OS X Sinhala language display capability – mid 2011

Sinhala language display capability on OS X has improved. It actually readable since I last whined about it 3 years ago. All that’s require is installing Nick Shank’s Mac version of Malithi Web (there are other fonts for those with the time to Google further).

Its easy on the eyes on my Macbook pro running OSX 10.6.9. Increasing the text size by 1 level makes thing more comfortable. The ispili papili issue Sanjana mentioned in an earlier post seems to be history.

Being grateful for such basics doesn’t remove the eternal issue of Sinhala language support on the web in general – which is that you’ve got to install something to read it – let along input text. At least for the web I wish there is a google webfont or Typekit like solution for content providers. I’m sure the politics of that will trigger yet another tedious futile online brawl. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic but I’ve been on the internet long enough to know the way things flow.

So here’s the state of Sinhala font display circa late mid 2011 screen grabbed off FF5 on OSX 10.6.8 (yes I’m a slob at updating). The site is webalochana.blogspot.com.

OSX Sinhala language display mid late 2011


10 thoughts on “OS X Sinhala language display capability – mid 2011

  1. Totally agree about needing a Sinhala Google WebFont… web fonts are awesome! And the best part is that even IE6 supports them! 😀


  2. I would not make the move to OS X 10.7, if you are using Adobe products. In addition, the attempt to make OS X like iOS is not a total success. I would wait until Apple makes few more changes to Lion or Adobe comes up with an upgrade to their product.

    As for sinhala on the web, some sites are good and some sites are bad on Safari. For example, “lankacnews.com/sinhala/” is good but “divaina.com” is bad.


  3. Sorry about the delay in replying 😦

    Chavie: Good to see you around 😀 I totally agree with you on the web fonts. Only thing is that currently the number of non latin language support/fonts is quite limited – specially for something like Sinhala. But that too will change I hope.

    Donald: I’m just focusing on improvements for simple readability 🙂 for that kind of input support I think you’ll have to buy the commercial 3rd party language support packs.

    Sony: I usually wait awhile when major upgrades come out for anything and then read up on the effects those upgrades have had. Usually if its bad the news gets out and then a patch is issued 😀

    I did check out the 2 sites you mentioned. They worked fine on my mac running OS 10.6.7 using Safari 5.1 I wonder if its a font issue on the browser side of things.


  4. You should test this out on twitter Cerno. We were just talking about you and the “old” days. It’s been awhile 😀 Glad you’re still carrying on


  5. Nice (and flattered) to know that I’m remembered 😀 Thank you 🙂

    Ah yes the “old” days when I took the luxury of time for granted. Now such luxuries seems so far away – sort of like caviar for a slum dweller.

    Sinhala font support on twitter! Never thought of that. Then again, the only tweets I see are the ones that appear on other sites – hardly ever check feeds directly. I think the CDN hosted font/langage support is the best way to take out the client/viewer site hassle of “minority” non latin language support online. The only hurdle is some organisation big and rich will have to foot the bill. I wonder how feasible it is – technically that is.


  6. Ayubowan!

    Noted that the discussion had moved on from the oled post :-). So reposting my comment here.. sorry for the duplication.

    Did an upgrade a couple of weeks ago to Mac OS 10.7 aka Lion and noticed that now Apple has incorporated Sinhala Input and rendering and works smoothly. It has both the Sinhala Phonetic and the Wijesekara keyboards. Also Safari, Chrome render Sinhala pretty well (Firefox always managed well).

    Still some small improvement possible like වෛද්‍යවරු is still rendered as වෛ — ද්‍ — ය — වරු (Does not render the yansaya yet). Nor does it render the rakaranshaya. But it renders උද්‍යෝග and සෞඛය better than Firefox 🙂

    So finally Apple has done it. But we need some nice fonts 😀


  7. Unlike your former comments on the subject, there’s now no mention of Kaonohi Kai over at Xenotype?

    Well, for anyone who work on literary, historical or religious text, Xenotype’s fonts are still the only option for creating complex, combined characters that appear in many Pali and Sanskrit loan-words, and in old/literary Sinhalese generally.

    Of course, in the space of the last 20 years, more and more Sinhalese (including monks) have resorted to typesetting Pali without the proper ligatures and combined characters… and the result is that (generally) books published 1880-1910 in Sri Lanka have much better typesetting than books published in 2012. This is an absurdity that is much easier to correct with digital technology than it was with old metal-cut type… and yet it is not corrected.

    If you look at hand-written manuscripts in the Sinhalese tradition (or metal-plate engravings, etc.) you’ll see that the island had a tradition of so many centuries of beautifully (and efficiently) rendering both the vernacular and the classical languages (Pali and Sanskrit) with elegant ligatures and combining characters. And now that’s all thrown away… why? I look at books produced by Buddhist monks in monasteries that take no care whatsoever to render the language properly, and they often say, “It doesn’t matter, the English/Romanized phonetics are more important anyway”… ! I would like to think that argument refutes itself,

    More generally, over the last 5 years, OSX has actually gotten worse and worse in its support for languages that don’t earn the corporation millions of dollars: back when Unicode and OSX itself were both relatively new, I think they put some effort into having consistent solutions (that would work across all applications, etc.) but they seem to have lost interest around OS 10.4 or so. My experience, alas, is not merely with Sinhalese, but with Burmese, and many other languages that computer corporations take little interest in supporting.


    1. Very interesting and detailed post. Thank you. Sorry for the late and hasty response (low on time – the usual situation). Totally agree with you about the English/Romanized phonetics. I find them to be quite unreadable.


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