Mind your as-pil-la and pa-pil-la

So there’s a Presidential circular out on the use of Sinhala Unicode fonts.

I know, this is old news. But I don’t usually frequent ICTA’s site, and was only alerted to the directive after following links on a news story that appeared online today on IT training given to journalists by ICTA (by the way, why must they put ‘e’ in front of everything – the journalists trained by ICTA are now called e-journalists, whatever that means).

Those of us who use Mac’s are out of luck – the Unicode download packages only work on XP, though the Directive does mention compatibility of the fonts with versions of Linux. Lirneasia’s epic discussion thread on Sinhala Unicode is pretty much the place to go to get up to speed on this vexed issue, though be warned – some of the comments don’t exactly keep to the topic.

I’d just be happy to see a time when these Sinhala fonts just work, and show posts like this one on Groundviews on any computer (including Macs) without the user having to fiddle around with the innards of their OS.


With the Unicode Sinhala fonts I could find installed on my Mac, here’s how the fonts.lk Sinhala test page looked on Firefox (on the left) and Safari (on the right). Firefox renders the fonts better, but in both cases, the Sinhala words aren’t rendered on screen / written in the same way as I would have read them in print.

Readable & generally comprehensible, yes. Accurate, no.

Update #1, 16.5.2007: Drac kindly sent me this message today:

Properly rendered Sinhala for Mac OSX has been provided for years via Xenotype Technologies.


In fact, they had a properly working renderer before Linux and Windows ever did. Unfortunately, like most things on Mac OSX, it is not free.

I had in fact seen this earlier, but to shell out 49 greenbacks for this programme sounds excessive. Don’t know of anyone in SL who uses it, but if it is all that it is made out to be, may end up buying this just to read more elegant Sinhala script on my Mac.

2 thoughts on “Mind your as-pil-la and pa-pil-la

  1. […] 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 […]

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