OSX has no default Sinhala language support. Installing the Akshar Open Type font from Kamban makes it possible to get barely legible Sinhala character display. The specifics of OSX Sinhala display issues have already been covered in this March 2007 post by Sanjana. Nothing much has changed a year and a month later. If you want to have EASILY readable Sinhala on a Mac, it means getting a 50 US Dollar Sinhala language kit from Xenotypetech. Which is no small amount in Sri Lankan rupees – specially for a “non professional” use.
I thought I had got used to painfully reading SInhala like a pre-schooler due to the mangled way it displays on my mac. Yet the Sinhala blog marathon of this weekend made me realise my makeshift method is no good. These screen shots of Achcharu, Kottu (below), and webalochana shows why..
Here is how a post on kottu.org appears. Compare this with the screen shot.
So its either pay up for Xenotypetech or get a PC. For me Windows means work. OS X means fun. Mainly because I have over the years converted it into a command line driven UNIX box 🙂 Most likely I’ll have to set up a Linux machine or get some sort of virtual machine running Linux. The problem with Linux is that I end up endlessly tinkering with it and never get anything else done. OSX is locked down enough to limit these distractions. I suppose I’ll find some open-source/ legally free software that can do that. Windows remains the last gasp option.
OSX/Apple hardware is such a tiny niche market that its a miracle a company like Xenotypetech has got involved. The price though is steep. Specially with other free options with Linux.
I did spot this hopeful post on Mac Rumors of developing a shaper and Keyboard driver for Sinhala in OSX 10.5. That was in December 2007. That’s about all I’ve heard. Perhaps there are others in the know who can elaborate. Till then I just have to squint on and stop whining…
For anyone contemplating running a Sinhala GNU Linux distribution disk image on an open source virtual machine on you mac there are a few options. I haven’t tried any of these. The chances of me finding the time to poke around is slim.
- Sun’s Virtual box (beta testing 20th April 2008)
- Q – a port of QEMU for OSX
- Bochs – might be interesting for the more geeky types. There’s a Bochs on Mac OS X post that might scare off lesser mortals like me.