing Tamil fonts for GUI

Again, from Start go to configuration >KDE >LooknFeel. You will see a set of fonts for most (these are the ones used in display). Choose a Tamil font instead for all these. Accept.

Well done, you now see Tamil everywhere on your desktop. You are ready, with a fully operational Tamil system.

7.4. KDE Miscellaneous

As with every other project, KDE-Tamil also needs a lot of volunteers. Contact either Sivakumar or Vaseeharan (both of them can be reached through the egroup

Visit before you try KDE Tamil. If you want to convince yourself (and be bowled over), view the screenshots from tamillinux.org site.

KDE's i18n process is unicode-based. As a work around, Trolltech's QTsciiCodec class provides conversion to and from the Tamil TSCII encoding. This codec uses the mapping table found at . Unfortunately Tamil uses composed Unicode. As such, Unicode fonts cannot be used under KDE-TSCII; you need to have TSCII fonts. The TSCII codec was contributed to Qt by Hans Petter Bieker .